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December 20, 2006

So what happened at AGU last week?


Posted to Author: Vranes, K. | Climate Change

[this is a cross-post from this original]

With thirteen thousand people at a confab of geophysicists and geophysicists-in-training, a few thousand of whom work on something related to the climate system, you expect to hear about climate change. In perhaps a short decade, climate change has rapidly surpassed seismology as the primary membrane between the public and the geophysics research world. Climate is now what most makes the American Geophysical Union relevant to non-members; climate is now what essentially drives the meeting despite the presence of dozens of other specialties represented.

As a physical oceanographer (which by definition also means "climatologist")- become-enviro policy guy, though, I wasn't so much interested in the details of climate science at this year's AGU. What I was (and am) interested in is seeing the conference as a whole. My interest in AGU has strayed from the hardrock science, moving into something more to do with feelings and hunches. That's right, feelings. Hunches. Intuition. The squishy, soft underbelly of the human mind; the part we want to ignore in pursuing geophysical data analysis. What I want to know is attitude. More than the state of the science, I now want to know about the state of the scientists.

I will grant that talking to the people I did at AGU represents a small fraction of all the attendees. I will grant that there is no way to know whether my averaging of attitudes in the climsci world, as sensed by talking with a few people over a few days, scales up to represent the true feelings of the collective. But I will tell you what I found, and what I felt, and whether you think it might represent the current attitude of climsci world is up to you.

To sum the state of climsci world in one word, as I see it right now, it is this: tension.

What I am starting to hear is internal backlash. Sure, science is messy and always full of tension between holders of competing positions, opinions and analyses. That has always been the nature of science, and of course extends to climate science. Tensions come out at meetings, on listservs, on letters pages, and in the press. But these tensions normally surround a particular paper, or a particular question. While much more broadly-based tensions have existed for years on the state of understanding on global warming, they haven't really been tensions internal to the climsci community, but tensions between the climsci community and interested outsiders.

What I am sensing now is something much broader and more diffuse, something that has less to do with particular components of the science in the field and is much more about how the field is composing itself.

What I see is something that I am having a hard time labeling, but that I might call either a "hangover" or a "sophomore slump" or "buyers remorse." None fit perfectly, but perhaps the combination does. I speak for (my interpretation) of the collective: {We tried for years – decades – to get them to listen to us about climate change. To do that we had to ramp up our rhetoric. We had to figure out ways to tone down our natural skepticism (we are scientists, after all) in order to put on a united face. We knew it would mean pushing the science harder than it should be. We knew it would mean allowing the boundary-pushers on the "it's happening" side free reign while stifling the boundary-pushers on the other side. But knowing the science, we knew the stakes to humanity were high and that the opposition to the truth would be fierce, so we knew we had to dig in. But now they are listening. Now they do believe us. Now they say they're ready to take action. And now we're wondering if we didn't create a monster. We're wondering if they realize how uncertain our projections of future climate are. We wonder if we've oversold the science. We're wondering what happened to our community, that individuals caveat even the most minor questionings of barely-proven climate change evidence, lest they be tagged as "skeptics." We're wondering if we've let our alarm at the problem trickle to the public sphere, missing all the caveats in translation that we have internalized. And we're wondering if we’ve let some of our scientists take the science too far, promise too much knowledge, and promote more certainty in ourselves than is warranted.}

I came to this place in a few ways. One was a colleague describing a caveat he put into his poster abstract out of fear --- yes, fear! (He strongly called into question widely-quoted data supporting a decline in snowpack and advance in spring peak runoff in the northern Rockies.) Another was multiple colleagues giving me independent but similar blistering accounts of the GCMs they work on (upcoming post on this). Yet another was listening to competing ideas presented by Torn (GC22A-02) and Knutti (-04) in this session. It was in these and other events and conversations that a theme arose that pervaded my meeting.

None of this is to say that the risk of climate change is being questioned or downplayed by our community; it's not. It is to say that I think some people feel that we've created a monster by limiting the ability of people in our community to question results that say "climate change is right here!" It is to say that a number of climsci people I heard from are not comfortable enough with the science to want our community to push to outsiders an idea that we have fully or even adequately bounded the risk. I heard from a few people a sentiment that we need to stop making assumptions and decisions for decision-makers; that we need to give decision-makers only the unvarnished truth with realistic bounds on our uncertainty, and trust that the decision-makers will know what to do with it. These feelings came of frustration that many of us are downplaying uncertainties for fear of not being listened to.

I don't play in the weeds of climate change anymore, I play in the weeds of how the science gets to policy makers and how the nature of policy-making gets back to the scientists. My own feeling of self-responsibility in this field is to be that translator in any small way I can; to hear what each sides thinks and needs and to play go-between. (I am certainly not the only one, but there aren't many of us, either.) It is for that reason that what I heard concerns me greatly, because I see negative implications for the credibility of the climsci world.

In upcoming posts I will give concrete examples of events and discussions from which I draw these conclusions. For now I leave the concerned climsci community with the thoughts of one former Congressional science fellow who is now back in research science (with some additions of my own): dealing with uncertainty is exactly what Congresspeople do, and they do it a lot better than we do. For scientists, uncertainty is an abstract concept, something that feeds into an academic study, a place where the stakes are low and time-scale is long-term. For politicians and unelected decision-makers, uncertainty is life-or-death, yet decisions must still be made. Politicians constantly make decisions amid levels of uncertainty that would stifle the publication of any academic climate change paper. We need to realize that, give the politicians their due, and get the hell out of their way. Give them the science and the uncertainties and let them make the decisions. Overplaying our hand is a dangerous gambit, and may spell big trouble for us in the future.

I realize that many of you will disagree with the notion that we are overplaying our hand, or are not giving full voice to our uncertainties. I'm not sure the answer to this question myself. But I write all this because I sense a sea change in attitudes amongst climsci people that I know as good scientists without agendas. These are solid scientists, and some told me in no uncertain terms that we are not giving full voice to uncertainties; others implied as much. Therein lies the tension. Where we go from here is anybody's guess, but I tend to agree with the Oracle in the second Matrix movie: we already know the answer to that question, our task is to understand why we are going to do what we are going to do.

Posted on December 20, 2006 02:16 PM

Comments

Let us hope cooler heads are prevailing. I'm quite sure the vast majority of climate scientists, dedicated to their work, see the underhandedness of carbon traders donating $300,000 to a website proclaiming to clear the air, or a website developed to covering up bad science, or even a politician running around like Chicken Little when he has a financial stake in spreading that fear.

It could be as bad as many think, or it could be a non-event. Right now, with our ignorance of feedbacks, crippling the ability of society to fund scientific research is far from the ideal solution. It would certainly be better, for the sake of knowledge as a start, to fill the holes in our understanding of climate rather than dogmatically pursue a luddite-like existence, where real problems like malaria etc. would certainly be worse than a world with the resources to fight such problems.

Posted by: Steve Hemphill [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 20, 2006 08:57 PM


Thank you for this thoughtful post. We need more discussion of this nature.

My impression (as a lay observer) is that the discussion has been hijacked by those with an agenda, and who acknowledge (Stephen Schneider, Al Gore) that the problem for us all is so serious that they are compelled to exaggerate the issues so that they can get attention focussed on AGW issues.

Problem is, the open discussion and hard questioning that is facilitated by the emergence of blogs on the internet is exposing sloppy science that is now leading to a serious loss of credibility for many "climate scientists" who have taken the lead in scaring the public.

This is probably an intermediate phase, a time of change, as all involved begin to understand the power of open communication, especially with the opportunity for learned people to contribute without exposing their real names.

Hopefully the end result will be a dramatic improvement in what real science involves, and lead away from the current situation where an individual (I have in mind Phil Jones) can drive the debate by presenting to the world processed data without revealing any detail of how they have adjusted for the changing population of temperature stations, Urban Heat Island effects etc. "Trust me", says Phil, "I have made appropriate adjustments."

The blinding insight that emerges from the new information age is that many of us are saying "True science doesn't involve us trusting you Phil. Show us the data, show us the methods. Explain what you have done. Prove to us that what you say is true."

All this is good. Very very good. With this new age of open communication, we will hopefully get to the real answers much more quickly than might have been possible before. Whatever they are.

Posted by: bruce at December 21, 2006 01:08 AM


Clearly your impressions are your own,and just that, impressions, but you are emphasising only one end of the uncertainty spectrum, here. Recent papers (Barrie Pittock's springs to mind) and recent model output has also suggested to some in the climsci community that the scientists concerned haven't gone far enough; in attempts to moderate the possibility of media-induced 'panics' (which clearly hasn't worked), the 'big picture' might well have underplayed the real risk that temperatures (and associated by-products) might well reach levels greater than +4C, especially given the recent increases in CO2 output globally, and the unlikeliness of any policy change in at least two, and more likely five years from now.

This, of course, only goes to underline what you say about uncertainty, but might cast a different slant on what the source of doubt is.

Another, completely different interpretation could be that this 'tension' you speak of is a 'frontlash' response to what is anticipated to be in the AR4, and the likely public and political responses to this. If, as seems likely, the AR4 is more forceful than ever on the role of CO2, is more precise on the likely range of warming, and more detailed in its record of observed change since about 1970, then there's going to be a very large spotlight placed on decision-makers and the people who provide them with information in the coming year - even more so than currently. Perhaps, in the words of the song, climsciers are aware that 'there may be trouble ahead...'

Posted by: Fergus Brown at December 21, 2006 03:31 AM


Bruce, thanks for the comment.

Fergus, thanks to you as well. You may be right, of course, and I was very careful to indicate that this is my reading only, based on talking to only a few people. Sometimes small samples represent the population well, sometimes they don't, but I do honestly believe that anybody hearing what I heard last week would have come to the same or similar conclusions. As far as the frontlash on AR4, here's something to think about: what I did not bring out in my post but which was an underlying subtext is that I think this is in part a generational dichotomy. I spoke mostly (but not exclusively) with junior scientists -- still very good scientists, but out of their PhDs only within the past ten years. None of these are involved in AR4 and most don't even care about it. (In fact, of all the people I talked to I think I'm the only one involved in AR4 -- I was expert reviewer on two WGII chapters.) This may actually bolster your argument -- that junior people in the field (probably in some unarticulated way) do not fully trust the IPCC process and want to distance themselves from it. I highly doubt anybody I was talking to thinks this explicitly though.

Posted by: kevin v at December 21, 2006 12:06 PM


Any community that uses the word "skeptic" as a pejorative is more dogmatic and religous than inquisitive and scientific.

Posted by: Harold at December 21, 2006 03:03 PM


Climate science, as it exists today, is not predictive in a useful way. Climate scientists on the Left tell us that, present conditions continuing, the seas will rise from 1 to 20 feet in the next 100 years. Is that the best prediction they can make? Because the seas will rise from 1 to 20 feet in the next 100 years, I am supposed to pay an additional $20,000 for my next car? Are they insane? Climate scientists have done little or nothing to make their case for policy choices.

Posted by: James Mayhall at December 21, 2006 03:26 PM


Bruce, which paper of Barrie Pittock are you referring to?

w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 21, 2006 09:50 PM


Dear Kevin,

Thank you for your observations.

You write:

"These are solid scientists, and some told me in no uncertain terms that we are not giving full voice to uncertainties; others implied as much."

While all this may be for some a recent “journey to Damascus”, others have seen the light almost since the beginning. The compulsion to hide uncertainties and silence "critics" has been a loud whisper in the AGW/political community for an overly long time - from Steven Schneider to Jim Hansen to Al Gore.

The fear of threat to the political orthodoxy of AGW policy-science has spun up such a fury that we are witnessing brazen calls for legal prosecution and personal destruction of scientists (or any organization presenting their research and views), who are labeled as comparable to “Holocaust Deniers” and tobacco-industry-like “hired guns.”

Witness Harvard’s Daniel Schrag. Last week in a letter to the Boston Globe, Schrag publicly characterized dissenting witnesses – including the gentlemanly Professor Bob Carter – at a recent Senate hearing on climate change as a “gathering of liars and charlatans” spouting “outrageous claims intended to deceive and distort.” Schrag completes the now formulaic attack with the motive attribution of the left: “sponsored by those industries who want to protect their profits."

Clearly, few fair-minded would find this indecorous invective the language of scholarship and science. Rather, one is reminded of George Orwell’s observation that, “In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Or, as Schrag phrased it, an “outrage.”

Are these the behaviors of those “certain” of scientifically defensive positions?
It is all becoming a bit too uncomfortable for even some in academia with proactive AGW policy views.

One “solid scientist” who HAS been speaking out for a while, and taking serious public abuse, is MIT’s Dick Lindzen. Below is yet another press accounting of what he has personally observed – all of which speaks directly to your well expressed intimations and concerns therewith:

“Dr. Lindzen is proud of his contribution, and that of his colleagues, to the IPCC chapter they worked on. His pride in this work matches his dismay at seeing it misrepresented. "[Almost all reading and coverage of the IPCC is restricted to the highly publicized Summaries for Policymakers which are written by representatives from governments, NGOs and business; the full reports, written by participating scientists, are largely ignored," he told the United States Senate committee on environment and public works in 2001. These unscientific summaries, often written to further political or business agendas, then become the basis of public understanding.
“As an example, Dr. Lindzen provided the committee with the summary that was created for Chapter 7, which he worked on. "Understanding of climate processes and their incorporation in climate models have improved, including water vapour, sea-ice dynamics, and ocean heat transport," the summary stated, creating the impression that the climate models were reliable. The actual report by the scientists indicated just the opposite. Dr. Lindzen testified that the scientists had "found numerous problems with model treatments -- including those of clouds and water vapor."
“When the IPCC was stung by criticism that the summaries were being written with little or no input by the scientists themselves, the IPCC had a subset of the scientists review a subsequent draft summary -- an improvement in the process. Except that the final version, when later released at a Shanghai press conference, had surprising changes to the draft that scientists had seen.
“The version that emerged from Shanghai concludes, "In the light of new evidence and taking into account the remaining uncertainties, most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations." Yet the draft was rife with qualifiers making it clear the science was very much in doubt because "the accuracy of these estimates continues to be limited by uncertainties in estimates of internal variability, natural and anthropogenic forcing, and the climate response to external forcing."
“The summaries' distortion of the IPCC chapters compounds another distortion that occurred in the very writing of the scientific chapters themselves. Dr. Lindzen's description of the conditions under which the climate scientists worked conjures up a scene worthy of a totalitarian state: "throughout the drafting sessions, IPCC 'coordinators' would go around insisting that criticism of models be toned down, and that 'motherhood' statements be inserted to the effect that models might still be correct despite the cited faults. Refusals were occasionally met with ad hominem attacks. I personally witnessed coauthors forced to assert their 'green' credentials in defense of their statements."
“To better understand the issue of climate change, including the controversies over the IPCC summary documents, the White House asked the National Academy of Sciences, the country's premier scientific organization, to assemble a panel on climate change. The 11 members of the panel, which included Richard Lindzen, concluded that the science is far from settled: "Because there is considerable uncertainty in current understanding of how the climate system varies naturally and reacts to emissions of greenhouse gases and aerosols, current estimates of the magnitude of future warming should be regarded as tentative and subject to future adjustments (either upward or downward)."
“The press's spin on the NAS report? CNN, in language typical of other reportage, stated that it represented "a unanimous decision that global warming is real, is getting worse, and is due to man. There is no wiggle room."
“Despite such obtuseness Lindzen fights on, defending the science at what is undoubtedly a very considerable personal cost. Those who toe the party line are publicly praised and have grants ladled out to them from a funding pot that overflows with US$1.7-billion per year in the U.S. alone. As Lindzen wrote earlier this year in The Wall Street Journal, "there is a more sinister side to this feeding frenzy. Scientists who dissent from the alarmism have seen their grant funds disappear, their work derided, and themselves libeled as industry stooges, scientific hacks or worse. Consequently, lies about climate change gain credence even when they fly in the face of the science that supposedly is their basis."
Source: http://www.canada.com/nationalpost/news/story.html?id=bc93abca-79cd-4a7b-b7a8-357d4e98f3f3
Warmest regards


Posted by: Bob Ferguson at December 23, 2006 07:08 AM


Fergus, I have read the study by Barrie Pittock claiming that we're underestimating climate change, and frankly, I was not impressed. There are more "probably" and "appears to be" and "suggest" and "expected to" and "likely to" than I am comfortable with in a supposedly scientific paper.

In addition, there are some very foolish claims. Take this one:

"The recent high growth rates in atmospheric CO2 concentrations reported by Francey [2005] appear to be persisting through 2004–2005 (David Etheridge, CSIRO, personal communication,2006)"

The CO2 data is available from NOAA at http://www.cmdl.noaa.gov/projects/web/trends/co2_mm_mlo.dat through November. Take the data. Detrend it, calculate the monthly average variations, and remove them. From this, we can calculate the month-over-month growth rate.

From the beginning of the record in March 1958 through November 2006, the average month-over-month growth rate has been 0.034% (~0.4%/yr), standard deviation 0.091%. There is only a miniscule trend in the growth rate (0.004%/decade) which is not statistically significant (p>0.5).

The average monthly increase for the last ten years (Dec 1997-Nov 2006) is 0.045%, just over a standard deviation from the overall average. The trend in the last decade is negative at 0.009%/decade, not significant.

The yearly averages since 1998 (the peak year) have been:

1998, 0.064%
1999, 0.022%
2000, 0.040%
2001, 0.033%
2002, 0.058%
2003, 0.050%
2004, 0.034%
2005, 0.056%
2006, 0.031%

which are not unusual at all.

In other words, Barrie Pittock has not done even the simplest fact-checking for his paper. The whole exercise took me about 45 minutes ... but he has taken the supposition and put forward a whole complex explanation of why the CO2 growth rate is supposedly rising. Bad scientist, no cookies. Anyone in climate science knows the dangers of grabbing "scientific" papers, even those from "peer-reviewed" journals, and building a case on them.

I haven't checked the rest of his paper, can't be bothered. We might possibly underestimate climate change, but he definitely overestimates it ...

w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 23, 2006 09:27 PM


Is the problem that the case for AGw is not black & white? Climate science is a complicated set of issues and it is far from straightforward to get a complex situation across in the media.

On the other side are the skeptics who can simply paint a B/W picture and confuse the issue. Therefor it has proven attractive and/or essential for many scientists to present their case more B/W than it scientifically speaking is.

There is a strong skeptics/deniers movement whose opposition has little to do with science and a lot with a distatse of regulation, tax, the left, international treaties, etc, etc...

Sometimes you need to fight back using the opponents weapons. Is this one of those situations? I really don't know. I hate most of the skeptics as they consistently mis-quote publications and keep repeating oft refuted research. Yet, now the AGW side seems to move more and more into an equally annoying B/W position.

Where do you draw the line?

Posted by: Mark UK at December 26, 2006 10:17 AM


Hi Willis,

I think you might have misplaced a decimal point in many of your numbers.

Shouldn't it be:

1998: 0.64%
1999: 0.22%
2000: 0.40%

etc.?

The CO2 increase has been about 0.5% per year for last few decade or two, hasn't it?

Mark

Posted by: Mark Bahner [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 26, 2006 04:04 PM


Mark B., those are average month-over-month numbers. Apologies for the lack of clarity.

Mark UK, you say:

"There is a strong skeptics/deniers movement whose opposition has little to do with science and a lot with a distatse of regulation, tax, the left, international treaties, etc, etc ..."

This is an extremely broad brush. While there are politically motivated people such as you claim, they are on both sides of the issue, not just the skeptics. The skeptics I respect, and there are many, hold their views for scientific reasons.

In 2003, Professor Dennis Bray asked 530 climate scientists in 27 countries to rate the statement "To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?", with "1" indicating strong agreement and "7" strong disagreement . Some 44% were either neutral or disagreed more or less strongly with the statement. Are they all politically motivated as you claim? I doubt it very much.

Finally, the term "deniers" is a transparent attempt to link people who do not believe the AGW claims with those who deny the Holocaust, and is an obvious and repugnant ad hominem.

w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 29, 2006 06:09 AM


Willis,

"To what extent do you agree or disagree that climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?"

The problem is this is a very poorly worded question. "Climate change" is a generic term and is caused by all kinds of things, over geologic history the vast majority non-anthropogenic. Given that exact question I might have disagreed as well. If the question had read "To what extent do you agree or disagree that the current climate change is mostly the result of anthropogenic causes?" I would have agreed strongly as would the vast majority of scientists in the relevant fields.
http://illconsidered.blogspot.com/2006/02/there-is-no-consensus.html

Posted by: coby [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2006 09:46 AM


Coby -

Your definition is a bit ... foggy. What, exactly, is there consensus of? This smoke and mirrors gambit is constantly used by alarmists. Is it:
A. Current climate change is largely the result of anthropogenic causes, or
B. Current climate change is largely the result of increased CO2, or
C. Current climate change is largely the result of increased CO2 and it will be catastrophic?

The consensus is A. B is the consensus of some stuck on their side of the Tower of Babel (The "all other things being equal" cult), and C is the consensus of alarmists.

You need to clarify, perhaps in your own mind first.

Posted by: Steve Hemphill [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2006 11:08 AM


Coby, your objection is a bit disingenuous. Obviously, the climate change of a million years ago, or ten thousand years ago, was not anthopogenic. The scientists would have understood it to mean current climate change, it is the only way the question makes sense.

w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 29, 2006 04:56 PM


Willis, Coby-

The definition thing on "climate change" again? See:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/admin/publication_files/resource-1841-2004.10.pdf

The "consensus" thing again, also? See:

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/climate_change/000765on_the_value_of_con.html

;-)

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2006 05:11 PM


Thanks for the definitions, Roger. What do you suppose the odds are that everyone responding to the survey Willis brought up had the FCCC definition in mind?

Willis, re being "disingenuous", I can only ask you to take my word for it, I sincerly believe the phrasing of the question to be ambiguous. As for convincing you, I can't offer much accept advice to never assume that what is obvious to you will be obvious to anyone else.

IIRC, the context of this question lends considerable support to an interpretation that "climate change" was meant in the abstract (not saying I would have taken it that way myself). Do you have a link to the survey? I know I have read it but do not recall where.

Posted by: coby [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2006 06:41 PM


Coby- The ambiguity of the phrase "climate change" is a problem for a lot of reasons. not just surveys and the IPCC. I've always thought it redundant;-)

Posted by: Roger Pielke, Jr. [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 29, 2006 06:59 PM


Coby, call me crazy, but I hardly think the climate scientists the the question referred to climate change 100,000 years ago. The only way to reasonably interpret the question is whether humans are having an effect on the current climate.

Now the IPCC, as Roger points out, has redefined "climate change" to mean "anthropogenic climate change". But the climate scientists couldn't have considered that definition, because the question "are humans having an effect on anthropogenic climate change" makes no sense.

The survey is at http://www.sepp.org/Archive/NewSEPP/Bray.htm

And Roger, you're quite right, the phrase "climate change" is redundant, never realized that.


w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 29, 2006 09:29 PM


Willis, the survey is not there, only a discussion of the result for that question. What was the context?

The defintion you ascribe to the IPCC is incorrect, that was the FCCC's definition. The IPCC includes natural variation when using the phrase "climate change".

Posted by: coby [TypeKey Profile Page] at December 30, 2006 10:48 PM


I do not have an original copy of the survey itself. I believe it was the same as the study at http://w3g.gkss.de/staff/storch/THYSSEN/HTML/survey/questions.htm, also by Bray.

You are right, it was the UNFCCC who changed the definition ... my point was not who changed it, but that obviously the scientists weren't using the UNFCCC definition.

w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 31, 2006 06:23 AM


As a layperson, I found this post and the comments to it highly interesting. I completely understand the challenges faced in trying to overcome inertia. If you don't swing the pendulum hard to an exteme, it can be difficult for anyone to take notice.


I think what has concerned me as I have tried to do my own reading on this topic and arrive at my own conclusions is that I am likewise sensing an environment of scorn for anyone that falls short of total acquiescence to AGW and all it's dire predictions. When the scientists studying this phenomenon have been cowered into silence from engaging in healthy and vigorous debate for fear that they'll be labeled skeptics, puppets of big oil, traitors, or whatever, then there is more at stake than just the climate.

I have long contended that Michael Crichton's book was not as much about climate change as about the politicization of science. While you can argue about his views on AGW and the evidence he has assembled in support of his view, it is hard to dismiss his contention that this has become the most highly politicized scientific issue of our time.

Posted by: Steve at December 31, 2006 05:50 PM


coby, the complete study, along with the previous study in 1996, is at http://w3g.gkss.de/staff/bray/BrayGKSSsite/BrayGKSS/questions.html. The questions were asked of different scientists, so the results are not a time series.

w.

Posted by: Willis Eschenbach at December 31, 2006 09:52 PM


My contention for quite sometime is that the 'climsci' community is a secular faith based movement. Your post, as well as many of the responses I read, do nothing but deepen my conviction that I am right.
You guys have left the world of science long ago. You know this, and your attacks on skeptics and your need to massage historical data only confirm it.
Chrichton busted you completely in his speech on the religious nature of 'climsci'. The backlash you are sensing is only the beginning. Every eyar that goes by with the over hyped apocalypse's non arrival will rightfully strengthen this backlash.
Fortunately, the 'mitigation' policies you all promtoe are mostly harmless, and may well actually help clean the air and water. I think many of you knew that going in, but felt that lying about the climate was justified to clean the environment. I leave that to history to judge.
The 'climsci' community is demonstrating perfectly why people should not trust philospher kings. Thank you for having the integrity to at least point out the unvarnished arrogance of this tainted community.

Posted by: hunter [TypeKey Profile Page] at January 1, 2007 01:24 PM




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