Government watchdog files complaint vs. NOAA over ‘scientific violations’ in climate change report

Government watchdog files complaint vs. NOAA over ‘scientific violations’ in climate change report

  • April 8, 2024

Kevin Killough, Just The News

Protect The Public’s Trust (PPT), a government watchdog group, filed a complaint Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Commerce, requesting an investigation into what PPT says are “apparent scientific violations” in relation to how National Oceanic Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) collects and reports climate-related natural disasters that exceed $1 billion in damages.

Since 1980, NOAA has reported an annual tally of the number of climate-related natural disasters in the U.S. that cause damages exceeding $1 billion after adjusting for inflation. According to NOAA’s calculations, the U.S. averaged 8.5 such events between 1980 and 2023. In the last five years, however, the average reported by the agency is 20.4 events.

In January, Just The News reported on a study by Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado at Boulder, which concerns NOAA’s “Billion Dollar Disaster” figures. Pielke’s study, which is currently going through the peer-review process, asserts that NOAA uses a flawed methodology, lacks transparency in its calculations, and misleadingly presents the data as showing trends in climate.

In its complaint, which cites Pielke’s research, PPT notes the influence of NOAA’s disaster reporting has on federal policy and research on climate change. The U.S. Global Change Research Program cites the figures as a “climate change indicator,” and they were cited in the Fifth U.S. National Climate Assessment as evidence that “extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and severe.” NOAA’s figures have also been cited in nearly 1,000 articles, according to Google Scholar.

“Sensational climate claims made without proper scientific basis and spread by government officials threaten the public’s trust in its scientific officials and undermines the government’s mission of stewarding the environment,” PPT states in its complaint.

Read more