Watchdog questions key information utilized by Biden administration to advance sweeping local weather agenda – do you agree?



A government watchdog group has filed a complaint with the Biden administration over its use of a data set commonly used to advance its climate agenda.

Protect the Public's Trust (PPT) filed a complaint with the Department of Commerce over the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) Billions Project dataset, which purports to keep track of nature [and climate] Disasters that have caused at least $1 billion in damages since 1980. The Billion Dollar Disaster Disaster (BDD) data widely cited by the Biden administration to suggest that climate change is worsening and warrants comprehensive green policies is based on opaque data, PPT alleges in the complaint questionable accounting practices.

“American families and businesses continue to struggle with persistently high inflation, which many attribute in large part to the current administration's energy policies and government spending. “The idea that blatant violations of scientific integrity could underlie the rationale for this policy should concern every American,” Michael Chamberlain, PPT director, told the Daily Caller News Foundation. “Unfortunately, this is anything but an isolated case. The Biden administration promised when it took office that its decisions would be based on the highest quality science, but too often has failed to deliver on those promises.” (RELATED: The entire push to stop new natural gas exports stems from an Ivy League professor and his shaky study)

The complaint was filed with the Commerce Department because NOAA operates under its auspices, Chamberlain told the DCNF.

PPT's complaint alleges that NOAA does not adequately disclose its sources and methods for compiling the BDD data set, adds and removes BDD events from the data set without stating its reasons for doing so, and produces cost estimates that are sometimes different differ significantly from those produced using more conventional accounting procedures.

While NOAA says it develops its BDD data from more than a dozen sources, the agency does not disclose those sources for specific events or show how it calculates loss estimates from those sources, PPT's complaint says.

The complaint also alleges that NOAA's accounting practices are opaque and “produce suspicious results.”

For example, when Hurricane Idalia targeted Florida in 2023, NOAA initially predicted that the storm would cause about $2.5 billion in damages, before insured losses ultimately totaled about $310 million, says PPT's complaint, which cites the Florida Office of Insurance's regulation for that figure. Still, NOAA later increased its estimate of damage caused by the storm to $3.5 billion, a discrepancy for which NOAA provided no explanation, PPT alleges in its complaint.

NOAA researchers have disclosed in the past that the agency also considers factors such as functions related to the cost of feeding livestock in its cost calculations, in addition to more conventional types of damage.

Additionally, the complaint alleges that BDD events are quietly added and removed from the data set without explanation, and cites Roger Pielke Jr., a former academic who believes climate change is a real threat but opposes politicized science. In a forthcoming article analyzing the merits of BDD statistics, Pielke compared the late 2022 data set with the mid-2023 data set and found that ten new BDD events were added to the list and three were subtracted without explanation.

Aside from the methodology issues alleged by PPT in its complaint, the use of BDD events as an indicator of climate change intensity is inherently misleading because economic data does not reflect changes in meteorological conditions, Pielke previously told the DCNF.

For example, increasing concentrations of assets, particularly in coastal areas, may reduce the usefulness of BDD events as an indicator of climate change intensity, as Steve Milloy, senior policy fellow at the Energy and Environment Legal Institute, previously explained to the DCNF. Hypothetically, the same hurricane could hit the exact same place decades apart, causing very different amounts of damage. This would be the case because there are simply more assets in the path of the storm, not because the storm was even more severe due to worsening climate change.

NOAA has acknowledged this data set limitation in previous communications with the DCNF.

Additionally, NOAA will retroactively add disasters to the list as it adjusts for inflation. That means a hurricane that caused $800 million in damage in 1980 would be added to the list because the damage, adjusted for inflation, exceeds, say, $1 billion.

The Biden administration has frequently cited the BDD data set to support its expansive climate agenda.

For example, Deputy Energy Secretary David Turk cited the data set in written testimony he provided to lawmakers in February explaining the White House's decision to suspend new permits for liquefied natural gas export terminals.

The BDD statistics are also referred to as the Fifth National Climate Assessment (NCA5), the Biden administration's landmark climate report designed to provide lawmakers and officials with the strongest scientific basis for making climate policy.

NOAA claimed in a January press release and blog post summarizing 2023 that the increasing frequency of BDD events was a sign of worsening climate change, then defended its use of the dataset in subsequent communications with the DCNF.

“Sensational climate claims made without proper scientific basis and disseminated by government officials jeopardize the public’s trust in their scientific officials and undermine the government’s mission to protect the environment,” PPT’s complaint states. “There is also a risk that policymakers will base their government policies on unscientific claims that are not supported by evidence.”

NOAA declined to comment, citing the active nature of the scientific integrity complaint. The White House and Commerce Department did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

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