Headlines this week proclaimed the worst-case scenarios for climate change were "debunked" and "not credible". As you might expect, things aren't that simple. The stories were sparked by a study by Peter Cox at the University of Exeter, UK, and his colleagues, who attempted to work out how much warming will result from a given increase in carbon dioxide levels. Specifically, if we doubled CO2 levels in the atmosphere and waited for the temperature to stabilise, how much would the world warm? This is known as the equilibrium climate sensitivity, and climate scientists have been trying to work it out for decades.
Of course the heat is not a fluke. This has been coming for some time and it is time for all of us to get real about climate change. It is obvious that the positive steps that were made on a federal level are going to get tied up in ideological manipulation and childish bickering that hampers our progress.
Human-induced climate change has led to an increase in the frequency and intensity of daily temperature extremes and has contributed to a widespread intensification of daily precipitation extremes (1, 2). But has it also made specific extreme weather and climate events--such as floods, droughts, and heat waves--more likely? Although it has been said that individual climate events cannot be attributed to anthropogenic climate change (3), a recent assessment by the National Academies of Science concludes that "this is no longer true as an unqualified blanket statement" (4). Robust event attribution can support decisions such as how to rebuild after a disaster and how to price insurance by quantifying the current risk of such events.
A new congressional investigation has determined that the Obama administration fired a top scientist and intimidated staff at the Department of Energy in order to further its climate change agenda, according to a new report that alleges the administration ordered top officials to obstruct Congress in order to forward this agenda. Rep. Lamar Smith (R., Texas), chair of the House Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, released a wide-ranging report on Tuesday that shows how senior Obama administration officials retaliated against a leading scientist and plotted ways to block a congressional inquiry surrounding key research into the impact of radiation. A top DoE scientist who liaised with Congress on the matter was fired by the Obama administration for being too forthright with lawmakers, according to the report, which provides an in-depth look at the White House's efforts to ensure senior staffers toe the administration's line. The report also provides evidence that the Obama administration worked to kill legislation in order to ensure that it could receive full funding for its own hotly contested climate change agenda. The report additionally discovered efforts by the Obama administration to censor the information given to Congress, interfering with the body's ability to perform critical oversight work.