Concerned with statements made by current NASA officials that the science of climate change is settled and that it is now certain that man-made CO2 will result in catastrophic global warming, a group of former NASA scientists have formed a group to review the basis of such statements. Calling themselves the “Right Climate Stuff” team, they have begun inviting experts from both sides of the almost non-existent public debate concerning the human impact on global climate change to present their data and conclusions. But will they come?
The Right Climate Stuff (RCS) team’s objective is to review the data and computer models being used by the often alarmist proponents of man-made climate change as well as historical reconstructions relied upon by scientists questioning whether the human impact on climate is significant or insignificant compared with natural climate drivers. To date, a number of invitations have been sent and some preliminary reviews have been held.
As an unpaid volunteer group with no political agendas or current ties to the fossil fuel industry, the RCS team offers an excellent opportunity for the various groups or individuals to defend their positions and data on the impact of man-made CO2 on the climate. For scientists who have declared the science is settled now face flagging public support and trust, this will provide an opportunity to drive that point home before an objective interdisciplinary team of reputable scientists. For skeptical scientists, this evaluation process will offer a rare public opportunity to make their case in an objective forum.
It will be interesting to see which, if any, experts from the pro-manmade climate change camp accept the invitation to present to the RCS team. While skeptics have historically been quite willing to defend their positions in public venues, proponents of man-made climate change have avoided publicly defending their theories and remain content to publish their studies in science journals where their theories and data go unchallenged.
Since tens of thousands of scientists have now stepped forward to publicly declare their doubts about a major role for CO2 in causing catastrophic climate change and recent polls show support for climate change action declining, at some point scientists advocating man-made climate change are going to have to step forward and publicly defend their positions with hard data or risk losing the trust of the scientific community and the public.
But will they come? To date, two pro-man made climate change climatologists have appeared before the RCS team. One has since been invited to become a member, while the other abandoned his presentation in disgust that some on the RCS team did not automatically buy into his hypothesis. He withdrew to the friendlier audience of graduate students rather than face tough questions from experienced scientists.
The RCS reviews are not the first opportunity for scientists to present and defend their theories on climate change. Prior to the Seventh International Conference on Climate Change, the Heartland Institute, a think tank known to express skepticism of CO2 being the major cause of climate change, invited nearly 50 scientists primarily from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to attend, present their findings and defend their positions. Among the invitees were the Chair and 17 Coordinating Lead Authors and 12 Leading Authors of the IPCC, three current NASA scientists, ten NOAA scientists, five representatives of the National Academy of Science, one EPA scientist and one USGS scientist.
No one showed up! Scientists who declare the science is settled to a 90% certainty that man-made CO2 is the major driver of global warming should defend their theories with data before groups of scientists, including the RCS team. The policies these scientists advocate to curb man’s theoretical impact on the climate may ultimately cost nations trillions of dollars. They owe it to the public, policymakers and the greater scientific community to make the case for the soundness of their science.
About Leighton Steward
Leighton Steward is a geologist, environmentalist, author, and retired energy industry executive. He currently heads up the organization Plants Need CO2 to help educate the public and politicians about the benefits of CO2 as it relates to the plant and animal ecosystems.
Recipient of numerous environmental awards including the regional EPA Administrator’s Award for Environmental Excellence
The EPA and the US Corps of Engineers has adopted his proposals on achieving a “no net loss” of wetlands in the future
Author of Fire, Ice and Paradise on the many causes of global climate change
Chairman of the Board of The Institute for the Study of Earth and Man at SMU
Chairman of the National Wetlands Coalition
Two-time Chairman of the Audubon Nature Institute
Author of the #1 New York Times Bestseller Sugar Busters on nutrition and health