As the federal government has inserted itself into the sciences, the underlying principles of science research and conduct have been damaged. The conduct of science, the conduct of many scientists, and the standards of evidence in science, has declined over decades. It is not limited to the ongoing global warming scandal but certainly includes it.
As much as science and technology has benefited mankind enormously and helped bring freedom and prosperity to the Western world, it has its detractors. Why anyone would be opposed to that boggles the mind but they are out there and in places of high government and influence.
There have also been excellent examples of good science and how it should be practiced. One of the great examples was when Albert Einstein developed his special theory of Relativity. Although his extraordinary theory created great controversy, he welcomed criticism.
This is in stunning contrast to the behavior of the current army of global warming proponents where any criticism is unwelcome. This belligerence is but one indication suggesting that the “scientific theory of global warming” isn’t science, and isn’t the issue.
Furthermore Einstein went farther in the attempt to openly verify his theory by suggesting to others future experiments to prove or disprove his theory. This is unheard of today. His suggested experiments were extremely imaginative and eventually carried out, and actually affirmed his theory.
Einstein (and many others of those days) had a level of scientific humility which we all should expect from serious scientists. We should not expect or condone the meanness and arrogance seen from the global warmers. Their notion that their hypothesis is right and all others are wrong is not science. This conduct is typical of thugs and bullies and is hardly the behavior of serious science. Their hypotheses need to be tested as always. They should simply welcome the criticism and answer the many tough questions being raised.
More recent activities undertaken at a meeting of global warming experts was reported by one of the attendees, Dr. Roger Pielke. The values and attitudes expressed were stunning. Pielke reported at his website http://www.climatesci.org/">www.climatesci.org
([url=http://tinyurl.com/97arul) that a high level meeting of global warming experts had taken place on December 8, 2008. It was a planning meeting to discuss details of a more significant meeting to discuss the merits of establishing an Independent Climate Assessments of the International Panel on Climate Change.
Independent assessments have been lacking in the IPCC processes which have been sanctioned by US agencies such as the National Science Foundation (NSF), NOAA, and the National Research Council (NRC). The intended meeting was to be on the contribution of solar variability to the observed climate change, both regionally and globally. Pielke observes:
The relatively recent changes observed in the Earth’s climate have been attributed primarily to human activity: [IPCC AR4]. These include:
Increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases;
Global changes to land surface, such as deforestation; and
Increasing atmospheric concentrations of aerosols.”
Limiting these discussions to small man-made contributions to the climate, as many have noted, is simply not an adequate experimental strategy to better understand the climate, for the simple reason there are huge natural forces, such as the Sun, that affect the climate.
In order to understand the climate, it is essential to understand the contributions of the solar impacts such as irradiance, magnetic fields, and particle fluxes (and their variations) from the sun, sunspots, and their cumulative effects upon the variations of the cosmic ray fluxes as well. Other natural climatic forces, such as volcanic and tropospheric aerosols, also need to be better understood. Other human influences should be quantified too, such as land use changes and urbanization.
Furthermore, there is growing evidence that the climate system is also impacted by huge oceanic circulation systems. We need to quantify the climate impacts of ocean systems such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), and their responses to radiative forcings.
Also to have been discussed were the well known limits to the computer models which are the sources of so much of the controversy. As Pielke summarized “An array of results using various statistical analyses of observations suggests that deficiencies of the climate models may compromise their ability to simulate responses to small radiative forcings, such as by solar variability. It would have been prudent to resolve these limitations and understand the full range of climate forcing functions, and the magnitudes of the associated errors in their measurements.”
The meeting resulted in no attempt to establish any independent oversight/review function, which is crucial to good science. Some excellent recommendations were made but not accepted. These included:
1. Appoint scientists who do not have a significant vested interest in the outcome of the report
2. Report on regional modulation of solar forcing by such effects as land cover/land use changes and aerosols
Another attendee made these observations:
1. The evidence for a solar influence on the climate is becoming more robust;
2. Models do not do a good job at representing the solar influence;
3. The solar cycle should be used to improve model performance;
4. There is a need for an NRC review on this issue.
Other recommendations could have included:
5. Dr. Roy Spencer, a climatologist who did not attend, would have offered more improvements to such a review process (http://www.drroyspencer.com/
) ---more modeling efforts need to be directed at improving the understanding of both water vapor and clouds. Recent research now indicates that water vapor and clouds have negative (cooling) feedbacks. According to Spencer the “vast majority of climate researchers do not work on these feedbacks. A lot of people are doing the same thing wrong”.
These recommendations and conclusions are simple as well as crucially important. They go straight to the heart of the controversy and their resolution would help resolve much of it. And yet, the proposals for an NRC review meeting to address these important flaws were rejected.
Pielke observed from this meeting: “The reason, undoubtedly preordained before we even met on that Monday, is that a significant number of the members of the Committee were (and presumably still are) active participants of the IPCC assessment, as documented above. Thus, the intensity of the dismissive and negative comments by a number of the committee members, and from even several of the agency representatives, with respect to any view that differed from the IPCC orthodoxy, made abundantly clear, that there was no interest in vesting an assessment of climate to anyone but the IPCC. The IPCC is actually a relatively small group of individuals who are using the IPCC process to control what policymakers and the public learn about climate on multi-decadal time scales. This NRC planning process further demonstrates the intent of the IPCC members to manipulate the science, so that their viewpoints are the only ones that reach the policy makers.”
These are federal agencies basking in a reputation of being premier scientific organizations. Yet their behavior in the meeting and their complete deference to the flawed IPCC process, as reported by Pielke, are reminiscent of political thugs. The decline of scientific behavior from the times of Einstein has been horrendous, and unworthy of our trust and funding.
We expect the scientific humility and honest pursuit of truth as defined by Einstein. We don’t expect and don’t deserve the manipulation of science or the discarding of valid scientific criticisms, by a small cadre controlling these top organizations. Einstein (and many others) had welcomed criticism in the pursuit of the best science. These people from the IPCC, NRC, NSC, and NOAA heap scorn on it.
Pielke continues “If the NSF, NASA and the NRC are going to appoint and accept recommendations by groups with a clear conflict of interest to protect their turf [in this case the IPCC], they will be complicit in denying all of us a balanced presentation of the physical science basis of climate change, including the role that humans have”.
The implications are horrendous. The practice and disciplines of science appear to be corrupted in the highest ranking scientific organizations in the United States. Congressmen are typically unskilled in the sciences and do not know how to ask the hard questions about evidence, such as cause and effect, data quality, replicability, model validation, statistical significance, etc.
They expect all of these to be provided by the NRC, NAS, and the NSF as needed. We now find that they are involved with suppressing vital review processes on crucial energy and environmental policy. They apparently are doing so for unscientific motivations which may include personal gains and preferred energy outcomes, or other political agendas. This has the potential for immense damage to the United States and is extremely troubling.
If anyone still doubts that such people in our federal science agencies are less scientists than they are political promoters of a dangerous crippling energy agenda, this report by Pielke should be read and understood. The nation owes Dr. Pielke a huge amount of appreciation for his analysis, and for his courage.
President Obama would help our nation immensely as well as his own credibility, if he were to demand a serious review of the dubious science behind the global warming fiasco.
During scary times of exploding spending and national debt, we don’t need policies of costly CO2 mitigation measures, which are failing all over Europe. (http://tinyurl.com/8tomps
Michael R. Fox, Ph.D., is a nuclear scientist and a science and energy resource for Hawaii Reporter and a science analyst for the Grassroot Institute of Hawaii, is retired and now lives in Eastern Washington. He has nearly 40 years experience in the energy field.
He has also taught chemistry and energy at the University level. His interest in the communications of science has led to several communications awards, hundreds of speeches, and many appearances on television and talk shows.
He can be reached via email at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org