EPA administrator Gina McCarthy has had a busy travel schedule these past few days, drumming up support for the Obama administration’s energy and climate policies. On Friday, she was in Rome talking with Vatican officials. There she told reporters that climate policies were about helping “folks that are in poverty.”
Two days earlier, McCarthy was in Aspen, Colo., with a different message. Here it was about helping snowboarders. “Shorter, warmer winters mean a shorter season to enjoy the winter sports we love,” she said in an essay entitled “We Must Act Now to Protect Our Winters.” “If we fail to act, Aspen’s climate could be a lot like that of Amarillo, Texas, by 2100. Amarillo is a great town, but it’s a lousy place to ski.” True, Amarillo is as flat as a pancake, and the nearest ski resort is 210 miles away. Then there’s the effect of elevation on climate. Aspen is a lot higher than Amarillo.
Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, told me that Gina McCarthy’s “prediction” appeared to be made on the back of an envelope. It neglected to factor in the 6,791-feet difference in elevation. “Climate models have not demonstrated any skill on regional scales, owing to the dominance of natural variability on regional climate variability,” Curry added.