Walter Russell Mead pronounces the demise of the global warming movement.
The global warming meltdown confirms all the populist suspicions out there about an arrogantly clueless establishment invoking faked ’science’ to impose cockamamie social mandates on the long-suffering American people, backed by a mainstream media that is totally in the tank. Don’t think this won’t have consequences.
The current iteration of the movement may be in its death throes, but the corpse will keep trying to crawl out of its casket over the next few years.
Environmental scientist Kenneth Green counters the claim that the Climategate scandal is much ado about nothing.
Climategate reveals skulduggery the general public can understand: that a tightly-linked clique of scientists were behaving as crusaders. Their letters reveal they were working in what they repeatedly labelled a “cause” to promote a political agenda.
That’s not science, that’s a crusade. When you cherry-pick, discard, nip, tuck, and tape disparate bits of data into the most alarming portrayal you can in the name of a “cause,” you’re not engaged in science, but in the production of propaganda. And this clique tried to subvert the peer-review process as well. They attempted to prevent others from getting into peer reviewed journals — thus letting them claim skeptic research wasn’t peer-reviewed — a convenient circular (and dishonest) way to discredit skeptics.
The dishonesty exposed by the Climategate data is not an isolated aberration. Rather, it is symptomatic of a wider disease that has infected all of Western culture. “Truth” is no longer an objective standard that should be sought and honored. Instead, it has become whatever the individual wants it to be. In this case, the “whatever” is a one-world utopia governed by technocrats who know what’s best for the rest of us.
Regular readers of this blog know that many of my posts on the global warming controversy end with this prediction: “The current approach to the global warming issue will someday be taught in universities as a good example of how not to do science.”
Perhaps we have reached that point much sooner than I expected. Andrew Revkin (NYT) links to a published essay by Dr. Judith Curry, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, that directly addresses young climate scientists, encouraging them to learn a lesson from the Climategate scandal that is still unfolding.
If climate science is to uphold core research values and be credible to public, we need to respond to any critique of data or methodology that emerges from analysis by other scientists. Ignoring skeptics coming from outside the field is inappropriate; Einstein did not start his research career at Princeton, but rather at a post office. I’m not implying that climate researchers need to keep defending against the same arguments over and over again. Scientists claim that they would never get any research done if they had to continuously respond to skeptics. The counter to that argument is to make all of your data, metadata, and code openly available. Doing this will minimize the time spent responding to skeptics; try it! If anyone identifies an actual error in your data or methodology, acknowledge it and fix the problem. Doing this would keep molehills from growing into mountains that involve congressional hearings, lawyers, etc.
From the comments to Revkin’s post:
The sad thing is that scientists are supposed to be skeptics. The minute someone becomes convinced that they know it all is the minute they make the transition from scientist to ideologue. To question, to doubt, to double-check, to scrutinize: this is what it is to be a scientist. A scientist should accept someone else’s statement as the unvarnished truth simply out of respect for them or their position. And a scientist should never ridicule someone for expressing doubts about the accuracy of the data, the methodology for collecting them, the methodology for interpreting them, and the conclusions drawn.
True science has never been the issue in this controversy. Practiced with integrity and openness, science is humanity’s friend. It is when science becomes tainted with political ideology that it becomes corrupted and harmful.
The next time someone argues that global warming alarmism is driven by science, refer them to the sad case of Mitchell Taylor, a polar bear research expert who was recently uninvited to the Polar Bear Specialist Group at the upcoming Copenhagen meeting. The reason? Mitchell does not share the prevailing opinion on the cause of global warming. An excerpt from the letter informing him of the decision:
I do believe, as do many Polar Bear Specialist Group (PBSG) members, that for the sake of polar bear conservation, views that run counter to human induced climate change are extremely unhelpful. In this vein, your positions and statements in the Manhattan Declaration, the Frontier Institute, and the Science and Public Policy Institute are inconsistent with positions taken by the PBSG. . . .
Nothing I heard had to do with your science on harvesting or your research on polar bears – it was the positions you’ve taken on global warming that brought opposition.
In other words, politics trumps science. When political considerations shape the scientific debate, truth is the first casualty.
Some day the current global warming scare will be taught in universities as a good example of how not to do science.
The Houston Chronicle’s science editor, Eric Berger, has dutifully gone along with the global warming alarmism of recent years. But not any more. Like many others, he is now struggling with the overwhelming lack of evidence for a CO2 crisis, and integrity demands that he speak up.
I am confused. Four years ago this all seemed like a fait accompli. Humans were unquestionably warming the climate and changing the planet forever through their emissions of carbon dioxide.
The problem is that some climate scientists and environmentalists have been so determined to see something done about carbon dioxide emissions — now — that they have glossed over the uncertainties.
Uncertainties like: maybe there isn’t a linear relationship between carbon dioxide and temperature, and maybe the planet will cool for a couple of decades even as carbon dioxide emissions accelerate.
Members of the American Chemical Society are rising up en masse against the editor of their newsletter, Chemical and Engineering News, who recently published an editorial belittling global warming skeptics. As it turns out, a good number of his readership are skeptics. And, boy, did they let him have it.
The editorial was met with a swift, passionate and scientific rebuke from [Rudy] Baum’s colleagues. Virtually all of the letters published on July 27 in castigated Baum’s climate science views. Scientists rebuked Baum’s use of the word “deniers” because of the terms “association with Holocaust deniers.” In addition, the scientists called Baum’s editorial: “disgusting”; “a disgrace”; “filled with misinformation”; “unworthy of a scientific periodical” and “pap.”
Read the whole story at this post on Climate Depot. Be sure to scroll down to read the comments from the scientists.
This is further evidence that the collapse of the “consensus” view is accelerating in the scientific community. Only the media and our politicians haven’t figured it out yet.
Robert Brinsmead has written an excellent paper that explains the role of carbon in the maintenance of life on Planet Earth — and the irrationality of all the hysteria about carbon among the AGW crowd. As Brinsmead explains, life as we know it would not exist without carbon.
The entire lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere is therefore saturated and permeated with carbon. Carbon is among the most ubiquitous substances on this planet. It is irrational nonsense to claim that something as ubiquitous as carbon has become a threat to either life or the environment. For every living thing, whether plant or animal, can only exist by absorbing carbon from the environment and by emitting carbon into the environment. Neither life nor the ordered existence of this planet as we know it could continue to exist without this continuing vital exchange and circulation of carbon and carbon dioxide between lithosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere and biosphere.
So what explains the irrational fear of carbon (“carbophobia”) among radical environmentalists? Brinsmead sees a non-environmental mindset at work here.
They are biased against economic growth, industrial activity and human technology. They hate the affluence and creativity of a free economic system. They long for the day when they can dance on the grave of capitalism. Most of all, they are biased against people being free to be productive and prosperous in a free enterprise way of life. They believe that humans are the cancerous pathogens of the earth whose freedom and prosperity has to be drastically curtailed. The only future these eco-activists see for mankind is to worship at the neo-pagan shrine of Mother Nature in some sort of return to a primitive, ecotopian past.
If you want to understand the entire scope of the carbon debate, read this paper.