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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@ AndyMeanie I'm a little unclear as to whether you have read any of the papers or research topics you quote above, or whether you lifted some references from a climate sceptic website. I'm totally unaware of any paper by Lindzen and Chen, however there is a well-known paper by Richard Lindzen and Y S Choi on radiance, which has been heavily criticised for its methodology, as it only took data at the tropics, yet makes assertions about global feedback mechanisms, and, as the authors have had to admit, the study inherently only allowed consideration of negative feedback and not positive feedback. You'll find a good critique of the paper here

Furthermore, the study has no actual relevance to the debate about the nature of climate change; it is an analysis of climate sensitivity, which you should know if you had actually read it, instead of, perhaps, taking the "end of the AGW scam" misrepresentation by climate deniers at face value? Lindzen is, indeed, a climate sceptic, but the paper you appear to quote is simply relevant to the sensitivity of climate modelling, not to causes of warming, which is an entirely appropriate subject for debate, and is so amongst the modellers themselves.

Your comment about the subsurface buoys is a little puzzling too, as it seems to be a reference to the National Data Buoy Centre research programme, which is run by NOAA, one of the most outspoken research institutes on climate change; they are firm in asserting that climate change is anthropogenic (anthropological? - not sure what you think anthropology has to do with climate change).
Have you read any of the papers regarding climate science?

Do you have the training to even know what you are reading? How many papers have you read? Are you currently studying and/or working in climate science? How many papers do you read a month on the subject? What work do you do in this field of study?

Sheesh. Climate scientists spend years studying and then working in their fields to understand and stay abreast of all the scientific data and developments. The fact that you may have read a paper or two does not carry any weight. And even if you have read hundreds? What if you ARE a climate scientist who has spent years studying, working, and staying abreast of climate science? Want to know where that puts you? In a very small minority that disgarees with the consensus. So, even if you had all the qualifications, it really doesn't matter unless you are publishing papers that scientifically counters and invalidates the conclusions of the consensus of experts in that field.

So. Who should I, a layman with basic science knowledge, trust on the issue of climate science? Some guy on the internet with unkown credentials and who asks silly things like "have you read any papers regarding climate science?", or the conclusions of a majority of experts in the field?


I can say that the experts put together a very compelling case for their conclusions and it is not something you would get from reading a few research papers. It is the aggregate of data that tells the story.
Climate change is not true at Walmart - there is no traction for reasonable change. Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid are true at Walmart - these will remain untouched.
The science has been thoroughly peer reviewed and well understood by anyone with a brain for 20 years. The only objections to it have been manufactured by big oil and their lackeys.
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?
@ AndyMeanie So the national Academies of Science of all the major scientific nations of the world, all the governmental climate research institutes and all the independent research bodies in this field are somehow blinding themselves to the scientific method in this one regard?

They all assert that the science supports the model of anthropogenic global warming, with carbon dioxide as the principal driver. The science of carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas has been with us for over a century, analysis of the carbon cycle shows that the increase in carbon dioxide matches that released by fossil fuel use, and is confirmed by isotope analysis, and the current trend of temperature increase has NOT been steady for the last 200 years! You can assert the contrary until you are blue in the face, but that does not alter the reality of the current science.
@ andyinsdca I'm sorry, but when you start making reference to climate "scientists", you simply discredit anything further you have to say.

On what basis do you suggest that there are not repeatable methodologies and objective third party reviews? Are you aware that the so-called climategate incident was investigated by five separate independents inquiries, and the scientists involved were all exonerated?


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