Saturday, June 18, 2011
The fudging of climate "data" -- and, as importantly, the pronouncements of putatively objective agencies -- continues apace:
The credibility of climate change science took two more hits this week. The first occurred when it was revealed that a prominent Greenpeace activist Sven Teske had been a lead author of a recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change renewable energy report. The second happened when researchers at the University of Colorado admitted that they had included an unacknowledged "adjustment" in their sea level rise figures....
Mark Lynas, who is decidedly not a climate change denier*, has called foul on this conflict of interest. To illustrate the problem, Lynas invites readers to consider this scenario:An Exxon-Mobil employee – admittedly an energy specialist with an engineering background – serves as a lead author on an important IPCC report looking into the future of fossil fuels. The Exxon guy and his fellow lead authors assess a whole variety of literature, but select for special treatment four particular papers – one produced by Exxon-Mobil. This paper heralds great things for the future of fossil fuels, suggesting they can supply 80% of the world’s energy in 2050, and this headline is the first sentence of the ensuing IPCC press release, which is picked up and repeated uncritically the world’s media. Pleased, the Exxon employee issues a self-congratulatory press release boasting that his paper had been central to the IPCC effort, and urging the world’s governments to get on with opening up new areas to oil drilling for the benefit of us all.
Well. You can imagine the furore this would cause at Greenpeace. The IPCC would be discredited forever as an independent voice. There would be pious banner-drops by Greenpeace activists abseiling down Exxon HQ and harshly criticising the terrible stranglehold that fossil fuel interests had achieved over supposedly independent science. Campaigners everywhere would be up in arms. Greenpeace would feel doubly justified in taking direct action against new oil wells being opened up in the Arctic, and its activists could demonstrate new feats of gallantry and bravery as they took on the might of the world’s oil industry with some ropes and a rubber dinghy somewhere near Greenland.
How is the Exxon scenario different from what has just happened with the IPCC’s renewables report? And why – when confronted with this egregious conflict of interest and abuse of scientific independence – has the response of the world’s green campaigners been to circle the wagons and cry foul against the whistle-blowers themselves?
Read the whole thing. In there you will also see this:
[The statement in question] comes from an IPCC press release. The study on which the claim was made wasn't made public until a month later. By then the media had moved on, and the meme that renewables could solve climate change by 2050 launched.
There is no surer sign that a "scientific" study is actually propaganda than that the press release precedes the publication of the study, which forecloses confirmation of the claims of the release against the actual peer-reviewed study. It is, in effect, the implicit repudiation of the scientific method in the publication of scientific findings, and no respectable scientist should traffic in it. Instead, scientists should fight for the study and the data to be simultaneously available online so that we can vet the media coverage and the advocated policy prescriptions in real time.
I considered Anthropgenic Global Warming an entirely plausible theory. It is exactly the sort of unintended consequence we often see from widespread changes in technology.
I no longer consider the issue to be in my Top 40 to worry about. Its advocates have been too tolerant of dishonesty, and the general media has been too obviously eager to believe in the theory for reasons unrelated to the science.
I am happy to believe that many honest and qualified scientists believe climate change is real. I am simply notifying them that the burden of persuasion is now entirely on them, precisely because they have allowed these abuses and kept silent. If you want to convince people that your POV is correct, go for it. But you are starting in negative territory, and it is your own fault. You have accused everyone who has challenged you (sometimes specifically, usually with a blanket condemnation) of being the the pay of Big Oil. If you cannot see that this tactic is straight out of Animal Farm, you will never understand.
Note: If you choose to reply, try sneering and calling me stupid. That's worked so well in the past, y'know.