A change in U.S. policy explains the change in attitude on global clim ate change
---------- Forwarded Message ----------
How is it that a change in U.S. policy explains the change in attitude about global climate change?
It's not Al Gore's film about global warming or how Al Gore has become more like Mr. Clean.
It's not what James Hansen said or how James Hansen has been muzzled.
It's not stronger hurricanes or how hurricane researchers have been muzzled on climate change.
It's not that President G.W. Bush has been exposed for having had too much religion.
It's not that polar ice is thawing faster and sea level is going up quicker.
It not that CO2 emissions are greater and measured atmospheric CO2 is going up quicker.
It's not that there are now more frequent trips planned to world glaciers, the Arctic and Antarctic.
It's not that there is new and more information presented in the new IPPC summary report.
It's not that more Americans are becoming greener and more unselfish and caring.
Well then, what is it?
What is the reason for the change in attitude on climate change by Americans?
The answer is not that hard.
It's the change in U.S. policy.
Why has there been a change in U.S. policy on global climate change?
It's not that more money and technology have been spent on climate science.
It's not that climate scientists have become smarter. It's not ... etc. etc.
Well then, what is it? What is the reason for the change in U.S. policy on global climate change?
It's that the right people have finally arrived in Washington, DC.
How do these right people now in Washington, DC explain the change in U.S. policy?
It's not ... etc. etc.
Well then, what is?
What do the right people have which explains the change in U.S. policy on global climate change?
It's that the right people have come with the right information.
What is the right information?
Some of the right information may be shown below.
Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General
14 th and Constitution Avenue, N.W.
Washington, D.C. 482-5197
January 31, 2006
Subject: Re: OSC File No. DI-00-2100
I received a letter (same subject) dated January 16, 2001 from the U.S. Office of Special Counsel (OSC), Washington, D. C. In the letter, OSC Attorney Tracy L. Biggs stated:
... "You alleged a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety and gross mismanagement by officials at the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service (NWS), North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC), Chanhassen, Minnesota".
... "Specifically, you allege that NWS is not handling the issue of global warming in a way that best serves the interest of the public".
"The study of global warming is an important scientific area that has generated conflicting opinions and research. Based on the information provided, NOAA is well aware of this issue and supports research into global warming as well as other areas of climate research. ...
... "Therefore, we can take no further action regarding your allegations."
"Should you wish to pursue this matter further, you may contact the Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General." ...
I learned recently that the mission statement for NASA includes "to understand and protect our home planet". In knowing that, I believe that my concerns about hydrologic climate change in the Upper Midwest and about global warming, which were identified in OSC File No. DI-00-2100, need to be discussed with scientists in NASA in order to gain a full understanding of the state of the science in Dec 2000, Jan 2001; and currently.
For that reason, I request that the matters described at the beginning of this letter be pursued further.
Patrick J. Neuman
From: U.S. Office of Special Counsel
To: Patrick J. Neuman
January 16, 2001
Re: PSC File No. DI-00-2100
Dear Mr. Neuman
The Office of Special Counsel (OSC) has completed its review of the information you referred to the Disclosure Unit. You alleged a substantial and specific danger to public health and safety and gross mismanagement by officials at the Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), National Weather Service
(NWS), North Central River Forecast Center (NCRFC), Chanhassen, Minnesota.
OSC is authorized by law to refer protected disclosures to the involved agency for an investigation and report. Disclosures OSC may refer for investigation must include information that establishes a substantial likelihood of law, rule, or regulation, or gross mismanagement, a gross waste of funds, an abuse of authority, or a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety.
Specifically, you allege that the NWS is not handling the issue of global warming in a way that best serves the interest of the public. You believe that NWS does not communicate the urgency of the problem and the potential dangers of global warming to the public. In particular, you contend that given NOAA's February press release on
the possible acceleration of global warming, it is important and appropriate for you to incorporate its effects into your work at NWS.
For the past twenty years, you have been responsible for the preparation of the Upper Midwest Spring Snowmelt Flood Outlooks. You informed this office that you believe the study of global warming and its implication for climate model development, calibration of river basins, spring flood outlooks, and NWS products provided to the public,
is essential to your position as Senior Hydrologist. Thus, you included information about global warming and its attendant effects in your outlook for this year's spring flooding and have requested that the issue be addressed more broadly by the agency.
Your supervisors disagree with you about the extent to which global warming should be a part of your forecasting and other job responsibilities. As a result, the language regarding global warming was deleted from your spring flood outlook. You believe that the failure of the agency to integrate fully global warming information into its mission constitutes a danger to public health and safety.
At the outset, we must emphasize that the Special Counsel lacks the authority to review the mission of an agency and determine whether the mission should be changed. OSC cannot enter into a policy debate regarding the scientific research on global warming and what NWS' response should be to that issue. Our focus, instead, is limited to whether your disclosures regarding the NWS' actions fall within our statutory criteria.
The study of global warming is an important scientific area that has generated conflicting opinions and research. Based on the information provided, NOAA is well aware of this issue and supports research into global warming as well as other areas of climate research. How and when a federal agency, such as NWS, incorporates new scientific information into its mission is a matter of agency policy and discretion. In contrast, OSC's focus is on working conditions and or incidents at federal facilities that result in an imminent threat to the federal workforce or the public. Because of OSC's narrow statutory focus, we do not believe that the issues of global warming, unresolved as they
are, fall within our criteria for a substantial and specific danger to public health or safety. For this reason, we cannot take any further action on this matter.
We also reviewed your allegations as possible gross mismanagement. The Merit Systems Protection Board (the Board) has set a high threshold for the kinds of allegations of mismanagement that constitute "gross
mismanagement." It has held that "gross mismanagement" is a "management action or inaction which creates a substantial risk of Significant adverse impact upon the agency's ability to accomplish it mission." Nafus v. Army, 57 M.S.P.R. 386, 395 (1993).
The allegations in this case appear to involve managerial decisions that you believe are unreasonable and not in the public interest. In order for the OSC to refer such allegations to the agency head for investigation, we soul have to find that the information that you reasonably believe evidences gross mismanagement also meets the definition established by the Board. OSC must base its determination on several factors, including but not limited to, whether or not the information disclosed has a serious, negative impact on the mission of the agency.
In this case, we cannot make such a finding, because the allegations do not meet the high threshold set by the Board for gross mismanagement. Rather, this situation appears to be a disagreement between you and the agency over whether or not to incorporate global warming into NWS' mission and what portion of your professional duties
should involve global warming activities. Further, we cannot say that NWS' decision to base its forecasting on historical data is gross mismanagement. Rather, the basis for NWS' methodology, the manner in which the agency changes its methodology and models of forecasting, and when that change occurs are all matters of agency discretion.
Based upon the information before us, we have concluded there is insufficient evidence that management's actions created an adverse impact upon the agency's ability to accomplish its mission. Your disagreements with management over what NWS' role is with respect to global warming constitute a debate over policy and scientific research, rather than gross mismanagement as defined by the Board. Therefore, we can take no further action regarding your allegations.
Should you wish to pursue this matter further, you may contact the Department of Commerce, Office of Inspector General, 14th and Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20230; telephone number (202) 482-2495; hotline (800) 482 5197.
You have also alleged that you have been subjected to prohibited personnel practices at NWS including suspension and the denial of sick leave. Those allegations are being reviewed by OSC's Complaints Examining Unit and you will be contacted about them separately. For your future reference, the reference number is OSC File No. MA-00-2138.
Accordingly, we are closing our file on this matter. As required by law, we are returning a copy of your correspondence to you. 5 U.S.C. $ 1212(g)(3). Should you wish to discuss this matter, please contact me
at (202) 653-6005.
Tracy L. Biggs