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Global Warming: Your (Big) Government at Work


Even for those not paying very close attention to the news in recent months, this headline from today’s “Climate Wire” may strike you as a tad incongruent:

MILITARY: Coastlines plumbed for ancient data in Pentagon climate study

Possibly the Pentagon’s advice on this matter will find favor in the White House.


The hook for the $5.5 million boondoggle is “how rising seas and strengthening storms could affect coastal bases, perhaps causing facilities to be abandoned or moved over the next century.” Of course, the idea of shrieking press releases (and headlines soon thereafter) of a “Pentagon study predicts inundation” never entered anyone’s mind and are nothing we should look forward to, if history is any guide.

Yet, outside of certain hysterical quarters, sea level rise is not that great a mystery: it rises between coolings, particularly glaciations (ice ages) which we fortunately find ourselves in between. It does so at a fairly constant rate of about 8 inches per century. That remained true following the end of the Little Ice Age in the mid 19th century until today, with no statistical change in the pace since then (unless you count the most recent years; read on). Then it falls. When things cool, as has been the case in recent years, sea level rise plateaus and even reverses depending on how great the cooling. Indeed, the satellites we already pay so much for – and which, like those measuring the (cooling) atmospheric temperatures, are being ignored – tell us that sea level rise peaked in 2005 (wow, this guy works fast!).

The point is, just as in the ongoing battle over redirecting the CIA to study “global warming”, it isn’t just that all sorts of government agencies are getting into areas that seem a tad silly, but that our government seems to have almost entirely lost focus in the process of rapidly expanding its size and scope.

Also along those lines, you read last week about the Obama administration siccing a taxpayer-funded agency to assail the work (and the person) of foreign academics who studied the performance of a foreign government’s policies, for the apparent reason that in doing so these academics embarrassed the Obama administration which touted the policies as a success and therefore their model for America. Falsely, it turned out.

Well, yesterday I sent Freedom of Information Act requests to the Department of Energy headquarters seeking documents from the relevant headquarters office, which by chance is headed by Catherine Zoi, who was until recently a senior staffer for one of Al Gore’s “global warming” outfits. I also FOIA’d the agency that DoE HQ apparently sicced on the Spaniards (at whose orders we are going to find out), which is the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, both in DC and its field office in Golden, Colorado. One reason for FOIA-ing them all is that NREL and DoE are both on record swearing it was all the other guy’s idea. Hmm.

You will be kept apprised of the results, but I note one hitch uncovered in preparing these documents. It does seem that this most transparent government in history is cleverly trying to shield certain sensitive and priority developments from our transparency laws, such as FOIA. On DoE’s website we see such an attempt.

Types of Information

Q What types of information does the FOIA apply to?

The FOIA only applies to “agency records,” information in the possession and control of the government. Information contained in the files of Golden’s contractors, including the contractor that manages and operates DOE’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), is releasable under the FOIA only if the contract states that specific documents relating to work under the contract will be the property of the government. In such cases, the documents are contractually treated as government documents and are subject to a FOIA. The NREL contract does specify that some records are the property of the contractor and some are the property of the government. (emphases added)

In this case, NREL was outsourced at an estimated cost of $1.1 billion to something called the Alliance for Sustainable Energy, a group that is surely objective to the core about the costs and benefits of “renewable energy”. This transfer took place beginning in July of this year which, if my math is right, could be about the time the decision was made to go after the offending foreign academics. More later.

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