Weatherdem's Weblog

Bridging climate science, citizens, and policy

U.N. Climate Panel Under Review: A Good Thing

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Climate change denialists have searched high and low for any shred of evidence they think proves their ideologically-driven conclusions.  Despite all the evidence of climate change effects that have already occurred, they continue to pound away on subject matter they usually don’t understand, mostly because they don’t want to.  Denialists were filled with glee when someone illegally hacked computer servers in England and took every opportunity to take email contents out of context to “prove” the conspiracy theories they breathlessly discuss were found to be true.  When a date in a climate change effects section of the 2007 IPCC report was found to have a typo: 2035 instead of 2350, denialists again pounced, trying to convince the world that the conspiracy was again proven to exist and all of the science that went into the report was nothing but garbage.

Unlike the denialists, climatologists and policy makers are more than willing to examine their methodologies for ways to improve them.  This includes reviewing the way the IPCC does its job.  Nobody ever claimed the IPCC’s efforts were flawless, yet this is the standard that denialists want to hold them to.  The scientists who volunteer their time for the IPCC welcome the review, as they should.  The review will be issued by the end of August.

Some reactions:

“The idea sounds fine. I hope people like me have input. Otherwise it’s just the usual members of the establishment defending to themselves what’s been done,” said researcher John Christy of the University of Alabama, Huntsville, a prominent IPCC critic and warming skeptic.

Prominent mainstream climate scientist Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research said “climate science has become a political hot potato.” He said the reviewers should not just look at the IPCC but the standards of its critics.

Just because you have an opinion on a topic doesn’t mean that opinion should be part of a scientific process review.  Unless of course Mr. Christy is suggesting that the Wall St Journal and Fox News should undergo a journalistic process review which includes viewpoints from progressives.  Opinions aren’t facts, Mr. Christy.

Mr. Trenberth makes an excellent point which I haven’t heard before: what standards do the critics adhere to?  What transparent process is in place for those who understand the threat that catastrophic climate changes poses for the planet to identify the funding mechanisms and personnel involved in the denialist fringe?  I think once the deniers have opened their ledgers and we can all know for certain who is involved in pushing disinformation and lies to the public, climate scientists can be held to the higher standard that denialists are refusing to hold themselves to.  Hypocrisy doesn’t begin to describe their behavior otherwise.

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