But the White House said the video, in which White House science czar John Holdren connected global warming to the harsh winter, was based on Holdren’s “personal opinion” and exempt from data quality laws. When CEI tried to obtain federal documents related to the video, officials said they were part of the “deliberative process” and exempt from records requests.
“If this video really represented Dr. Holdren’s personal opinion, then it’s bad enough that OSTP spent taxpayer dollars to produce and post it on the White House web site,” said CEI general counsel Sam Kazman. “But for the agency to refuse to disclose documents related to the video in order to protect what it claims are internal deliberations is doubly ridiculous.”
The White House released its polar vortex video last January. In the video, Holdren claimed a “growing body of evidence suggests that the kind of extreme cold being experienced by much of the United States as we speak is a pattern that we can expect to see with increasing frequency as global warming continues.”
The idea is that melting Arctic ice sheets weakens the swirling mass of cold air in the polar region, called the polar vortex. As the vortex weakens, its pattern becomes more erratic and pushes cold air farther south. But the video was quickly debunked by climate scientists and peer-reviewed studies showing the polar vortex is not a product of global warming (or climate change, or whatever).
A recent study from Japanese scientists, however, claims that melting Arctic ice will bring colder winter with it. The study found that severe winters happening in Europe and Asia have doubled due to melting ice sheets.
Despite the conflicting evidence on the Arctic’s role in cold winters, the White House has not backed off from its claims that global warming is driving frigid weather. Even though Holdren purportedly espoused his opinion in the video, that has not been disclosed nor has the video been changed.
“Perhaps OSTP should give us a new video titled ‘The Holdren Document Vortex Explained in 2 Hours,’” Kazman quipped.