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.