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Group Sues to Enforce Sound Science Law

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Contact for Interviews: Jody Clarke, 202.331.2252

Washington, D.C., August 6, 2003—The Competitive Enterprise Institute today filed suit in federal court against the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for refusing to implement the Federal Data Quality Act in regard to two major global warming reports.  The law, signed by President Clinton, requires that data disseminated by the government meet basic scientific standards for “objectivity” and “utility.”  It has been ignored in the case of administration climate reports, despite earlier petitions by CEI.

Under the Data Quality Act, material which is considered “influential scientific information” – i.e., is likely to influence public policy or private sector decisions – is also subject to the scrutiny of scientific validation.  The National Assessment on Climate Change (2000) and EPA's Climate Action Report 2002 base their analyses of the potential impacts of climate change on two computer models that are incapable of providing reliable predictions.  Efforts to validate these two models actually exposed them as less capable at predicting climate impacts than a table of random numbers.  The law prohibits taxpayer funding to promote such speculation or advocacy.

“The agencies producing the Assessment were informed their models had been proven useless, and in fact they confirmed the test’s results themselves, but still proceeded to publish a knowingly fictional document.  This establishes that the data fails to meet not only the ‘utility’ but also the ‘objectivity’ standard,” said Christopher C. Horner, counsel and senior fellow at CEI.  These junk science reports are already being used to support otherwise groundless lawsuits filed by global warming alarmists and states seeking to hobble those more competitive.

In fact, the Hadley Centre for Climate Prediction and Research, which produced one of the models used in the Assessment, acknowledged at the time it was selected that its model’s data were not useful for the purpose the administration is using it.  Specifically, Hadley stated this on its website, “In areas where coasts and mountains have significant effect on weather [and this will be true for most parts of the world], scenarios based on global models will fail to capture the regional detail needed for vulnerability assessments at a national level.”  Regardless, this model is used to project specific, but scientifically unsupportable, U.S. climate impacts, which are incorporated in both reports.

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CEI is a non-profit, non-partisan public policy group dedicated to the principles of free enterprise and limited government.  For more information about CEI, please visit our website at www.cei.org.