Some common sense from the Global Warming crowd? January 22, 2007Posted by Administrator in Cultural Pessimism, Global Warming, Idiots, Smart People.
Problem is, global warming may not have caused Hurricane Katrina, and last summer’s heat waves were equaled and, in many cases, surpassed by heat in the 1930s.
In their efforts to capture the public’s attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It’s probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.
“Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster,” says Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado.
Vranes, who is not considered a global warming skeptic by his peers, came to this conclusion after attending an American Geophysical Union meeting last month. Vranes says he detected “tension” among scientists, notably because projections of the future climate carry uncertainties — a point that hasn’t been fully communicated to the public.
For example, last summer, Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, told the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce: “I think we understand the mechanisms of CO2 and climate better than we do of what causes lung cancer. … In fact, it is fair to say that global warming may be the most carefully and fully studied scientific topic in human history.”
Vranes says, “When I hear things like that, I go crazy.”
And well he should.
But within the broad consensus are myriad questions about the details. How much of the recent warming has been caused by humans? Is the upswing in Atlantic hurricane activity due to global warming or natural variability? Are Antarctica’s ice sheets at risk for melting in the near future?
The first question of the previous paragraph is THE key question that keeps getting hidden in the general Chicken Little screeching.
To the public and policymakers, these details matter. It’s one thing to worry about summer temperatures becoming a few degrees warmer.
Other climate scientists, however, say there may be some tension as described by Vranes. One of them, Jeffrey Shaman, an assistant professor of atmospheric sciences at Oregon State University, says that unease exists primarily between younger researchers and older, more established scientists.Shaman says some junior scientists may feel uncomfortable when they see older scientists making claims about the future climate, but he’s not sure how widespread that sentiment may be. This kind of tension always has existed in academia, he adds, a system in which senior scientists hold some sway over the grants and research interests of graduate students and junior faculty members.
The question, he says, is whether it’s any worse in climate science.
And if it is worse? Would junior scientists feel compelled to mute their findings, out of concern for their careers, if the research contradicts the climate change consensus?
“I can understand how a scientist without tenure can feel the community pressures,” says environmental scientist Roger Pielke Jr., a colleague of Vranes’ at the University of Colorado.
Pielke says he has felt pressure from his peers: A prominent scientist angrily accused him of being a skeptic, and a scientific journal editor asked him to “dampen” the message of a peer-reviewed paper to derail skeptics and business interests.
BINGO!!!!!! RIGHT THERE!!!!!
(Snip) Pielke says, “But if we oversell the science, our credibility is at stake.”
No duh. Credibility has been at stake for some time now.
Meanwhile, Bjorn Lomborg of the excellent Skeptical Environmentalist questions why Al Gore begged out of a televised debate between Gore and Lomborg.
Al Gore is traveling around the world telling us how we must fundamentally change our civilization due to the threat of global warming. Last week he was in Denmark to disseminate this message. But if we are to embark on the costliest political project ever, maybe we should make sure it rests on solid ground. It should be based on the best facts, not just the convenient ones. This was the background for the biggest Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten, to set up an investigative interview with Mr. Gore. And for this, the paper thought it would be obvious to team up with Bjorn Lomborg, author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist,” who has provided one of the clearest counterpoints to Mr. Gore’s tune.
The interview had been scheduled for months. The day before the interview Mr. Gore’s agent thought Gore-meets-Lomborg would be great. Yet an hour later, he came back to tell us that Bjorn Lomborg should be excluded from the interview because he’s been very critical of Mr. Gore’s message about global warming and has questioned Mr. Gore’s evenhandedness. According to the agent, Mr. Gore only wanted to have questions about his book and documentary, and only asked by a reporter. These conditions were immediately accepted by Jyllands-Posten. Yet an hour later we received an email from the agent saying that the interview was now cancelled. What happened?
One can only speculate.
As in, we can speculate that Gore is a coward.
No surprise there,
HT to Mark Shea for the original links.