… in climategate …
The registers piece isn’t bad. Actually quite good.
Their thesis is “this sort of stuff happens when you get big money/politics following dubious claims, a cottage industry and group think evolve”. They note similar examples from other industries.
I am not saying I completely agree with their characterization, it sounds reasonable, but it is comparing somewhat dislike things with a similar metric.
The issue is the public policy (and money, influence, power, …) flow from the political class and could polute the underpinnings of the scientific class. Scientists need to be … fundamentally … scrupulously skeptical. When you have results that disagree with your theory, you never EVER bury them. You bring them out.
Paraphrasing Eric Raymond on this, with many eyes, many scientific mysteries will be solvable. Someone will help you figure out what happened, whether its a bug in your assumptions, your analysis, or, even more wonderful, something new that others haven’t seen before.
The issue is when public policy starts intruding on this, and politicians want answers to hard questions (that they themselves probably don’t understand, or even why they are asking).
So in this sense, I do agree with some of the elements of the registers analysis.
As I’ve said many times, not only isn’t the science settled, anyone claiming that it is has an agenda, and may be trying to sell you a bridge.
Reading over some of the excerpts? Yeah, looks like lots of bridges were sold. And lots of opposition research was asked for, lots of people smeared, etc. This is in a scientific discipline? Sad. Off a cliff is a valid way to describe it.
There may be some real true believers (Dr. Hansen at NASA/Columbia), but its pretty obvious that even the strong public defenders of AGW not only have doubts, but have spotted the same sorts of flaws that many others have seen.
There are some things that we know from the measured data sets. What we know, appears to be pretty consistent. It also appears, from these emails, to be unrelated to what they claim we know. This is sad.
The recent BEST paper, pushed hard by various groups with a specific agenda, and described by many of these with this particular agenda in terms that lead me to think that they all fall in one very tight grouping in terms of political bent (gee there’s that political bit again), especially the way they describe the funding sources … one of the lead authors on the paper was very highly critical of the circus around its “publication” via press release versus through peer review. She pointed out that the lead author dismissed specific concerns that she and others raised, that the data completely supports, and is corroborated by other studies from other authors, using different techniques. The statistical analysis of the raw data was ripped to shreds by a number of authors, pointing out very bad techniques that should never be used (and were used). Others still ripped on their conclusions.
What’s more interesting about that analysis more than anything else was that it illustrates what the register reported. When confronted with a moral hazard cliff, instead of stopping and making damn sure that everything is ok before continuing, they chose to toss out criticism from other authors, and hit the accelerator towards the edge. So now they have a paper that at least one of the lead authors no longer supports, with suspect data analysis, and significant reasonable criticism against their conclusions, being parroted by various news agencies and political groups as “driving a nail in the skeptics ideas coffin”, when, in reality, it does no such thing … and actually places the entire enterprise that it purports to support, at far greater risk due to weak analysis, reasoning, willful neglect of other data …
Yeah, this is indeed driving off a cliff.
Does the climate change? Hell yes. Its been doing it for the last 4+ billion years or so. Some of those changes are quite interesting. I love reading about the snowball earth evidence, when it is assumed that we had glaciation all the way down to the equator. Not sure how much evidence exists for this, but it is fascinating concept. We do know that there has been some significant oscillations during the last 100 million years. Very significant oscillations during the last million years. There appears to be orbital mechanical couplings to a number of events. Insolation (the sun’s incoming radiation), is certainly a major factor in this, but there are many other factors. And the sun doesn’t provide a constant amount of radiation. It changes over time as the sun moves along its lifetime in the main sequence.
So when people claim that AGW is the one, only, or even primary cause for something thats been happening since the formation of the planet, and certainly throughout its history, well before man emerged/evolved … yeah, it behooves us to approach this with truck loads of skepticism. They haven’t proven their case … well … prove is too strong a word … they haven’t given clear convincing evidence that their case may be considered an important signal in a class of important signals, never mind the principal component of a relevant set of signals. If they’ve caught anything, at the moment, it appears to be a natural phenomenon that has been happening since the planet was formed. I don’t really see any way to disambiguate such signals … the now widely discredited “hockey stick” not withstanding.
So, before we go tanking our global economy by forcing us to take Quixotic actions (and likely do more harm than good), lets simply take a step back, a deep breath, and think a bit.
And if you want to be disappointed in many of these movements leaders, simply follow the money. See who gets wealthy when we create exchanges for carbon offset credits. Yeah, you will see many familiar names in this.
Funny how that is. This is what happens when power and money politics find a willing partner in a science not as focused upon getting it right as getting more money. Yeah, this is sad.
As El Reg said, driving it off a cliff.