Climate scientists plan campaign against global-warming skeptics

Published: Sunday, Nov. 7, 2010 - 12:00 am

Faced with increasing political attacks, hundreds of climate scientists
are joining a broad campaign to push back against congressional
conservatives who have threatened prominent researchers with
investigations and have vowed to kill regulations to rein in man-made greenhouse gas emissions.

The efforts reveal a shift among climate scientists, many of whom have traditionally stayed out of politics and avoided the news media. Many now say they are willing to go toe-to-toe with their
critics, some of whom gained new power after the Republicans won control
of the House in last Tuesday's election.

On Monday, the American Geophysical Union, the country's largest association of climate scientists, plans to announce that 700 climate scientists have agreed to speak out as experts on questions about global warming and the role of man-made air pollution.

Some are prepared to go before what they consider potentially hostile audiences on conservative talk-radio and television shows.

John Abraham of St. Thomas University in Minnesota, who last May wrote a widely disseminated response to climate-change skeptics, is organizing a "Climate Rapid Response Team," which so far
has more than three dozen leading scientists to defend the consensus on
global warming in the scientific community. Some are also preparing a
handbook on the human causes of climate change, which they plan to start sending to U.S. high schools as soon as this fall.

"This group feels strongly that science and politics can't be divorced and that we need to take bold measures to not only communicate
science but also to aggressively engage the denialists and politicians
who attack climate science and its scientists," said Scott Mandia, professor of physical sciences at Suffolk County Community College in New York.

"We are taking the fight to them because we are . . . tired of taking the hits. The notion that truth will prevail is not working. The
truth has been out there for the past two decades, and nothing has

During the recent election campaigns, skepticism about climate change became a rallying cry for many Republican candidates. Of the more than 100 new Republican members of Congress, 50 percent are climate-change skeptics, according to an analysis of campaign statements by the Center for American Progress, a liberal research group.

Prominent Republican congressmen such as Darrell Issa, R-Calif., Joe L. Barton, R-Texas, and F. James Sensenbrenner Jr., R-Wis., have pledged to investigate the Environmental Protection Agency's regulation of greenhouse gas emissions. They say they also intend to probe the so-called Climategate scandal, in which thousands of e-mails
of leading climate scientists were hacked and released to the public late last year.

Climate-change skeptics argued that the sniping in some e-mails showed that scientists suppressed research by skeptics and manipulated
data. Five independent panels subsequently cleared the researchers
involved and validated the science.

"People who ask and accept taxpayer dollars shouldn't get bent of shape when asked to account for the money," said James M. Taylor, a senior fellow and a specialist in global warming at the conservative Heartland Institute in Chicago. "The budget is spiraling out of control while government is handing out billions of dollars in grants to climate scientists, many of whom are unabashed activists."

Ongoing public interest in Climategate has prompted climate scientists to act.

The American Geological Union plan has attracted a large number of scientists in a short time because they were eager to address what they
see as climate misinformation, said Jeffrey Taylor, research fellow at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado and manager of the project.

Still, the scope of the group's work is limited, reflecting the ongoing reluctance by many scientists to venture into politics.

In the week that Abraham and others have been organizing the rapid-response team, 39 scientists agreed to participate, including Richard Feely, senior scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration; Kevin Trenberth, head of the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research; and Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University.

"People who've already dug their heels in, we're not going to change their opinions," Mandia said. "We're trying to reach people who
may not have an opinion or opinion based on limited information."

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You think science works via consensus? Ever heard of the appeal to authority?

Oh, my. You really have no clue, do you? So, what, you are just a contrarian?

Consensus IS based on the evidence. All of the evidence in a particular field as interpreted by the majority of experts working and studying in that field. The consensus is not always correct, but it is the closest you ever get to "settled" science. Besides, who am I going to trust more as a person who will never be an expert in these fields? The experts who know how to analyze and interpret the evidence and put it into proper context? Or some guy on the internet that doesn't seem to know the importance of a scientific consensus?

Appeal to authority is not a genuine accusation here...

That was beautiful, man.
YOK... You seem to know your stuff. Sorry, but when did I say somebody was right because they went against the grain, or wrong if they did not? I have posted papers that go against the grain purely to demonstrate that the science is not done. That is all.

Would you care to comment on the central England temperature record, and where you see the irregular rise which you would presumably see as a signal of human temperature influence? Would you care to explain how much of the 0.7 degrees Celsius temperature increase in the last century was man made, and what was natural? What about the limits of the GCM's, and the fact that applying cloud, and water vapour variables are normally at much smaller scales that the cells they use. What about the high climate sensitivity applied to these models,a nd the forcing used therein?

Why have the models predicted warming at a certain level, when observed measurements show only about a third of the warming actually taking place? Do you think a 33% accuracy is OK? What about the oceanic oscilations that show a very nice 30 or so year rise and fall, etc? There is so much involved in climate science that to put all the eggs in one basket is I feel dangerous.

You seem to think that I have some blind refusal to accept any of the theories put forward. I do not. What I do object to, and I keep having to say this, is that I do not think that this subject is something that should be leading policy forward before it has even been really examined. There are so many variables that we simply do not know about. This thread has shown that certain people view skeptics as 'deniers' or 'flat earthers' and that they are all under the purview of big oil or some other entity.

yes... It is clearly me being blinkered, insisting that we examine all the different facets before marching off on some co2 crusade. It's clearly pointless trying to investigate tectonics, water vapour, solar radiation, accurate modeling, failure to predict el nina or el nino, as well as upper troposphere temperature. We need to accurately find out what the feedbacks are, and whether they are positive, or negative. We need to get a much better grasp of cloud interference, etc. These are not petty things. There is so much on the shoulders of the models that we really do need to get them right before we begin something foolish.

Do you agree? Do you agree with my statement that the debate is NOT over, and that anybody who says such is being utterly unscientific? Do you agree that science is not done on consensus?

I'm out, again... You are right, it is pointless discussing it.
I like that video, but am I the only one who finds it just a little bit creepy?
Interesting choice! It illustrates an environment completely shaped by human activity. No way that could extend to the atmosphere, I suppose?
I'm almost falling asleep, I couldn't stand it in all its glory, had to skip through it.
Thanks, doone.

It amazes me that people will cherry pick flawed studies or certain data, then claim that a scientific consensus is irrelevent and the only thing that matters is the evidence. What they really mean, whether they know it or not, is that the only evidence that matters to them is the evidence that supports their own feelings on the subject. They completely ignore an expert consensus that is based on a body of evidence that they claim is so important. They demonstrate a fundamental lack of understanding about how science works, especially with abstract and difficult to grasp fields such as climate science.
How great it would be if everyone just ignored someone else's field of expertise.

It would be like having something wrong with your car and taking it to 10 mechanics, 9 of whom diagnose the same problem. But you ignore them all and instead believe your hairdresser's opinion on it.
This cartoon makes such a very good point. Everybody gets so hung up on global warming, but it is just one of many, many aspects of our overall destruction of the environment. I know the world is disaster saturated, but these things are not going away: overpopulation, mass extinction, habitat loss, deforestation, coral reef death, sudden bee death, air pollution, water pollution, light pollution, noise pollution, and rock and roll music.

We have to fix this. Jesus ain't coming back folks!
Oh my !#@%$@# God! And Christians wonder why we pick on them...
Oh, thank God! What else can we stop worrying about?
Alright! Think of all the iPads we can buy with the U.S. military budget that we no longer need! After all, we ARE a Christian nation and God will protect us, right?


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