Data Quality Act Request to OSTP about Holdren’s Polar Vortex Comments

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The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) submits this request for correction of information under the Data Quality Act (also known as the Information Quality Act), as implemented though the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the White House Office of Science & Technology Policy (OSTP).  OSTP guidelines require the agency to correct any published information that does not meet “basic standards of quality, including objectivity, utility, and integrity.”

The primary information we seek to have corrected is a statement by OSTP Director John P. Holdren, in a video posted on the White House web site on January 8, 2014, entitled The Polar Vortex Explained in 2 Minutes.  (That video is also one of two related videos posted on OSTP’s blog on January 8, which remains on OSTP’s blog.)  In that video, the Director claims that “A growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”  

We also seek to correct a January 8th OSTP blog post by OSTP Senior Communications Advisor and Web Editor Becky Fried that features the above Polar Vortex Explained video.  We request a correction of its claim that “we also know that this week’s cold spell is of a type there’s reason to believe may become more frequent in a world that’s getting warmer, on average, because of greenhouse-gas pollution.”

In reality, as we explain below, the evidence (including the conclusions of peer-reviewed scholarly articles) indicates that the kind of extreme cold experienced in the United States this past winter is not linked to global warming.