Protect The Public’s Trust (PPT), a government watchdog group, filed a complaint Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Commerce

Protect The Public’s Trust (PPT), a government watchdog group, filed a complaint Wednesday with the U.S. Department of Commerce

  • April 16, 2024

Mike Netter, X

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 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.

Pielke showed that NOAA periodically added and removed events without providing any documentation or justification for the changes. The agency lacks any transparency of its sources, input data or methodologies used for the annual report, according to Pielke’s study, and this makes it impossible for an independent researcher to verify the agency’s findings.

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