The recently released National Climate Assessment (NCA4) is a perfect example of what I have called the one-word hoax (Will versus Might). This hoax is to say that extreme events that “might” happen (but are extremely unlikely) “will” happen. NCA4 systematically pushes this simple hoax.

Many analysts have pointed out that the NCA4 report is highly dependent on the use of speculative climate models. In many cases these “hot” models are completely unrealistic. In addition, the projection of adverse impacts on America is also based on questionable computer models.

In the process of commenting on the draft NCA4 report I did a systematic analysis of their reliance on speculative computer modeling, both for climate change and for adverse impacts. The report itself is wordy and voluminous, but every chapter has from 3 to 5 so-called Key Messages. These are one to two sentence summaries of the discussion.

Most of the 29 chapters are either on a specific region of America, or on a specific sector of the economy. There are just 118 Key Messages, so I analyzed each one to see if it was dependent upon speculation rather than facts.

I found that 99 (or 84%) of the Key Messages were based on highly speculative modeling of worst case future scenarios. This was not surprising, because the NCA4 authors were specially instructed to focus on worst case scenarios. The hoax is to present this speculation as established facts, which is just how the NCA4 Messages are being reported by the mainstream media. The media is thus hoaxed.

In addition to identifying these speculations, I submitted a formal comment on each one, pointing out its speculative nature. All 99 comments were ignored, as none of the Key Messages was modified to reduce speculation in the final report.

However, each comment posted by anyone is responded to in a massive 251 page table here. The responses to my comments make clear that they were simply ignored. Here is an example. My comment is below (with the required line numbers removed for ease of reading). Note that I always cite the exact text that I am commenting on.

The present text is this: Disruptions to infrastructure and negative impacts on historic sites, health and well-being, and urban economies are already occurring and will become more common with a changing climate.

Comment: This text falsely states speculative projections of impacts as established physical facts. These projections appear to be based primarily on the use of questionable computer models. That climate change will have negative impacts has yet to be determined and appears increasingly unlikely.”

Here is the inane (and wildly false) response from the NCA4 team:

This comment is inconsistent with the current state of the science on this topic.”

Sometimes the response was longer, but it was always dismissive. The longer responses typically just cite Volume I of this same NCA4, which is the so-called science report. In other words they are simply citing themselves, to claim that what they say is true.

These longer responses usually occur when I suggest that the text is so bad that it probably violates the federal Data Quality Act. Here is a typical comment of mine in that regard:

This text probably violates the Information Quality Act requirement that federal agencies ensure and maximize the “quality, objectivity, utility, and integrity of information disseminated by the agency.” This text exhibits neither quality, objectivity, utility nor integrity. To begin with there is neither objectivity nor integrity, as these errors have been pointed out repeatedly during the previous series of National Assessments (references should not be necessary), yet they persist. As a result there is no quality or utility.”

These dismissive responses do not surprise me, because the NCA4 report is shot through with alarmist doctrine. The fact that 84% of their Key Messages are based on alarmist speculation is telling in this regard. What skeptics from President Trump on down are saying is true.

The National Climate Assessment is demonstrably a work of fiction, not fact. It is a perfect example of the one-word hoax — saying that what MIGHT happen, but is extremely unlikely, WILL happen. One little word is all it takes to turn pure speculation into a falsely stated pseudoscientific claim of truth. This glaring fallacy summarizes the National Climate Assessment.


  • David Wojick

    David Wojick, Ph.D. is an independent analyst working at the intersection of science, technology and policy. For origins see For over 100 prior articles for CFACT see Available for confidential research and consulting.