To read about F's and my London trip, start here and click "newer post" to continue the story.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

It has been an interesting weekend for the science community. Also for anyone who thought that scientists were egoless, emotionless seekers after knowledge like Mr. Spock.

For anyone who hasn't been keeping up, here is an overview of the climate change controversy, with lots of links.

Anyone who asserts something, especially something that is to be used to make major changes in the economic structures of nations worldwide, needs to be prepared to back up what he's saying. The allegations of outright data manipulation, destruction of data subject to FOI requests, incredibly sloppy documentation of methods of calculating and using data, and exclusions of contrary papers from peer-reviewed journals are disappointing to me but not surprising. The contemptuous rhetoric from climate change proponents toward skeptics ran up a big flag for me. I never mind having my data questioned, ever. Am always ready to take a second look, recalculate, rerun, let someone else have a look, whatever. Especially when my results seem to show a problem in the plant - it's a lot easier to fix an analytical error than a problem with production, even though my pride would be hurt if I found that I had screwed up.

Another red flag was the tight relationship betw. climate change scientists and politicians. I never like to see that. James Hansen, head of NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies, is a political activist. That's fine, but when you engage that way then you give up the status of being an impartial and objective investigator. And yet he's considered to be a leading scientist on the subject of climate change.

Another flag was the unbelievable disconnect between Al Gore's crusade to fix global warming, for which he got a Nobel Prize for pete's sake, and his total lack of leadership in demonstrating responsible energy use. If he truly believed the things he's been saying, why isn't he showing us how to maintain a sustainable lifestyle? Instead of buying carbon credits through companies in which he has a financial stake, and pretending that that does anything.

Finally, another flag was the steady reporting of data problems documented on the excellent site Watts Up With That. To pick just one example - urban heat islands. Temperatures in urban areas are always higher than rural areas. And within urban areas, you can't put a temperature sensor on an asphalt roof next to an air conditioning unit, and expect to get a meaningful result. This is common sense, is it not?

So anyway, it's been fascinating to watch this unfold. Will be interesting to see how it all shakes out.


Mrs. Who said...

I just wish the MSM would pick this up, too. People need to see the truth of 'global warming'.

Not that I'm for carelessness with conservation...responsible usage is what's necessary. Not this Chicken Little approach that benefits certain companies.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Yes, exactly. I don't mind conservation, being responsible, investigating alternative energy, etc. I mind being lied to and manipulated.

The MSM will be forced to either pick it up, or see their downward spiral accelerate.

class-factotum said...

Either the data proves the point or it doesn't. Show us the data, people. Show us the data.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Well, the big issue is that a lot of the original data is gone. What's left is the data after it was adjusted for various reasons, and they can't account for how and why it was adjusted because their own people can't make sense of the Fortran code. So they can't recreate the original data or explain how they got what they now have.

At best, it's almost criminally sloppy.

theolderepublicke said...

I agree generally with what you write. And I have long been wary of the many claims made regarding global warming. (I confess, however, to not researching the issue to be well informed.)

I do, however, see the Al Gore example differently. Just because he is a hypocrite does not make him wrong. It doesn't make him right, either, of course.

Laura(southernxyl) said...

Gore may be another do-as-I-say, not-as-I-do member of the Entitled Class.

I still think that if he truly wanted us to change our lifestyles to save the planet, he'd be committed to setting an example. Instead, he is creating and using fear to feather his nest. He didn't have solar panels on his home until people started criticizing his personal energy use - why? He said that it would be a violation of his neighborhood covenant. Ha ha. Change the covenant - did he even try? - or move, then. Magically, when it was *brought to his attention*, he found a way to get solar panels.

Walk the walk before you talk the talk. It amazes me how people like that continue to have any credibility at all.