Wednesday, May 19, 2010

News Update

So this might seem like a small thing, but it is a really big deal. The US Federal Department of Transportation signed a new policy statement on pedestrians and cyclists on March 11. It seems that more and more in the US, government are waking up to the idea of roadways that accommodate all users equally and safely.
The DOT policy is to incorporate safe and convenient walking and bicycling facilities into transportation projects. Every transportation agency, including DOT, has the responsibility to improve conditions and opportunities for walking and bicycling and to integrate walking and bicycling into their transportation systems. Because of the numerous individual and community benefits that walking and bicycling provide — including health, safety, environmental, transportation, and quality of life — transportation agencies are encouraged to go beyond minimum standards to provide safe and convenient facilities for these modes.
In other news, earlier this year I blogged about a hacking incident that some media and climate change deniers called "Climategate": email messages from two climate researchers were hacked conveniently before the Copenhagen Summit. Because of these emails, the deniers claimed that climate change isn't happening and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was a sham.

On April 14th, the University of East Anglia (home of the hacking) released a report from their independent Scientific Appraisal Panel that stated they "saw no evidence of any deliberate scientific malpractice in any of the work of the Climatic Research Unit and had it been there we believe that it is likely that we would have detected it."

On March 31, the UK House of Commons Science and Technology Committee issued a report that found:
We are content that the phrases such as “trick” or “hiding the decline” were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead. Likewise the evidence that we have seen does not suggest that Professor Jones was trying to subvert the peer review process. Academics should not be criticised for making informal comments on academic papers.

Even if the data that CRU used were not publicly available—which they mostly are—or the methods not published—which they have been—its published results would still be credible: the results from CRU agree with those drawn from other international data sets; in other words, the analyses have been repeated and the conclusions have been verified.
So with the next United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in Mexico this December, let's hope our governments can act before it is too late.

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