…are climate skeptics:
If the East Anglia scientists and their correspondents had never existed, there would still be plenty of evidence from other scientists suggesting a significant role for human-induced increases in atmospheric CO2 and temperature over the past century. Nevertheless, everyone involved needs to embrace the idea that all scientists are skeptics; that all scientific theories are open to doubt; and in particular that future projections of climate change are subject to considerable uncertainty. Furthermore, the economic and environmental impacts of warming are also uncertain, as are the costs of CO2 mitigation. When scientists hide these uncertainties, or simply don’t discuss them, they lose credibility. Climate scientists are clearly unable to “save the world” alone. But they are stewards of key data that are essential to shape wise policy. Their credibility is much more important than their political opinions.
That’s a point I made at PJM right after the story broke:
Many in the climate change community have condemned what they call “skeptics,” often to the point of declaring them de facto criminals and assigning them to the same category as Holocaust deniers. They tell us that “the science is settled” and that we should shut up. But every scientist worthy of the name should be a skeptic. Every theory should be subject to challenge on a scientific basis. Every claim of a model’s validity should be accompanied by the complete model and data set that supposedly validated it, so that it can be replicated. That is how science works. It is how it advances. And when the science is supposedly “settled” and they refuse to do so, it’s not unreasonable to wonder why.
And now we know why.
[Early afternoon update]
A conflict of interest at the American Physical Society? Say it ain’t so:
Hal Lewis, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara who has been an APS member for 65 years, says that he asked both the current and incoming APS presidents to require that Socolow recuse himself from a review of this subject, and both refused.
That means the review will be “chaired by a guy who is hip deep in conflicts of interest, running a million-dollar program that is utterly dependent on global warming funding,” Lewis says. In addition, he points out that the group charged with taking a second look at the 2007 statement, the Panel on Public Affairs, is the same body that drafted it in the first place. That, “too has a smell of people investigating themselves,” Lewis says.
The APS ethics policy that appears to apply to Socolow’s panel says “it is particularly desirable that members” be “free from real or perceived conflicts.” An APS ethics policy used when awarding prizes says that conflicts of interest can be resolved, depending on the circumstance, by “resignation of one or more members of the committee, withdrawal of a member from parts of the committee’s deliberations and voting.” And when involving the chairman: “Potential conflict of interest involving the chair of the selection committee is ipso facto a serious matter, and at the least another committee member should take over as chair.”
An APS spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday about how the group’s ethics policies apply and whether Socolow would be the chairman.
I can see why. This is depressing. Is the entire scientific community in this country corrupt? Is this what government funding has done? This could be the beginning of a civil war between those defending the status quo, and those who want to stand for scientific integrity.
And kudos to CBS’ Declan McCullagh for covering this.