My comment on ethics in climate science, as a comment posted at Judith Curry’s excellent Climate Etc blog.
I’m late to the discussion, but here is my opinion on all this:
Scientists are typically passionate about their work. There is nothing wrong with this. In fact, I support that passion. They have a desire to fight for their work and should do so – tooth and nail, if need be.
Where it gets problematic is when a group of like minded scientists, who are all very passionate about their work, in essence collude and construct a process that locks out any reasonable challenge from occurring within the system they hold up as the main confirmation of work in their field, in this case, the IPCC. Then there is the blatant interference behind the scenes with the peer review process. They themselves may not even see any of this as problematic., as it is done for “the cause”. They know they are right.
The problem with “knowing you are right”, is that that often leads you blindly down paths you normally wouldn’t go. Think of all the people who have been caught doing questionable, if not illegal things, and it was justified because they thought that they were right in their actions. Ken Lay emphatically swore to his innocence up till the day he died because he “knew he was right”, that people lost money in Enron because of bad investment and dumb luck, and not anything he actually did or didn’t do. And then examine how that gets amplified when it is adopted by a group of individuals. The whole financial system is (and will always be) rife with this blindness.
Then there is the Penn State fiasco. McQueary thought he doing the right thing to go to father and Paterno instead of the police because he thought it was the right thing to do in the larger frame of mind of protecting the reputation of the University. The intense passion that drove so many involved to protect the University at all cost clouded their better judgement. I can’t say for sure, but I am willing to bet that somewhere along the line, someone involved with the cover up though something like “man, I think we’d better get the police involved in this horrible thing”, but turned that thought aside because there were already too many “good” people involve who might get into trouble for ignoring the 1998 incident. And then the process of information diversion was locked into place…. Until the dam burst and the walls came crashing down.
Now, certainly, any obfuscation that is occurring within the climate science community does not in any way equal the grotesque nature of the Penn State fiasco. However, the pattern of collusion is clear and must be face within the climate science community if they wish to earn back the trust of the majority of the general public.
It’s happened again; the release of climate scientists e-mails. Here is the best round-up so far.
On politics and climate science:
I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it
which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run.
I can’t overstate the HUGE amount of political interest in the project as a
message that the Government can give on climate change to help them tell their
story. They want the story to be a very strong one and don’t want to be made
to look foolish.
Verifying the Wegman report on the closed circle within climate science:
It seems that a few people have a very strong say, and no matter how much
talking goes on beforehand, the big decisions are made at the eleventh hour by
a select core group.
Getting people we know and trust [into IPCC] is vital – hence my comment about
the tornadoes group.
There shouldn’t be someone else at UEA with different views [from "recent
extreme weather is due to global warming"] – at least not a climatologist.
On the recent flap on the amount of warming in Antarctica
He’s skeptical that the warming is as great as we show in East Antarctica — he
thinks the “right” answer is more like our detrended results in the
supplementary text [which is much lower]. I cannot argue he is wrong.
Anyone else notice how much press unusual weather events and
global warming climate change climate disruption has been getting lately?
I agree with the importance of extreme events as foci for public and
governmental opinion [...] ‘climate change’ needs to be present in people’s
daily lives. They should be reminded that it is a continuously occurring and
And, finally, on those who don’t tow the party line:
The point is not that the scientists disagree among themselves but that they publicly proclaim from the rooftops that the science is settled and anyone who questions them is a bone-headed denier oil-lobby funded hooligan.
None of this means that global warming isn’t happening. However, it is important to show that the science of climate has become politicized, and the IPCC is more a political organization than a scientific one. Climate science, as a whole, is ruled more by politics than science.
There will of course be a lot more to this story. Stay tuned.
Oh, this doesn’t look good!
I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year “reconstruction”.
I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly cannot be defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the science move ahead.
[IPCC AR5 models] clearly, some tuning or very good luck involved. I doubt the modeling world will be able to get away with this much longer
Basic problem is that all models are wrong – not got enough middle and low level clouds.
I’ve been told that IPCC is above national FOI Acts. One way to cover yourself and all those working in AR5 would be to delete all emails at the end of the process
Once again, Jones advocating deletion of e-mails.
Here are a few other thoughts. From looking at Climate Audit every few days,these people are not doing what I would call academic research. Also from looking they will not stop with the data, but will continue to ask for the original unadjusted data (which we don’t have) and then move onto the software used to produce the gridded data sets (the ones we do release).
CRU is considered by the climate community as a data centre, but we don’t have any resources to undertake this work. Any work we have done in the past is done on the back of the research grants we get – and has to be well hidden. I’ve discussed this with the main funder (US Dept of Energy) in the past and they are happy about not releasing the original station data.
Got it? The Government, which is supposed to be in favor of the Freedom O Information statutes, is behind our backs scheming to keep this hidden! This isn’t top secret stuff here, it’s climate data. Why hide it?
Any always has to be spun as a underhanded plot funded by “Big Oil”. Example:
date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 12:03:05 -0400
from: “Michael E. Mann”
subject: Re: Something not to pass on
to: Phil Jones
I would not respond to this. They will misrepresent and take out of
context anything you give them. This is a set up. They will certainly
publish this, and will ignore any evidence to the contrary that you
provide. s They are going after Wei-Chyung because he’s U.S. and there
is a higher threshold for establishing libel. Nonetheless, he should
consider filing a defamation lawsuit, perhaps you too.
I have been talking w/ folks in the states about finding an
investigative journalist to investigate and expose McIntyre, and his
thusfar unexplored connections with fossil fuel interests.Perhaps the
same needs to be done w/ this Keenan guy.
I believe that the only way to stop these people is by exposing them and
Do you mind if I send this on to Gavin Schmidt (w/ a request to respect
the confidentiality with which you have provided it) for his additional
advice/thoughts? He usually has thoughtful insights wiith respect to
Mann is feverishly blocking FOIA and court ordered email releases from his time at the University of Virginia along with his current employment at Penn State. I wonder if the communications with private investigators is one of the things he’s trying to hide?.
I’m sure you agree–the Mann/Jones GRL paper was truly pathetic and should
never have been published. I don’t want to be associated with that 2000 year
Because how can we be critical of Crowley for throwing out 40-years in the
middle of his calibration, when we’re throwing out all post-1960 data ‘cos the
MXD has a non-temperature signal in it, and also all pre-1881 or pre-1871 data
‘cos the temperature data may have a non-temperature signal in it!
Now, you Keith complain about the way we introduced our result, while saying it
is an important one. [...] the IPCC curve needs to be improved according to
missing long-term declining trends/signals, which were removed (by
dendrochronologists!) before Mann merged the local records together. So, why
don’t you want to let the result into science?
I am afraid that Mike is defending something that increasingly can not be
defended. He is investing too much personal stuff in this and not letting the
science move ahead.
Here is one I find quite interesting.
I think he [Chris Landsea] has behaved irresponsibly and ought to be fired by NOAA for not have an open enough mind to even consider that climate change might be affecting hurricanes
Trenberth has, to date stated emphatically that hurricanes are becoming more intense due to global warming, even though there much debate over whether the storms are more intense and is no confirmed peer reviewed link to this phenomenon. Yet, he wants a fellow scientist fired because he is following what the actual science is saying. This attitude is why Landsea resigned from the IPCC.
BTW, here is what the latest science from hurricane experts says about hurricanes and global warming;
The new study refines the findings of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report of 2007, which put more weight on what, at the time, were new studies that showed the existence of detectable trends in storm intensity, particularly in the North Atlantic.
Given advances in scientific understanding and computer modeling since the IPCC report was prepared, the new study found that uncertainties in tropical cyclone observations are too large to conclude that there has already been a detectable increase in storm intensity, although they noted that several studies have found such trends in some areas.
Which was Landsea’s contention all along.
And, lastly, On Real Climate:
the important thing is to make sure they’re loosing the PR battle. That’s what
the site [Real Climate] is about.
Real Climate’s first goal is PR, not science, as so many are fond of believing.
This isn’t the first time I’ve come across this silliness. I’ve also seen the same applied to Victor Davis Hanson, and to Freeman Dyson. Why are they “dumb“? Because they have differing opinions on issues than liberals do, such as Hanson’s views on immigration and Dyson’s refusal to march lock-step with the sky-is-falling global warming crowd.
Note to the smug liberal crowd - Just because someone has differing views than you do, that doesn’t mean they are dumb! You simply have differing views on things. Period.
Oh, and I don’t think those who are pursuing this meme are dumb… I just think you’re stupid for being so idiotic!!!!!
A headline from Real Clear Politics:
OK. But then, they print exactly what Dianne Sawyer said:
DIANE SAWYER: “So does Gabby Giffords really want to go back to Washington? Back where she was once called ‘the most positive person in Congress.’
“Staying upbeat, even during the unsettling campaigns of 2010. When we all watched opposition sometimes become vitriol. After she voted for health care, she faced people in her district calling her a ‘traitor,’ booing her in town halls.
“Someone even fired a gun into her office door. And you may remember Sarah Palin targeted her district with an ad that had a gun sight on it.“
It’s clear what Sawyer said – “Sarah Palin targeted her district with an ad that had a gun sight on it”. Palin targeted her “DISTRICT”, which is accurate. Sawyer does not say Palin targeted Giffords.
File this under Journalism FAIL.
Oh No… We only have FIVE YEARS to save the Earth!!!!!
“If fossil fuel infrastructure is not rapidly changed, the world will ‘lose for ever’ the chance to avoid dangerous climate change”
The Sonic-Mate asks if they’ll shut up after that so we don’t have to listen to them anymore!
These kinds of deadlines are idiotic! This new one contradicts the IPCC’s previous irreversible one by three years.
From 1979 – Sea rise could be 18 – 25 feet if we stay on course! Of course we stayed on course but that didn’t come quite close to happening.
No ice at North Pole this summer. No no ice happened instead.
Even world renowned Climate expert Prince Charles gave us 18 months to save the world… And that deadline passed 22 months ago.
None of this means that AGW isn’t real. None of this means that the extra CO2 we do emit into the atmosphere has no effect on temps or climate. Consider this – CO2 levels have increased from 290ppm at the turn of the 20th century to today’s levels of about almost 400ppms, yet, somehow, NOW we only have five years before it’s too late? Why wasn’t it too late 50 ppm’s ago????? (which is more likely the case)
The more they issue these kinds of deadlines and then fail to meet them, the more idiotic they look.