The WWF: Still Donning the Science Costume

Why doesn’t the World Wildlife Fund argue for its vision based solely on that vision’s merits?

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) has submitted written evidence to the UK House of Commons committee examining the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). In the first sentence of that document, it calls itself “a science-based conservation organization.”

The WWF can be described in many ways:

  • as a wealthy, multi-national non-profit organization
  • an influential pressure group
  • a collection of professional lobbyists, marketing geniuses, and fundraising wizards
  • a political force to be reckoned with

The people who work for the WWF don’t sell products – they sell ideas. They spend all day, every day, advocating a particular philosophy – a worldview regarding the relationship between Nature and humanity. They admit they want to change “the way we think.”

The WWF has goals and a “vision.” It thinks the entire world needs a new, “low carbon” economy. And not just any low carbon economy – it’s demanding an equitable one on a particular timetable.

These unelected, unaccountable individuals also insist that:

All efforts should be undertaken to keep warming of global average temperature below 1.5°C (compared to 1850).

Please note that this is lower than the 2°C we usually hear about. Goals, timetables, numbers plucked from the air. That’s what the WWF is really about.

Scientific organizations don’t view pre-schoolers as a funding mechanism. Yet WWF-Canada has raised $175,000 via the birthday celebrations of “young environmentalists.” Its website advises parents that

Contributing to WWF-Canada will help your child understand the value of a sustainable future for many generations to come.

Because, you know, the average six-year-old has the capacity to care deeply about “generations to come.”

In its submission to the UK parliament, the WWF says the “international process” by which the IPCC writes its mammoth reports is also “science-based.” It mentions “scientific knowledge” (twice), and talks about there being a “scientific foundation” for “the urgent decarbonisation of the global economy.” All of this occurs in the first paragraph alone.

But here’s the problem. Anyone can say their position is based on science. In Animal Farm, George Orwell’s 1945 novel, the other animals are told that the milk and apples must be reserved for the (ruling elite) pigs since it “has been proved by Science that they “contain substances absolutely necessary to the well-being of a pig.” Everyone else gets to eat slop.

In other words, among those with undemocratic, totalitarian tendencies, “science” can be used to justify and excuse anything.

Making matters even more complicated, as Roger Pielke Jr. observed in his 2007 book, The Honest Broker,

The scientific enterprise is diverse enough to offer information that can be used to support a diversity of perspectives on just about any subject…

If nearly anyone can truthfully point to some scientific research to support their arguments, it’s rather meaningless to imply that the WWF should be listened to because it is a “science-based” organization.

Why, then does it continue to don this scientific costume? Why doesn’t it argue for its vision based solely on that vision’s merits?

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A Normal Day in Climate Science

Don’t believe everything you read – especially about the supposed link between global warming and natural disasters.

bloomberg_stupid

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a post-tropical-storm-Sandy, pre-US-election cover story that cites the then-as-yet-unpublished Munich Re study – dated Nov 1, 2012

Environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. wrote a superlative blog post yesterday. This is how it ends:

Misleading public claims. An over-hyped press release. A paper which neglects to include materially relevant and contradictory information central to its core argument. All in all, just a normal day in climate science!

Those of us who take the trouble to delve into the bewildering world of climate change soon discover a wheelbarrow full of questionable practices and sloppy research. That doesn’t invalidate the entire field, but it does give one tremendous pause.

If I thought the fate of the planet hinged on the work I was doing, I’d be bending over backward to meet the highest standards possible. I’d triple-check my math. I’d use widely recognized procedures – rather than making up new ones. I’d  dot every ‘I’ and cross every ‘T’.

But as Pielke says, quite the opposite seems to be the norm in climate science. His post is about a practice called science-by-press-release. Last October, the reinsurance company Munich Re issued a press release that said its researchers had found evidence of a “climate-change footprint” in the financial losses associated with natural disasters.

Media outlets such as USA Today wrote up the story. Joe Romm, over at his ClimateProgress blog declared it a “seminal” piece of research and fell for its conclusions hook, line, and sinker. So did Theo Spencer, a senior staffer with the Natural Resources Defense Council.

You’d think that people claiming to have found evidence no one else has yet managed to locate would back up their claim with hard data. You’d think they’d submit the paper to an academic journal, navigate the peer-review process, and then announce their findings. But this was just another case of “trust us.”

According to Pielke, the study wasn’t readily available for outsiders to examine at the time the press release appeared. To this day, only the 12-page executive summary can be accessed on Munich Re’s website. The final page of that summary advises that the full 274-page document “was produced exclusively for clients of Munich Re” and therefore can’t be viewed by the general public.

A news story three months later reported that Munich Re’s researchers had, in fact, “submitted a paper” to a journal. That paper has now been published and Munich Re has issued a second press release.

In Pielke’s words:

As one looks a little bit closer at the public representations made by Munich Re about the paper and the paper itself, one quickly finds –  as is all too common in climate science – that the strong public claims simply cannot be supported by the actual research, and the paper suffers from an obvious fatal error.

…The paper says nothing conclusive about attribution. It is not an “initial climate change footprint.”…In fact, the paper says much the opposite: attribution of losses to climate change was not achieved in the paper. [bolded added, link in original]

Pielke says the published paper fails in three significant ways. But the public is unlikely to hear about that. As he observed in a piece he wrote for the Denver Post last October, we are instead being fed a steady diet of climate misinformation.

Corporations such as Munich Re, activists such as Romm and Spencer, and sensation-seeking journalists are all to blame (see this Huffington Post piece and this Bloomberg Businessweek cover story).

The fact that Munich Re’s research hadn’t yet been published and wasn’t available for examination didn’t prevent the media from trumpeting its results.

Yet when a fully peer-reviewed study by Pielke and colleagues was published demonstrating that the financial damage associated with US tornadoes has actually declined since 1950, the media wasn’t interested. In Pielke’s words, there was “a complete blackout of coverage.”

Here’s a bit more from Pielke’s October op-ed:

Along with colleagues around the world, I’ve been studying climate change and disasters for almost 20 years…What we found may surprise you: Over the past six decades, tornado damage has declined after accounting for development that has put more property into harm’s way.

Researchers have similar conclusions for other phenomena around the world, ranging from typhoons in China, bushfires in Australia, and windstorms in Europe. After adjusting for patterns of development, over the long-term there is no climate change signal — no “footprint” — of increasing damage from extreme events either globally or in particular regions.

What about the United States? Flooding has not increased over the past century, nor have landfalling hurricanes. Remarkably, the U.S. is currently experiencing the longest-ever recorded period with no strikes of a Category 3 or stronger hurricane. The major 2012 drought obscures the fact that the U.S. has seen a decline in drought over the past century. [bold added]

In other words, the sky is not falling. And it’s actually the editors of Bloomberg Businessweek that deserve to be called stupid.

More than ever, it isn’t a good idea to believe everything you read. Not about climate change. Not about natural disasters. And certainly not about a supposed link between the two of them.

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Watch the Al Gore Machine Manufacture Scientific ‘Facts’

Are climate change ‘facts’ so hard to come by that a not-yet-finalized draft report is considered evidence?

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A few days ago, the website of Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project ran the following headline: The Facts: How Climate Change is Affecting America.

Below it is a news item talking up the draft of a US government document that has attracted severe criticism. Last month my piece, Authors of ‘Extreme Misrepresentation’, drew attention to Roger Pielke Jr’s harsh assessment of this document. In his words, its authors

must have gone to some effort to mischaracterize [the science relating to climate change and natural disasters] by 180 degrees.

For my part, I pointed out that eight of the 13 most senior people responsible for writing it are linked to green activist groups. In other words, they aren’t the sort of dispassionate, beyond-reproach experts in whose judgment we can place our faith. Rather, they appear to be a collection of individuals who are predisposed to jump to alarming conclusions.

But let me repeat: this is a draft. Even the Internet URL of this 1,146-page document says it’s a “public review draft”:

http://ncadac.globalchange.gov/download/NCAJan11-2013-publicreviewdraft-fulldraft.pdf

One circulates a draft so that other people will read it and help you identify errors. Only when those errors are corrected and the final version of the document has been released should anyone point to it as a trustworthy source of information.

But the activists over at the Climate Reality Project have jumped the gun. There must be way too much money and far too many people on the payroll over there, because they’ve actually gone to the trouble of producing nine – count ‘em – “Fact Sheets” about what this draft says. Point number one on the Alaska fact sheet reads:

Climate change is happening now, and is primarily caused by carbon pollution from fossil fuels like coal, oil, and gas. How much the climate changes in the future is up to us.

“Fact Sheets” based on a draft document that is months away from being finalized. “Fact Sheets” produced by people who believe that we puny humans – who remain incapable of predicting either earthquakes or volcanoes – actually have the power to determine how the climate behaves.

This is the process by which the Al Gore machine manufactures scientific “facts.”

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Authors of ‘Extreme Misrepresentation’

A majority of the 13 senior scientists responsible for a US government report are also associated with activist groups. (Eight of them have an IPCC connection.)

Environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. recently accused the US Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) of “extreme misrepresentation.”

A recently released 1,149-page draft report prepared by the USGCRP says that US flooding is now worse due to human-caused climate change. In Pielke’s view, the scientists who wrote that report are “playing games” since no scientific evidence supports this conclusion. In his words, this draft report:

is well out of step with the scientific literature, including the very literature it cites…

…Given the strength of the science on this subject, the USGCRP must have gone to some effort to mischaracterize it by 180 degrees. In areas where I have expertise, the flood example presented here is not unique in the report (e.g., Hurricane Sandy is mentioned 31 times).

…just because the report is erroroneous [sic] in areas where I have expertise does not mean that it is incorrect in other conclusions. However, given the problematic…treatment of extremes in earlier IPCC and US government reports, I’d think that the science community would have its act together by now… [bold added]

As Pielke acerbically notes:

a four-year effort by the nation’s top scientists should be expected to produce a public draft report of much higher quality than this.

So who created this flawed document? Its first page tells us that a “60-person Federal Advisory Committee” oversaw “the development of this report.” The names of the committee members are then listed.

So let’s take a cursory look at its 13 most senior people. First up is the chairman, biologist Jerry Melillo. According to an online bio, he “has had a long association with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”

The USGCRP website tells us that, of the two vice-chairs, economics professor Gary Yohe “is a senior member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” (Strictly speaking, the only members of the IPCC are countries – not individuals. But never mind.)

On the USGCRP’s executive secretariat we find more IPCC personnel:

  • James Buizer, whose academic bio highlights his association with the IPCC
  • Sharon Hays, who “led the U.S. delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change” in 2007
  • Thomas Karl, who “has been a lead author on several IPCC Assessments”
  • Susanne Moser, who has served the IPCC in a number of capacities
  • Richard Moss, “a long-term member” of the the IPCC
  • Donald Wuebbles, whose academic bio tells us he “shares in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for his work with the international Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change”

Eight of the top 13 people responsible for the USGCRP report, therefore, are also associated with the IPCC. Which begs the question: If, in one instance, they are ignoring the scientific literature and “playing games,” how do we know they haven’t done the same while working on IPCC reports?

Paradoxically, Pielke points out that the IPCC appears to have learned a few things with respect to natural disasters. He says its most recent documents acknowledge the absence of any conclusive evidence linking flooding to climate change.

One would think that, because these USGCRP personnel know all about the IPCC, they’d have little excuse for continuing to claim the opposite. Unless we get horrendously cynical and remember that once something is stated as a fact in a US government report, the door is then open for the IPCC to later cite it as hard evidence (chapter 28 of my book explains that this has, in fact, happened).

But there’s another reason to be concerned about USGCRP’s most senior brass. Rather than being impartial and disinterested, a majority of them are also linked to activist organizations.

Vice-chair Gary Yohe is part of a World Wildlife Fund (WWF) panel. Richard Moss used to be employed as a WWF vice president.

James Buizer is on the board of directors of Second Nature, which thinks the taxpayer-funded college system should serve a purpose that was never intended. To quote its website:

Second Nature’s mission is to create a sustainable society by transforming higher education.

And then there’s the Union of Concerned Scientists. Rather than being limited to those with scientific credentials, membership in that US-based lobby group is open to anyone with a credit card.

As environmental writer Mark Lynas observed recently, this is “one of the most ideological of all the green groups.” In his view, scientists who work for that organization “leave their credentials at the door.”

How distressing, therefore, to learn that Susanne Moser is a former staff scientist for the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Andrew Rosenberg (who appears to have no IPCC connection), became an employee of the Union of Concerned Scientists in July 2012. The USGCRP website tells us he is also a senior vice president of Conservation International – which talks about changing the world’s dominant “economic model.”

Donald Wuebbles has been writing reports for the Union of Concerned Scientists for at least a decade. His name can be found among the authors of its 2003 Confronting Climate Change in the Great Lakes Region publication, as well as a 2005 update.

For the icing on the cake, it turns out that the Advisory Group chairman himself, Jerry Melillo, also has a relationship with the Union of Concerned Scientists. It dates back to at least 2003, when he served on one of its committees (see the last page of this PDF).

So if we look at the top 13 people producing a high-level scientific report for the US government we find that eight of them have a close connection to the IPCC – and seven of them have publicly-documented links to activist organizations.

Inspires confidence all round, don’t you think?

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US Official: ‘Activate Your Science’

A senior public servant thinks scientists should be passionate, engaged activists.

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A few weeks ago an official based in Washington, DC touched down in Australia – 16,000 kilometers distant. She then traveled another 2,400 kilometers north to an out-of-the-way city named Cairns. With the Great Barrier Reef as a backdrop, she proceeded to deliver one of the scariest speeches ever.

The official’s name is Jane Lubchenco. As the Under Secretary of Commerce for the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), this woman heads a monstrous organization that spends $4 billion worth of taxpayers’ money each year.

In other circumstances, I might be inspired by Lubchenco. She has a high-powered position in the reportedly excessively macho Obama administration. Moreover, her paternal grandfather (like my maternal grandparents) emigrated to North America from the Ukraine.

Instead, I’m appalled by the influence this woman now wields over a field I once respected and admired – science.

Lubchenco’s opening, keynote address was delivered on July 9th. You can read the entire text on the NOAA’s website here (backup link here). She is one of those people who – despite the fact that she left the laboratory far behind in order to become a political wheeler-and-dealer – never misses an opportunity to remind us that she’s a scientist. This strikes me as analogous to a nun who, despite abandoning the convent, wants us to imagine that she’s magically insulated from the usual temptations in her new role as a politician.

Lubchenco had barely begun her speech when her political persona emerged. There it is in paragraph three, after her brief introductory remarks. What’s the first thing she says?

The world, its coral reefs and the millions of people that depend upon them need more bold actionaction that is science-and ecosystem-based, action that is embraced locally and nationally, action that values tomorrow as well as today. And we need bold science – science that is use-inspired: i. e., it is cutting-edge but relevant and focused on solutions. [emphasis added]

In an address to “fellow scientists” Lubchenco didn’t emphasize the need for a careful, cautious, scholarly approach. She didn’t remind her colleagues that the only reason taxpayers are prepared to fund scientific research is because we have an expectation that it is being conducted in a disinterested and even-handed manner.

She didn’t acknowledge, as Roger Pielke Jr. does in his book, The Honest Broker, that the public will be far less respectful of science if we start to feel it’s being used to manipulate us:

If the public or policy-makers begin to believe that scientific findings are simply an extension of a scientist’s political beliefs, then scientific information will play an increasingly diminishing role in policy-making. [see page 95]

Instead, Lubchenco told her colleagues that the world needs action. She may have included the word science three times in those two sentences, but the word action appears even more frequently.

Her speech goes on to describe coral reefs as “Eden beneath the waves.” That’s hardly the sort of language one expects from a scientist.

Let us not forget that in the so-called Eden that is the Great Barrier Reef, thousands of living creatures meet their earthly demise every day when they are devoured by other living creatures. Humans snorkeling in the area have been maimed by sharks. The reef, like any other part of nature, deserves respect. Lubchenco instead chooses to romanticize it.

She then cites data compiled not by a respectable scientific body but by the activist World Resources Institute (WRI). In her words:

This map, prepared by the World Resources Institute in 2011, depicts the social and economic dependence of 81 countries, 21 island territories and six subnational regions on coral reefs.

On the board of directors of the WRI we find Al Gore – as well as the president of another activist body, the Natural Resources Defense Council. The WRI’s climate program is currently being run by Jennifer Morgan, who used to be the chief climate change spokesperson for a third bastion of green activism  – the World Wildlife Fund.

In other words, the WRI is a highly politicized, highly suspect source of information. It is a lobby group with an agenda a mile wide (in the UK, the media uses the term pressure group to describe such organizations). The WRI is chock full of activists often equipped with minimal scientific training – according to the Washington Post, Gore received a C+ and a D in the natural science courses he took in college.

This is the authority on which Lubchenco chose to rely. In a major speech delivered in a foreign country she anchored her remarks to a map that was produced by an activist organization rather than a scientific one. In doing so, she signaled to her fellow scientists that it is OK to rely on activist-produced material.

Next Lubchenco argued that, “most of all” (my emphasis), the preservation of coral reefs “is about our collective commitment to one another, to the rest of life on the planet and to our future.”

That is not how a hard scientist talks. Whatever obligations we might have toward the future and to one another are a matter of philosophical and political debate. Lubchenco the scientist – and Lubchenco the US politician – should not imagine that her personal opinions in this regard are necessarily shared by the rest of us.

Soon after comes the overt moralizing:

Healthy reefs are more than the lifeline for local communities; healthy coral reefs are a moral imperative for the global community. [bold added]

In which college science courses did Lubchenco receive training in morality? Why does she believe that scientists are remotely equipped to make public declarations about moral imperatives? But it gets worse:

Scientists – YOU and I ! —  with our knowledge of the threats, consequences, and likelihood success of options for solutions, have a particular responsibility to share our findings broadly, develop useful and useable decision-support tools, team up with local communities and industry partners, and help craft practical solutions.

Your knowledge and your passion are sorely needed.  [bold added]

Excuse me, but the last thing I want from any scientist worthy of the name is passion. What I expect and deserve is the exact opposite – dispassion. I want scientists to go where the data takes them. Period.

This isn’t complicated. People who think passion is part of their job description are not scientists. Instead, they are using the good name of science to covertly advance another agenda. This practically defines unscientific behaviour.

Toward the end of her speech, Lubchenco declares:

Science does not tell society what to do, but it should give them the information, tools, understanding of trade-offs of different consequences that facilitate smart decision-making. [bold added]

That’s right. The job of scientists is to provide data and then to stand back and let the rest of us take part in a wide-ranging debate about the strengths and weaknesses of that data – and about how best to respond. It is not the proper role of a scientist to micro-manage the ensuing debate, to lead it in certain directions, or to frame it in subjective terms.

So what in heaven’s name does Lubchenco mean, a few paragraphs later, when she mentions “taking science to action,” when she tells her colleagues they shouldn’t be complacent, that “the urgency is real” and that they must be willing “to engage in a sustained fashion”?

What does she mean when she declares:

We need bold science and bold action…Each of you here can influence the rate of response by activating your science…I invite you to do more than create new knowledge. Share it! Put it to use with partners and a sustained engagement. In short, activate your science. [bold added]

Activate your science. Great.

America built the world’s most powerful economy on the back of hard-nosed, no-nonsense science and technology. And now one of its most senior officials is advising fellow scientists to abandon everything real science stands for. She wants them to be passionate, engaged activists.

If Lubchenco is arguing for some totally new approach to scientific inquiry that is separate and distinct from both the old scientific method and crass activism it certainly isn’t evident to this reader. Her 4,000-word speech contains no warnings about the dangers of full-fledged activism. She voices no concern about how activism betrays the public’s trust. Her speech issues no warnings about the good name of science being foolishly squandered by people who imagine that they are advancing a higher moral imperative.

In Lubchenco’s universe there is apparently no danger of scientists going overboard, of unconsciously biasing their research. She seems to think that earning a scientific degree somehow transforms individuals into infallible beings who will never fall victim to self-delusion, whose judgment will always be impeccable.

Activate your science. That was her advice.

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Keeping the ‘No Pressure’ Video Alive

It’s no longer easy to locate the splattergate video on YouTube.

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A year-and-a-half ago a high-profile, UK-based green group released a video that was intended to be shown in cinemas prior to the main attraction. Titled No Pressure, it featured people – including school children – being summarily executed. Exploded, in fact, in a shower of blood and gore. Their crime? They’d expressed insufficient enthusiasm for reducing their carbon footprint.

While the creators of this film apparently thought they were being funny, others were horrified. In the words of Jeffrey Goldberg at The Atlantic magazine, the video was “a complete catastrophe for environmentalism.” Australian blogger Joanne Nova called it the ‘marketing disaster of the century.’ Environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. described it as “the worst climate PR stunt ever.”

Most of us who viewed this video had no trouble figuring out that people who regard four-minute massacres as helpful to their cause are downright scary. Such people should be kept far away from any positions of power.

Unfortunately, much of the media declined to report on this video. Six weeks after the fact, I could find only two instances of it even being mentioned in Canadian newspapers. One was in the business section of the National Post. The other was in a small local paper.

These days it’s getting harder to find this video. If you attempt to view it via my older blog posts (or via the ethically challenged coverage over at the Guardian) this is what you see after clicking the Play button:

The account of the person who’d reposted it has been terminated. Allegedly, there were multiple copyright infringement issues.

But what happens if you simply search for “No Pressure” – keeping in mind that many young people now use YouTube as their substitute Google? The list of results includes annoyingly annotated versions of the video (see here and here) – and those that incorporate bits and pieces from it (for example, here).

If you use the search term “10:10″ – the name of the 10-percent-per-year C02 reduction campaign with which this video is associated – the same thing happens.

After a good deal of trial and error it appears that the only YouTube search term that will now point you directly to the video in its intact, original state is “10:10 video.” After clicking the Play button in many posts around the web I’ve discovered that the version of the video embedded in The Atlantic story still functions. So does the one embedded in the Pielke blog. You can view those copies here and here.

The No Pressure video is an important historical document. It sheds light on the mindset of the people who created it and on the green groups that failed to condemn it (come on down Greenpeace, Earthjustice, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club, the Environmental Defense Fund, and the Natural Resources Defense Council). It tells us important things about what mainstream journalists consider news and not news.

I’ve attempted to back up the video here, but it isn’t clear that the WebCite service I’ve used works in the event that content is later removed from YouTube.

Those who know more about these matters than I do may wish to undertake their own archiving efforts.

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Disasters and the IPCC

Will a load-of-nonsense IPCC press release be corrected?

A little more than two years ago the UK’s Sunday Times ran a headline that read: UN wrongly linked global warming to natural disasters. (A screenshot may be seen here. The full text of the article is backed up here.)

The very next day, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) issued a press release. It accused the newspaper of running “a misleading and baseless story” which it further characterized as “a baseless attack” on a section of its 2007 report.

The section in dispute dealt with the question of whether an increase in the financial costs associated with natural disasters can be blamed on human-induced climate change. The vast majority of published scientific literature rejects this idea. It finds that the increased costs associated with hurricanes, for example, can instead be explained by the fact that more people now live in hurricane-prone areas – and that their houses are larger and therefore cost more to repair.

According to the IPCC’s press release, its 2007 report is correct and nothing is amiss:

The tone is balanced, and the section contains many important qualifiers. In writing, reviewing, and editing this section, IPCC procedures were carefully followed…

Yesterday Roger Pielke Jr. – an environmental studies professor who specializes in natural disaster research – took another look at that press release. He’s familiar with this controversy because the single paper on which the IPCC relied to make the case that climate change can be linked to increasing disaster costs was prepared for a workshop he helped organize.

With the benefit of two years of hindsight, Pielke’s assessment is a harsh one:

We now know that the “study” that was cited by the IPCC (a white paper from a workshop that I had organized) did not contain any analysis of trends…When the miscited paper actually did appear in the [published] literature it said this:

“We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.”

This means that the IPCC relied heavily on a non-peer-reviewed, grey literature, pre-publication version of a paper to support a claim that the vast bulk of published research contradicts. When that paper was finally published it didn’t say what the IPCC says it does.

Despite chairman Rajendra Pachauri’s solemn declaration that his organization’s 2007 report “was based on scientific studies completed before January 2006,” this paper didn’t see the light of day until May 2006 – and wasn’t published until two years afterward.

Adding another layer of notoriety to this matter, the IPCC report includes a graph it attributes to this same paper. But that graph didn’t appear in the 2006 version of that document. Nor did it appear in the 2008 version.

It turns out the graph was, in fact, wholly invented by the authors of the IPCC report. (See the graph at the bottom of page 4 here. Read more about this ‘mystery graph’ here.)

In Pielke’s view, it is the IPCC’s press release (which remains on its website) that is profoundly inaccurate. He thinks that, if this organization wants to be considered a dependable source of information, the release needs to be corrected.

In his words:

The IPCC did not follow its procedures for citing grey literature, for following its own deadline for publications, for proper citation of source material and included a graph that cannot be found in any literature anywhere. The IPCC press release was thus wrong again – the procedures were ignored, not “carefully followed.”

How many years will it take the IPCC to set the record straight – to admit that the exact opposite of its version of events is closer to the truth?

The rules were not properly followed. And it was the press release itself that amounted to a “baseless attack” – against a factually correct newspaper article.

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Read Pielke’s full blog post here

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Al Gore’s Shameful New Campaign

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The following is from a press release issued last week by Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project (backup link here):

During the 24 Hours of Reality event, people all around the globe living with the impacts of climate change will connect the dots between recent extreme weather events — including floods, droughts and storms — and the manmade pollution that is changing our climate. [bold added]

I guess all the well-intentioned people associated with that brand new campaign missed the blog post by environmental studies professor Roger Pielke Jr. in February that declared:

What seems obvious is sometime just wrong. This of course is why we actually do research…Connecting the dots is fun, but it is not science. [bold added]

Pielke thinks climate change is a concern. He thinks we should strive to decarbonize our energy supply. But he is a person of integrity. And since there’s currently no evidence to support the simple-minded linking of natural disasters to CO2 emissions he says so.

In 2006 Pielke helped organize an international workshop on climate change and disasters such as floods and storms. Twenty-four papers were presented at the workshop, spanning a range of analyses and opinions. In the end, after two days of discussion and debate, the participants jointly agreed to a series of consensus statements.

According to these experts, there is currently no evidence that human-generated greenhouse gas emissions are making storms – or floods – worse. Moreover, they think it’s unlikely such evidence will become available in “the near future.”

So why, in the name of heaven, is Al Gore now spending time and money on a campaign that claims the exact opposite?

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The IPCC, the UK, and Climate Censorship

Christopher Booker, who writes for the UK Telegraph, recently sent me a copy of his 2009 book, The Real Global Warming Disaster. I’m not even halfway through yet, but already there is some eyebrow-raising Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) history about which I was unaware.

For example, Booker’s account (on pages 114-119) of a press conference held in Moscow in July 2004, is so incredible it got me searching for more details.

The short version is this: The Kyoto Protocol needed to be ratified by 55 parties before it came into effect. In 2003 and 2004 Russia found itself under immense international pressure to ratify this document, but Russian scientists had concerns about the IPCC findings on which Kyoto was based, and Russian economists were wary of the adverse economic impacts.

The gentleman who spoke at the press conference, Andrei Illarionov, was an economic adviser to President Putin. He began by complaining that, nine months previously, Russia had asked the IPCC ten specific questions (they’re listed here) but was still awaiting satisfactory answers:

We were told that the reply would be given within several days. Nine months have passed since then but there has been no reply, even though we have repeated our inquiries on these and the growing number of other related questions.

Instead of getting replies to our questions, we kept on hearing that replies did not matter.

The head of the Russian Academy of Scientists had arranged a scholarly two-day gathering in Moscow so that a dialogue could take place. When Illarionov spoke to the press at the end of that gathering, his comments regarding the behaviour of the scientific delegation from the UK were nothing short of eye-popping.

Having already ratified Kyoto itself, the UK was among those countries keen on persuading Russia to do likewise. According to Illarionov, however, rather than conducting themselves in a manner that would encourage trust in their judgment, the Brits behaved liked boors.

In essence, the UK delegation tried to censor the proceedings. The head of the delegation, Sir David King (then Tony Blair’s top science adviser), insisted that two-thirds of the scheduled presenters should not be allowed to speak and proposed his own agenda, comprised of topics he considered more suitable. Warning that the entire British delegation would walk out if his demands weren’t met, King apparently insisted that his atrocious behaviour was supported by the highest levels of the British government.

When the Russians ignored his ultimatum, some members of the UK delegation apparently then behaved like bullies on four separate occasions – interrupting other speakers, talking for far longer than they were supposed to (thus preventing other people from having a turn at the podium), and leaving the room rather than answering questions posed to them.

The text of the press conference is here. It’s worth reading in its entirety. The important takeaway is that this is not how scientists behave.

If real scientists were in charge of the IPCC, would it really have declined to answer those ten questions?

Would real scientists attempt to censor two-thirds of the speakers at an event organized by another country’s national Academy?

These are not the hallmarks of honest-to-goodness science. A nation in which the Prime Minister’s chief scientific adviser conducts himself in this manner is a nation that has turned its back on real science, choosing instead to use the good name of science for crass political purposes.

Anthony Watts had a blog post yesterday titled Pray for Britain. After reading the text of this 2004 press conference, I’ll second that thought.

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In recent days a Kindle version of The Real Global Warming Disaster has become available – which I’ve now purchased. (That process took 20 seconds, end-to-end.)

I’ve had my own Kindle for only six weeks, but am seriously sold on this format. For one thing, you can search within a book and find things fast. Not only can you highlight passages, but the Kindle collects all your highlighted passages together in a text file behind-the-scenes that can then be transferred over to your PC.

Kindle editions are usually priced around $9.99. In my view, that is too high. After all, when a text is delivered to my device in the blink of an eye there are no paper, printing, inventory, or shipping costs worth talking about. The price of books has always been dictated by these real-world costs. Once those costs disappear, the price should plummet.

Whether the traditional publishing industry will adopt sensible pricing before it’s reduced to a shadow of its former self remains to be seen. At the moment, it’s utterly ridiculous that I can purchase the paperback copy of Roger Pielke Jr.’s The Climate Fix for $11.55 (which will then need to be shipped to me via the post office), yet the publisher wants $12.99 for the Kindle edition.

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The IPCC on Renewable Energy

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has just completed a report about renewable energy (press release here). Although the 26-page Summary for Policymakers was made public yesterday, the 1,000-page whole enchilada won’t be available for another three weeks.

This is standard IPCC procedure, and I can’t believe they’ve gotten away with it for so long. The Summary for Policymakers is a political document rather than a scientific one. The exact wording of this document is negotiated on a line-by-line basis. It must be agreed to unanimously by all the governments of the world who send representatives to the appropriate IPCC meetings.

And yet this politically massaged, highly selective version is what the IPCC feeds to the media. It’s what the media then writes its news stories about. (Trust me, when the full report is released on May 31st, the media will have moved on. Journalists won’t pay the real thing the slightest attention.)

It’s one thing to provide a handy summary of a report that is being released at the same time. In that case, journalists can readily compare the summary to the real deal and note any discrepancies when they produce / write their stories. It is another matter altogether to release the summary in isolation, weeks in advance.

There’s only one reason for the IPCC to behave in this manner. It expects everyone to take it on faith that its summary is an accurate representation of the full report. It expects everyone to trust that the summary highlights the most newsworthy aspects of the larger report and doesn’t overlook anything of significance.

This same “trust us” attitude is evident with respect to how the IPCC presents the authors of this report. It tells us these people are experts, but it doesn’t provide the slightest bit of evidence to back this up. As far as the IPCC is concerned, the most important piece of information about an author is what country he or she comes from. The only other detail it condescends to provide is the individual’s institutional affiliation.

Both of these are next-to-meaningless. Think about this for a moment. In what other employment / consultancy context are we told what country someone comes from but nothing about their specific credentials? As Hilary Ostrov points out, we’re entitled to know whether any of these people have any formal training in statistics, for example.

Just to repeat, though, nothing new is going on here. This is business-as-usual for the IPCC. The only thing that has changed is that, the last time the IPCC brazenly stage-managed the media coverage afforded to one of its reports, this blogger (and many others) weren’t yet paying attention.

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Roger Pielke Jr. has two posts about this report (including discussion of media coverage) here and here.

Ben Pile, at Climate-Resistance.org, has dug up CVs and bios for many of the report’s lead authors here.

Hilary’s piece is here. As she observes, it appears that no one has yet breathed the term “peer-reviewed literature” in connection with this report.

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Bill McKibben Says It’s Urgent

The Nation, America’s oldest magazine, is self-described at Amazon.com as “the flagship of the Left.” However, if one arrives as a casual reader at the magazine’s website, its About page displays a declaration some might consider misleading:

The Nation will not be the organ of any party, sect, or body. It will, on the contrary, make an earnest effort to bring to the discussion of political and social questions a really critical spirit, and to wage war upon the vices of violence, exaggeration, and misrepresentation by which so much of the political writing of the day is marred.

— from The Nation‘s founding prospectus, 1865

It seems to me this is typical of the environmental movement itself. People say their main concern is saving the planet. But the first few chapters of an eco activist’s book are usually sufficient to establish that the writer’s worldview leans emphatically left. This means the economic analysis is comic book simplistic and the proposed solutions are mush-headed. Corporations are evil. Small is beautiful. Another government program/grant/regulation will fix everything. Let it never be said the Left doesn’t believe in recycling.

A few days ago The Nation posted a 28-minute video in which environmental activist Bill McKibben explains why climate change is an urgent problem. If The Nation wishes to call out people who exaggerate, McKibben is surely a prime candidate.

He believes the natural world is such a straightforward, easily-comprehended organism – and that we humans have so thoroughly decoded all of its secrets – that we now know with utter certainty that a slight increase in a single variable has sent the planet careening off its rocker. (That variable is the gradual rise of CO2 in the atmosphere from to 275 parts per million to 390 parts per million – at a current rate of 2 parts per year.) As McKibben tells it:

…name a physical system on this Earth and it’s been knocked out of kilter.

This CO2 increase, he says:

…is why Russia is catching on fire. It is why Pakistan is flooding.

…At this point it’s very clear that all the kinds of weather events we’re starting to see – including these remarkable array of floods and downpours and deluges – are precisely what the climate models have been predicting will happen. There’s no mystery here. This should not come as a surprise to anyone who has been paying attention to the data.

Tell that to Roger Pielke Jr. He’s a University of Colorado professor who studies precisely this sort of data. He says there’s currently no evidence of a link between natural disasters and increases in greenhouse gases such as CO2 (see here, here, here, here, here, and here). Pielke doesn’t rule out the possibility that such a link may someday become apparent, but he’s adamant it doesn’t exist yet. In his words: “Connecting the dots is fun, but it is not science.”

In the world McKibben inhabits climate change is “a crisis that’s breaking over our heads at this moment.” In his world ExxonMobil doesn’t sell a legitimate product that powers hospitals and delivers humanitarian aid to earthquake-devastated parts of the world. Rather, it uses the atmosphere as “an open sewer” and peddles oil the way drug traffickers peddle heroin.

In McKibben’s world “we have no choice if we want a habitable planet” but to turn our backs on fossil fuels and embrace the far more costly energy produced by solar panels and windmills. In his universe “adaptation to rapid [climate] change is all but impossible” despite our ever increasing affluence and ever more wondrous technology. In his drama queen assessment “we’re literally playing with fire” and widespread civil disobedience is an appropriate response. Oh, and the “most important number in the world” is 350 (as in parts per million) – which just happens to be the name of the activist organization he himself has founded – 350.org.

The problem with people like McKibben is that they’ve latched onto a particular narrative. For whatever reason, that narrative gives them comforts them – and they aren’t about to let it go. Not even when it becomes clear the universe isn’t behaving the way they’ve said it would.

Twenty-two years ago McKibben insisted in his book, The End of Nature, that we needed to act immediately because:

…continuing to burn ever more oil and coal…will lead us, if not straight to hell, then straight to a place with a similar temperature. [bold added, p. 124]

In fire-and-brimstone fashion he warned:

…a few more decades of ungoverned fossil-fuel use and we burn up, to put it bluntly. [bold added, p. 128]

Irrespective of his dire prognostications, the world did continue to use coal and oil. And if we’re in danger of burning up anytime time soon I expect those in Europe, the Far East, and North America who have endured yet another unusually bitter winter would like to hear about it.

Among them are two young boys whose 30-year-old mother froze to death in her apartment in Ireland last month. Among them is the family of a 41-year-old Canadian man who froze to death on his way to work after his car got stuck during a snowstorm a week prior to Christmas.

A few years back McKibben wrote an Afterword for a book titled Earth Under Fire. The final section of the book (which uses a sky in flames as its cover art) is called A Safer, Cleaner, and Cooler World.

But there’s nothing remotely safe about dying of hypothermia – or from a fall after slipping on ice. A cooler planet is not a planet that is friendly to humans, vegetation, or animals. There’s a reason tropical forests and lush biodiversity are closely related. There’s a reason people retire to the south of France rather than to Iceland – to Arizona and Florida rather than to Alaska.

No matter how urgently McKibben (or The Nation which gave him a platform last week) insist on talking talks nonsense, ordinary people aren’t that easily fooled.

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Monkeys Could Do This

An important piece of journalism appeared in Florida’s Sarasota Herald-Tribune newspaper today. It examines hurricanes and the insurance industry in a post-Katrina world.

In 2006, the lavishly illustrated version of Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth book – aimed at young readers –  declared on page 11:

Science has now proven beyond a doubt that the Earth’s climate is changing, and changing much faster than originally feared. Because of it, we are witnessing such awful results as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 – results that leave so many people homeless and cities devastated. [bold added]

Geology 101 tells us that the planet’s climate has always changed. Real Life 101 tells us that change is what everything in this world does. But with people like Gore saying global warming had caused Katrina – and warning of worse to come – insurance companies were eager to revisit the formulas they’d been using to calculate their risk exposure.

The Sarasota Herald-Tribune’s investigative piece tells the story of how an entity that provides hurricane predictions to the insurance industry came up with a new approach to hurricane forecasting following an informal four-hour discussion involving four experts.

The new numbers generated by these experts implied that the insurance industry needed to raise $82 billion to guard against hurricane losses expected to occur over the next five years. Guess where those billions came from? Insurance premiums skyrocketed. According to the news article, “the cost to insure a home in parts of Florida hit world-record levels.”

It’s important to understand that a body of peer-reviewed scientific literature, conducted by reputable scholars, has found no connection between climate change and increased hurricane damage. Yes, it costs more to rebuild after a hurricane than it used to, but this is because more people live in locales that are vulnerable to hurricanes – and their homes are bigger and fancier than they used to be.

Gore likes to frighten children with hurricane horror stories, but in 2007 a UK judge said Gore was mistaken. In a ruling that followed a 2-day hearing into the appropriateness of showing the film version of An Inconvenient Truth to secondary school students, the judge ruled that Gore was exaggerating:

In scene 12 Hurricane Katrina and the consequent devastation in New Orleans is ascribed to global warming. It is common ground that there is insufficient evidence to show that. [paragraph 30; see also press accounts here, here and here.]

Today’s Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports that while Risk Management Solutions (RMS), the hurricane prediction company, said its new mathematical formula represented a “scientific consensus” the reality “was quite different.” Rather than consulting a broad range of views, or hosting a structured debate, RMS appears to have consulted experts clustered at one end of the spectrum of opinion.

Quelle surprise that, five years later, we find that the forecast generated by these experts was bogus:

…the prediction of a more dangerous Florida has not played out. The new RMS model called for at least 11 hurricanes to come ashore in the United States by the end of 2010, most of them aimed at Florida. Four hurricanes struck the U.S. None hit the Sunshine State. [bold added]

One of the four experts who contributed to the mathematical model that spurred the multi-billion-dollar cash grab is Kerry Emmanuel, an MIT professor whom the newspaper describes as the “rock star” of the quartet. In the words of the newspaper:

He now questions the credibility of any five-year prediction of major hurricanes. There is simply too much involved. “Had I known then what I know now,” Emanuel said, “I would have been even more skeptical.” [bold added]

Let’s think about that. When compared to the task of predicting how the entire planet’s climate will be behaving 50 to 100 years from now, predicting hurricanes in one small corner of the world over the next five years is surely far more manageable. Yet here’s a famous professor saying there is simply too much involved for scientists to make an accurate prediction.

Roger Pielke Jr., another professor, also gets quoted in this newspaper article. He participated in a subsequent round of consultations RMS held in 2008. In that instance, seven experts were asked to rank for their opinion of 39 climate models. In a blog post dated today Pielke says:

…at the time I explained that their methodology was biased and pre-determined. A group of monkeys would have arrived at the exact same results.

Although Pielke believes humans are contributing to global warming, he possesses an integrity some other climate experts appear to lack. Pielke has consistently objected to what he feels is the distortion of hurricane disaster data by people who bring their own agendas to the discussion.

The following graph appears in his blog post today. The red column is what averaged historical data suggests should have happened in terms of hurricane damage in the US between 2006 and 2010. The blue column is what actually happened, and the green column represents the RMS prediction.

In other words, people like Gore couldn’t have been more wrong. Since he began threatening us in fire-and-brimstone fashion with even worse hurricanes, matters have improved dramatically. Rather than causing more damage than usual, hurricanes have actually caused significantly less.

Judith Curry, another expert professor, was also involved in the 2008 round of consultation. The newspaper quotes her as saying: “I thought all of the [39] models were wrong. I didn’t have confidence in any of them.” (See her blog here.)

Nevertheless, that was the process on which RMS relied to produce its magical (now adjusted) hurricane prediction number. And guess what? Although the new number is somewhat lower than the old one, the newspaper says the insurance industry has been far slower to reduce premiums than it was to raise them.

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Does the IPCC Prefer Grey Literature to Peer-Reviewed?

Economist Richard Tol has written a series of guest posts over at Roger Pielke Jr.’s blog outlining his concerns regarding the Working Group 3 portion of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report.

Many of these concerns involve the use of non-peer-reviewed literature to neutralize peer-reviewed research findings the IPCC writers apparently preferred to disregard.

Today Tol sums up his thoughts and findings. Read his post here.

Scientific Organizations – Should We Trust Them?

Frequently, when one expresses skepticism regarding global warming theory, knowledgeable folk respond with a version of the following:

Numerous scientific bodies from around the world believe global warming is a real and present danger. Who are you to second-guess such esteemed organizations – to substitute your judgment for theirs?

This question is entirely and absolutely appropriate. When I began researching the global warming debate back in April, I was deeply troubled by the fact that I had no clue how to respond.

My journalistic instincts told me this issue smelled. It reeked of hype and fear-mongering. How could responsible scientific organizations be mixed up in this?

I’m now far closer to formulating a detailed outline of what seems to have happened to the culture of science in recent decades. That explanation will ultimately comprise one or two chapters in the book on which I’m working. For the moment, let me draw attention to two pieces of a larger puzzle.

First, I’ve been reading the 1976 third report to the Club of Rome titled RIO: Reshaping the International Order. This book’s overall premise is that humanity must adopt a system of world government in order to solve problems associated with nuclear weapons, Third World poverty, and environmental degradation.

The book’s proposed solutions include a laughable number of new international bodies to plan, regulate, and tax just about everything. In other words, bureaucracy and taxes will save us!

In Chapter 7, Section 5 (p. 133 of my Signet paperback edition) one finds the following quote:

“In the past, specialists [this term is used interchangeably with scientists] have often been reluctant to engage in political debate or to share their knowledge and fears with the general public. Given social dilemmas, they have often preferred to adopt neutral rather than value positions, to tacitly advise rather than openly advocate. This generalization no longer holds true. In many branches of science there are radical movements. Increasingly, both in the rich and poor worlds, scientists are involved in active advocacy which they see as an intellectual and ethical duty.” [bold added by me]

In other words, back in 1976 it was being admitted that “many branches of science” had become politicized by radical elements. It was acknowledged openly – by people who approved of this development – that some scientists were abandoning the dispassionate stance we expect of them in favor of overt activism.

The are many reasons to be troubled by this. Roger Pielke Jr’s book, The Honest Broker (which I discuss here) examines a number of them.

I also recommend this article, available free online, titled The Double Standard in Environmental Science. Its author, a soil erosion expert, argues that research findings that suggest humanity is making environmental progress get rejected by prestigious science journals, even though they’re based on decades of real-world measurements. Yet papers that reach alarming conclusions get published, even when their authors have little expertise and scant data. His experience suggests this bias has been operating since the early 1980s.

My second point comes from a 2008 paper (also free online) authored by Richard S. Lindzen, of MIT, titled Climate Science: Is it Currently Designed to Answer Questions? Anyone who thinks scientists dwell in an ivory tower dreamily insulated from crass political considerations will find it difficult to hold such opinions after reading this text in its entirety.

I’m going to focus on one aspect in particular. At the top of page 5, Lindzen observes that science organizations:

“are hierarchical structures where positions and policies are determined by small executive councils or even single individuals. This greatly facilitates any conscious effort to politicize science via influence in such bodies where a handful of individuals (often not even scientists) speak on behalf of organizations that include thousands of scientists and even enforce specific scientiific positions and agendas.”

On page 7, Lindzen discusses the US National Academy of Sciences (NAS):

“The academy is divided into many disciplinary sections whose primary task is the nomination of candidates for membership in the Academy. Typically, support by more than 85% of the membership of any section is needed for nomination. However, once a candidate is elected, the candidate is free to affiliate with any section. The vetting process is generally rigorous, but for over 20 years, there was a Temporary Nominating Group for the Global Environment to provide a back door for the election of candidates who were environmental activists, bypassing the conventional vetting procedure. Members, so elected, proceeded to join existing sections where they hold a veto power over the election of any scientists unsympathetic to their positions. Moreover, they are almost immediately appointed to positions on the executive council, and other influential bodies within the Academy. One of the members elected via the Temporary Nominating Group, Ralph Cicerone, is now president of the Academy. Prior to that, he was on the nominating committee for the presidency…Others elected to the NAS via this route include [well known activists] Paul Ehrlich, James Hansen, Steven Schneider, John Holdren…” [bold added by me]

This gives one pause, doesn’t it?

I don’t mean to suggest that no statements issued by any scientific body can be trusted. That would be foolish. But there are serious and compelling reasons to be cautious of activist-scientists in the environmental/global warming arena.

Life would be far simpler if we didn’t have to wonder if what we’re hearing is pure, unadulterated scientific evidence – or whether we’re being fed someone’s political agenda.

P.S.
This mixing of politics, activism, and science is also evident in the genetically modified food debate. See my blog post Do As I Say, Not As I Do.

The Honest Broker

The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics
by Roger Peilke Jr., (2007, Cambridge University Press)

Pielke believes global warming is a problem that requires a response. As readers of his blog know, he’s a moderate, pragmatic, sane voice who frequently disses extremism and foolishness on all sides of the global warming debate.

This book was no doubt partly written to serve as a textbook in Prof. Pielke’s classes, so it isn’t always the most entertaining of reads. But there’s lots of thought-provoking stuff here about how scientists, the media, and the public might think about science when partisan politics become a major consideration.

Pielke argues that an “honest broker” scientist is one who presents a variety of options to the public, who expands our range of choices – rather than advocating a single course of action.

Below is a quick-and-dirty list of some thought-provoking lines/quotes. Page numbers refer to the US paperback edition:

  • “we are often very certain and very wrong” p. 23
  • “The scientific enterprise is diverse enough to offer information that can be used to support a diversity of perspectives on just about any subject” p. 89
  • “entrenched interests need not produce ‘junk science’ when they have a wide selection of credentialed scientists to choose from in support of their positions” p. 62
  • “one might develop numerous equally plausible theories” p. 69
  • “information by itself does not compel a particular decision” p. 54
  • “Battles take place over whether science is sound or junk instead of debating the value or practicality of specific policy alternatives.” p. 126
  • “A decision may have unexpected consequences, including the opposite of those desired” p. 65
  • “there is considerable randomness or chance in the world” p. 75
  • “Science in the service of common interests is threatened as scientists and policy-makers have come to see science mainly as a servant of interest group politics.” p. 10
  • “For some scientists stealth issue advocacy is politically desirable because it allows for a simultaneous claim of being above the fray, invoking the historical authority of science, while working to restrict the scope of choice.” p. 7
  • “If a debate is really about science, then surely it can take place on the pages of seldom-read peer-reviewed journals. But if the debate is about more than science, then it would likely spill over into the media, the internet, and legislative chambers.” pp. 88-89
  • “One reason for the high esteem in which science is held is its independence from overt political influence.” p. 93
  • “If the public or policy-makers begin to believe that scientific findings are simply an extension of a scientist’s political beliefs, then scientific information will play an increasingly diminishing role in policy-making” p. 95
  • “deciding a course of action and then finding information to support it is common across the political spectrum” p. 110
  • “In many instances science has become little more than a mechanism for marketing competing political agendas, and scientists have become leading members of the advertising campaigns.” p. 117
  • “That some scientists engage in political activities is neither new nor problematic; they are after all citizens. A problem exists when…scientists implicitly or explicitly equate scientific arguments with political arguments” p. 120
  • “science alone cannot determine who wins and who loses in political battles” p. 121
  • “science cannot tell us what to do. Deciding what to do occurs through a political process of bargaining, negotiation, and compromise.” p. 137
  • “Science has exceedingly little capacity to reconcile differences in values.” p. 137
  • “For the protection of science..we desperately need organizations and individuals who are willing to expand the range of options available to policy-makers by serving as Honest Brokers of Policy Alternatives” p. 141
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