Pete Winn and Christopher Neefus
Friday, Dec 11th, 2009
Which is it–6 feet or 3.5 feet?
Last week, White House science czar John Holdren told members of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming that changes in global temperatures could mean a rise in sea levels of 6 feet or more in a century.
But Joan Lubchenco, administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, told the same committee on the same day that changes in global temperatures could mean a rise in sea levels of up to 3.5 feet in this century.
Holdren and Lubchenco were the only two witnesses called to testify at the Global Warming committee’s Dec. 2 hearing, which was titled “The State of Climate Science.”
In his written testimony Holdren, whose official title is “Assistant to the President for Science and Technology and Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy,” wrote that changes in temperature from global warming could bring about what he called “tipping points” in the climate system–which he defined as “thresholds beyond which a small additional increase in average temperature or some associated climate variable results in major changes to the affected system.”
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