A Critique of the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s 2017 Climate Science Special Report

Published February 28, 2018

This 52-page report by Dr. Jay Lehr and 18 distinguished climate scientists and meteorologists provides a devastating critique of the November 2017 “Climate Science Special Report” (CSSR) produced by the  U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP). That report, according to the USGCRP, is “a key part of the Fourth National Climate Assessment.”

According to the authors, CSSR suffers from many of the same shortcomings and biases apparent in the previous work produced by the USGCRP. For instance, the report relies heavily on information from the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has a long history of producing failed predictions and deeply flawed reports. Further, CSSR perpetuates the misperception widespread in public policy circles and popular culture that “the science is settled” on the issue of the role played by human activities in producing climate change. CSSR’s authors suggest governments across the world, including the United Nations, should devise policies they say will slow or stop global warming.

Part One of this paper explains foundational problems with CSSR, including how its authors hide scientific uncertainty about the causes and consequences of global warming, the pervasive politicization of climate change throughout the report, CSSR’s over-reliance on computer models, and its authors’ failure to comply with the principles of the scientific method. These are substantial deficiencies, not minor flaws, that no number of pages, coauthors, or footnotes can fully offset.

Part Two provides basic facts about the role of carbon dioxide (CO2) in climate change, many of which are missing from the CSSR report.

Part Three reviews nine assertions made by CSSR authors who believe climate change is now and will continue to have serious life- and health-threatening consequences, and it reveals why many of these claims should be rejected as fallacious.

Part Four offers a summation of the CSSR Task Force’s analysis of the CSSR report. Qualifications and affiliations of the authors appear at the end of the report.