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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What utter nonsense. Could you kindly point to us the correlation between Man and the temperature? This is the Holy Grail for climate science, and as of yet it has NOT been proven in ANY way at all. The current trend of temperature increase has been going at the same rate for the last 200 years. The science is by NO means over. Anyone who says that is not using the scientific method.
Human caused climate change is the accepted conclusion of the science at this point in time. If you disagree with that conclusion, it is incumbent upon you to prove your point, not on me to defend the established science.
Science is NOT done on consensus. Science is done via testing, empirical evidence, and open processes. Science is not done by saying "the debate is over, and we're having a campaign", as much as you'd like it to be. What science needs to do is find the correlation, and show it to be true. What it doesn't need to rely on is the IPCC and the politicians behind the scenes. It needs to address the issues they are having with models, they need to address the many mistakes made in the IPCC reports. They need to address the MANY issues that have been brought up in this field. Until then, shouting achieves nothing, (at least not scientifically).

If you are going to talk about the proof of burden part, then the ones making the claim have that burden. You are making the claim that mankind is causing global warming... Others are skeptical. Skeptics are not making claims.

I'm glad you weren't around in Copurnicus' day. We'd still think the sun went round the earth.
Nicely put. What you say almost sounds reasonable. It falls flat, however, when you realize that the vast majority of warming "skeptics" are in fact making claims. That the science is a "hoax" is currently one of the most common. The point of the OP is that scientists are going to start defending their positions against the onslaught of misinformation against them.
Please back that up please. To me that sounds like a claim more than the papers I have read on the subject.
No... Science does NOT work on consensus. Science works on what works, and is testable, and repeatable. There are papers out there that go either side of the argument for or against. Which are you ignoring?
Erm, shouldn't the science do the talking, rather than simply seeing who can get the most publicity? It doesn't help when people say 'the debate is over' etc. Would you be as happy if that was uttered for any other part of science? There shouldn't have to be a campaign. Since when did skepticism in science be seen as a bad thing, OR as something that should be discouraged?
Science has been doing the talking, but it is being drowned out by a twenty year disinformation campaign to protect corporate profits. There is plenty of skepticism in the scientific community about this. But we need to call bullshit when it is appropriate, such as in this politically motivated "debate". Just like a flat-earther's opinion should not carry as much weight as a physicist's, or a creationist's compared to an evolutionary biologist's, these so-called "skeptics" need to be laughed off the stage. Unfortunately, their corporate bankroll and disinformation campaign is formidable.

This movement is just scientists standing up for themselves and pointing out that the non-scientist, right-wing radical corporate backed hacks are a bunch of liars.
Which skeptics? There are nutjobs in every profession, but the danger is labeling them all as 'deniers' or 'flat earthers'. The problem is exactly that. Politically motivated. There is a lot of money tied up in these things now, and the introduction of the carbon trading market means that there is a lot to be lost should the science go a certain way.

What YOU need to decide is who are the nutters, and who is not. Until then, campaigns against skepticism should be treated as absurdly as the notion suggests. As I said, skepticism is in no way a bad thing. By all means call idiots out for lies, but what they are essentially doing, (as is your headline), is putting all skeptics in the same bucket. This is patently not only bad science, but dishonest.
I think the disinformation about evolution is perfectly analogous to this "debate" about global warming. The same thing also happened with tobacco about 40 years ago.
What utter nonsense. Are you seriously going to compare creationism, with AGW skepticism?


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