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Making ASSes of U and ME: SAIC/NAM/ACCF GIGO strikes again …

August 12th, 2009 · 2 Comments

Last year,  National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and that American Council for Capital Formation (ACCF) made noise with a report written by SAIC showing that the Lieberman-Warner Coal Subsidy Act (misrepresented as the Climate Security Act)  would have devastating impact. Now, NAM and ACCF have long fought against any moves to clean energy and any addressing of climate change issues, thus something from NAM/ACCF arguing that action would have devastating impacts would be something expected.   That the report came from SAIC seemed to add more weight to the matter, with NAM/ACCF press releases and discussions highlighting SAIC’s role as if it were some form of independent analysis.  This blew up in their face due to SAIC’s team being professional enough to include the following footnote.

“The input assumptions, opinion and recommendations are those of ACCF and NAM, and do not necessarily represent the views of SAIC.”

Wow. Assumptions matter and driving assumptions drive the results.  As discussed a year ago in ASS-U-ME , this is a pretty strong renunciation of the work coming from SAIC.  With this note, the SAIC team essentially said that they took absolutely no responsibility for the conclusions and recommendations coming from the report. Thus, the fig leaf that this was some sort of independent analysis fell to the wayside, unmasking that NAM/ACCF sought to make ASSes out of U and ME.

Today, NAM/ACCF rolled out this year’s analysis … also done by SAIC (media briefing).   All three of their scenarios say that acting on climate change, via the American Clean Energy and Security (ACES) Act, would be disastrous to the economy.  This year, lets start the reading with the footnotes.

Footnote 3 tells us that SAIC is a wonderful organization:

SAIC is a FORTUNE 500® scientific, engineering and technology applications company that uses its deep domain knowledge to solve problems of vital importance to the nation and the world, in national security, energy and the environment, critical infrastructure, and health.

Footnote 5 is quite interesting.

SAIC is a policy-neutral organization. SAIC executed the NEMS/ACCF-NAM 2 model in this project using SAIC’s and ACCF/NAM’s interpretation of the bill, and input assumptions provided by ACCF/NAM. The modeling was performed independent of EIA. Analysis provided in this report is based on the output from the NEMS/ACCF-NAM 2 model as a result of the ACCF/NAM input assumptions. The input assumptions, opinions and recommendations in this report are those of ACCF and NAM, and do not necessarily represent the views of SAIC.

Yet again, the SAIC team has stepped away from taking responsibility from this work: “Don’t blame us, we just ran the model, we take no responsibility for what went in and what comes out.”

In modeling, one of the standard abbreviations: GIGO: Garbage In, Garbage Out.

Yet again, NAM/ACCF is seeking to sell a bill of goods to those who don’t read the footnotes. They are seeking to, via the driven assumptions, make ASSes out of U and ME yet again with a widespread campaign to distort the conversation using GIGO analysis.

Actual analyses of the NAM/ACCF 2008 “SAIC” study showed it to be shoddy, deceptive, truthiness-laden work.  (See also Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Statistics from industry on pollution control costs.) On first glance, this year’s work is similarly shoddy and deceptive. For example, there is no valuing of improved health due to reduced fossil fuel pollution. There is zero valuing of how improved health of workers means lower absenteeism and therefore higher productivity. There is zero valuing of reducing the risks and impacts of catastrophic climate change. There is zero …

A GIGO ASS-U-ME study that will become part of a sound machine to argue against sensible action toward a clean energy future.

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Tags: analysis · carbon dioxide · catastrophic climate change · climate change · climate delayers · climate legislation · Energy

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Tom Lavin // Aug 14, 2009 at 9:41 am

    SAIC is merely protecting themselves against retaliation by the U.S. Government officials who, upon reading that SAIC may actually agree with the input assumptions and output results, would influence their reception of any other Government contracts. This is the way Chicago politics are played.

    Try reading SAIC work. This is an incredibly unusual statement to find in a research report. SAIC staff simply ran the model, based, on this statement, and this is GIGO.

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