During the review of the Environmental Protection Agency budget in today’s Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing, both Senator Barbara Boxer — the chair of the committee — and EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson distanced themselves from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report (AR4).
Boxer and Jackson’s statements, in addition to being a striking change in policy, are problematic because U.S. climate science is very closely tied to the IPCC reports (as Christopher Horner showed in his recent PJM series on the NASA FOIA emails.)
The statements by Boxer and Jackson followed Senator Inhofe’s release (see the PJM exclusive report) in his opening statement of a minority staff report documenting many flaws in the IPCC report and the other evidence revealed in the Climategate files. (See the full hearing on CSPAN here; the exchanges with Senator Boxer and Inhofe, and Administrator Jackson begin at about 56 minutes into the video.)
Both Boxer and Jackson appeared to be trying to distance the EPA from the IPCC report. Boxer said:
In my opening statement, I didn’t quote one international scientist or IPCC report. … We are quoting the American scientific community here.
When Inhofe directly asked Jackson if she still considered the IPCC report the “gold standard,” she answered:
The primary focus of the endangerment finding was on climate threat risks in this country.
Jackson also noted:
[The errors Inhofe had presented were] international events. The information on the glaciers and other events doesn’t weaken … the evidence we considered [to make the Endangerment Finding on CO2.]
The EPA has specifically cited the IPCC AR4 report as the primary source from which it drew information to make the Endangerment Finding on CO2 as a pollutant. In the past, the worldwide nature of the climate changes, and of the data, had been cited as one of the reasons for using the IPCC report, but now it appeared that Jackson was trying to separate the Endangerment Finding from the IPCC.
However, when Inhofe asked Jackson if she was considering asking the EPA inspector general to investigate the IPCC science, she answered:
If anything changes … certainly I would call for a review of the finding, but I haven’t seen that.