Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Supremes Global Warming Science

Roger Pielke writes about Mass. v. EPA:

First there is a science error in the majority opinion, though it seems clear that it would not change their judgment of injury. It states:

. . . global sea levels rose somewhere between 10 and 20 centimeters over the 20th century as a result of global warming.
According to the IPCC’s Third Assessment Report this value is more like 3 to 5.5 centimeters (from figure 11.10b here) with the rest of the 10 to 20 centimeters total due to natural causes. The Supreme Court has attributed all sea level rise to global warming which is incorrect. I had argued in earlier discussions that missing from this case, in arguments by both sides, was some evidence that the 3 to 5.5 centimeters of increase over the 20th century due to human-caused climate change can be related to some injury.
This seems like an interesting observation. The public policy debate about the global warming issue doesn't seem to clearly make this distinction either, so perhaps the Supreme Court should not be faulted. But, it may be interesting to note that most of sea level rise that has resulted from the warming climate is not being attributed human causes.

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