Meet ‘One of the World’s Foremost Climate Scientists’

January 25, 2013 at 1:33 pm

Andrew Weaver: climate modeler, Green Party deputy leader, Greenpeace promoter.

Andrew Weaver is a climate modeler. Which means he spends his time messing about with computers. His “research” takes place in a virtual, imaginary, speculative world. Decades or centuries from now his climate predictions may turn out to be correct. Or they may be forgotten because they were spectacularly wrong.

What’s important is that, at this moment in history,

Andrew Weaver is one of the world’s foremost climate scientists and a leading expert on global warming…He is Canada Research Chair in climate modeling and analysis at the University of Victoria, and has authored or coauthored nearly two hundred peer-reviewed studies in climate, earth science, policy, and education journals. He was chief editor of the Journal of Climate from 2005-2009. [backed up here]

Those lines are from his bio at the Lavin Agency, which helps Weaver acquire paid speaking gigs. That bio twice mentions his involvement with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) – and that the IPCC won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

So, to sum up, Weaver is:

  • a “foremost climate scientist”
  • “a leading expert on global warming”
  • the author of nearly 200 scholarly papers
  • an IPCC author
  • a former chief editor of a respected scientific publication called the Journal of Climate
  • linked to a Nobel Peace Prize

In other words, he sounds utterly eminent, respectable, authoritative, and trustworthy.

But as fellow blogger Hilary Ostrov has been writing recently, if you peer the slightest bit beneath the surface you discover that this “foremost climate scientist” has strong political views that call his scientific objectivity into question.

Much of Weaver’s professional life involves interpretation and judgment. If that judgment is coloured by an activist worldview the uncomfortable conclusion is that the journal he used to edit may have been making biased decisions when it decided which research deserved a place in the peer-reviewed scientific literature, and which research should never see the light of day.

While we might wish otherwise, Weaver is not the sort of scientist who stays above the fray, who leaves politics to the politicians. Rather he is, himself, an overt political actor. At the moment he is deputy leader of British Columbia’s Green Party. Ostrov’s post here includes a Twitter screen capture of Weaver, last October, accepting that position and telling the world how honoured he is.

Earlier this week, Ostrov penned a post about Weaver titled IPCC Lead Author is Greenpeace PR Agent? pointing out that he recently promoted a new Greenpeace publication via Twitter.

With the oh-so-understated title, Point of No Return: The massive climate threats we must avoid, this publication talks about an “unfolding global disaster” and “catastrophic climate change.” It warns of “untold human suffering” and “the deaths of tens of millions.” That’s just on page one of the executive summary.

On the following page, Greenpeace tell us that:

climate scientists are increasingly linking alarming extreme weather events to climate change.

What proof does it offer? A peek at endnote #9 reveals a reference to a single newspaper opinion piece written by the notorious drama queen James Hansen. Unlike environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. – who says the exact opposite – Hansen has no natural disaster extreme weather expertise.

Greenpeace then tells us that:

These extreme weather events include Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, droughts in the US in 2012 and 2011, heat waves and forest fires in Russia in 2010, and the European heat wave in 2003 that killed tens of thousands.

Endnotes #10 to #14 reveal that Greenpeace is basing these claims on four newspaper articles, a “news briefing” published in Nature, and a journal article that discusses heatwave deaths. In other words, these sources merely establish that bad things have happened. They do not begin to provide scientific evidence that such events are the result of human-induced climate change.

Nevertheless, believing that a sheaf of news clippings equals a persuasive scientific argument, Greenpeace concludes that:

The disasters the world is experiencing now are…just a taste of our future if greenhouse gas emissions continue to balloon.

This is scaremongering, plain and simple.

So why is “one of the world’s foremost climate scientists” and “a leading expert on global warming” promoting it? Can he not tell the difference between solid data and green propaganda?

But perhaps we should give the man a break. A few months ago, the Lavin Agency bio claimed that Weaver was a “Co-winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.” Here’s a screencap I included in a blog post last October.

Weaver has since been demoted. The IPCC has issued a statement saying it’s improper for any of its personnel to describe themselves as Nobel laureates. In response, Weaver’s bio now claims he’s a “Member of Nobel Peace Prize-winning Panel.”

weaver_nobel2

screencap made today; click to enlarge

Unfortunately that, too, is erroneous. Countries are members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Individuals are not.

Read Ostrov’s latest blog post on Andrew Weaver here.

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Entry filed under: activist scientists, Greenpeace, IPCC, peer-review. Tags: , , , , , , , .

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