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

That was beautiful, man.
Have you read and made any attempt to understand the posts that have been made in this discussion? It seems you reiterate points that have already been addressed with no regard for the counter-points and rebuttals made.

Do you actually have any concept of what the scientific method is?

You certainly have not read the critiques of Lindzen and Choi, or you would already be aware of why it is not relevant, and why it was a deeply flawed piece of research. The various pieces of research you have quoted have been looked at. They have, in some cases, been taken account of and incorporated into the models, where they have been found to be sound, but in many cases they have been shown to be flawed or of limited relevance.

No one is wrong because they "go against the grain", but neither are they right simply because they do so, a point you seem to have difficulty with. It is arrogant in the extreme to propose that their work has simply been ignored, and that, for some reason, all climate scientists abandon their objectivity in considering their work, whilst all opponents of mainstream climate science are virtuous mavericks, battling against unjust and misguided lesser scientists.

The debate is never completely over; that is the nature of science, and, hence, it is nonsense to suggest that we should do nothing until it is. You seem incapable of distinguishing between the pure science and the application of that science. In this context, science without application would be both ridiculous and immoral.

Once again you quote articles by a geologist and a geophysicist, not by climate scientists. Or is it that you think all climate scientists are corrupt, inept, biased, incompetent and misguided, whilst all other disciplines are unquestionable? Do you look to archaeologists to teach you about geology, or soil science? There are probably many papers out there questioning aspects of geology and geophysics, written by chemists and engineers, or whoever, but do we give them primacy over the qualified specialists when thay have been examined and found wanting?

You ascribe religious aspects to those accepting the evidence in support of the current scientific understanding of climate change, yet you yourself seem to have a blindness to that weight of evidence and expertise, embracing a minority, mostly lacking in relevant qualifications, assigning to them seemingly mystical levels of insight and discernment, apparently lacking in all those actually conducting the most relevant research. Does that not sound a little "religious" to you?

I suggest you go and study the real methodology of science, of scepticism, and of the evaluation and validation of source materials. You currently appear to be a contrarian, not a sceptic.

"I'm not sure how you think I don't know how science works. I'm the one saying that we need to let the science decide, not the one who can shout the loudest decides."

That is exactly what you are proposing! That the vocal minority be accorded unwarranted status against those with actual expertise and the greatest experience in the relevant field. It is the loud shouting of the minority position which has perpetuated this debate in its current form, and not genuine significant scientific uncertainty. And you demonstrate an exceedingly low opinion of the majority of scientists if you think they have been so easily fooled, duped, blinded or corrupted, that they can either overlook what is so obvious to you, or cynically ignore it for their own selfish ends. Whenever a conspiracy theory requires thousands of the most qualified people to be simultaneously completely stupid, or completely corrupt, and to be ignorant of their own field of expertise, then that should stop you dead in your tracks.

"As for the forestry people being involved in climate science. I'm sorry, but forestry management is NOT the same as climate science. Climate science involves almost every aspect of science. Forestry is managing trees, and ensuring that manmade limits and regulations are upheld. As for the veterinary society, and the preventative medicine people, sorry, nothing to do with climate science either. These were just a few from the list that have nothing to do with it."

Frankly, the above shows clearly that you pay no heed to what anyone else is attempting to explain to you, and reveals you to be blinkered in your outlook, the very fault you ascribe to everyone else! You were given reasonable explanation, and you choose to continue as if it were never written, as you have with many other answers to your questions. It is ironic that, contrary to your assertion above, you view geology, geophysics, astrophysics, engineering and mathematics as being equivalent expertise to climate science, when it suits you to do so. No-one asserted they were equivalent; it was explained to you why these institutes have conducted research in this field, due to its impacts on their own, giving them validity in endorsing the science.

It seems that it is pointless to continue this discussion with you. Science requires that when presented with valid evidence to the contrary that one alters one's position, which is what you claim you are advocating, and yet you do the opposite, preferring to continue along the same fallacious path, even when its error is pointed out to you. I'm afraid I, and others debating you, have seen all this before, and had these same arguments before, many times! Do you honestly believe you have raised anything new, which had been previously overlooked?
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.
Science is not done by consensus, right? How about the heliocentric theory of our solar system. How about round Earth theory? How about evolution? In all these cases, there are actual scientists who contest them and provide what some think it's evidence for alternative theories or against the "settled" ones. You may say that it's not real evidence, but do you know who are the only people who can know what is or isn't evidence regarding a certain field of science? Yes, the actual scientists, experts in those fields. They are the only one who know what should and shouldn't be considered evidence. So, in the end, we have the same situations in global warming, as well as the other mentioned theories. Most scientists say one is true, some say it's not. Therefore, they can't be settled, right. As long as we have scientists claiming that the Earth is flat, we can't possibly know, right?
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?



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