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Implied Warranty and Climate Research

Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Dec 4, 2018 at 5:49 AM
Climate Change


The Uniform Commercial Code (UCC) recognizes the existence of an implied warranty of fitness for particular purpose in commercial sales contracts, which it defines as follows:


            § 2-315. Implied Warranty: Fitness for Particular Purpose.

Where the seller at the time of contracting has reason to know any particular purpose for which the goods are required and that the buyer is relying on the seller's skill or judgment to select or furnish suitable goods, there is unless excluded or modified under the next section an implied warranty that the goods shall be fit for such purpose.


The UCC does not apply to Federal government contracting, since the ultimate buyer is the citizens of the government, represented by the citizens’ elected representatives. Those elected representatives authorize and appropriate funding for all the functions of government. Those funds are then committed by the direct buyer (executive branch departments and agencies) to fund contracts with other government agencies and with outside organizations and individuals.

The conceptual framework of “fitness for particular purpose” can be used to analyze government contracting, either with outside entities or with other government agencies. The seller (outside contractor or government researcher) has reason to know the particular purpose for which the good (research) is being contracted, most frequently from the Request for Proposals (RFP) prepared by the buyer. The buyer (government department or agency) relies on the seller to furnish suitable goods (research results), frequently under the oversight of a buyer’s contracting officer.

Applying this concept to climate change research conducted with government funding, it is critical that both parties understand the particular purpose for which the research is required. Ideally, this particular purpose should be to advance the understanding of the science behind climate change, the various factors which contribute to climate change, the impact of each of those factors on climate change and the extent to which each of those factors could be and should be controlled, since this is the “particular purpose” for which the funds were authorized and appropriated. Advancing this particular purpose optimally requires a broad focus on all of the relevant factors and careful data collection and analysis.

Regrettably, this does not appear to be the particular purpose of current government funded climate change research. The sole focus on CO2 by both the US government agencies and the IPCC and the exclusion of research on other factors including natural variability, solar impacts, etc. suggests that the particular purpose is not the ideal purpose described above. The government is not authorized to purchase valueless services under its appropriation and budgetary rules, which calls into question the ongoing funding of “scary scenario” studies based on unverified models reinforces this assessment. The continued collection of flawed data which is then “adjusted” also reinforces the assessment.

What then is the particular purpose for which the buyers are contracting with sellers?

“The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”

H. L. Mencken

Could it be that the particular purpose of much of current government funded climate change research is to alarm the populace and cause it to seek to have the government lead it to the “safety” of a carbon and meat free global economy with socialist global governance? The willingness of government and the IPCC to rely on flawed data and unverified models while focusing on creating “scary scenarios” using the flawed RCP 8.5 and encouraging the media to communicate the “scary scenarios” loudly and broadly would suggest that this might well be the case.

The substantial funds already expended on studies which contribute nothing to the advancement of the science could form the legal basis for a class action lawsuit on behalf of US taxpayers for budgetary waste. Such a lawsuit, by an organization such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, could result in discovery of some very interesting and potentially damning information regarding the motivations of the involved federal departments and agencies.

Fortunately, the growing gap between the “adjusted” observations and the CMIP5 models has become so obvious that elements of the consensed climate science community have acknowledged the shortcomings of the data and models and made suggestions for resolving the issues. However, it remains to be seen whether this acknowledgement leads back to a broad focus on the underlying science, a more open approach to considering research which questions the consensus narrative and a more rigorous data collection and analysis effort. Ultimately, that determination will be based on the particular purpose of the buyer (government department or agency).