February 3, 2012
Last week, 16 eminent scientists signed an op-ed published in the Wall Street Journal that acknowledged that the climate models are badly erroneous, that the world has not warmed anywhere near the amount predicted over the last two decades and that “climate scientists” have exaggerated the relationship between climate change and CO2 levels. Conclusion: stop demanding such stifling CO2 reductions, stop the politicisation of the debate and start investing in a more rigorous (less political) climate science.
Of course there was the typical tired response by the Daily Climate and other warming lobbyists – fighting facts with innuendo – but I was surprised they could only find eight of the 16 academics having ever done any work with industry, and some having worked on an industry-funded project even as recently as (Gasp!) 26 years ago. Others claim in a letter that these scientists are not real experts in what could only be considered as a vain academic pissing contest. Without many facts to back up the political rhetoric, the climate debate seems to finally be winding down (two years after Climate-gate) and it is time to move on and rebuild credibility in the research community. This is the scientific community’s Yalta moment.
This collective article (and the courage of those who signed it) is vindication for scientists who have been questioning the approach of climate research and have suffered professional setbacks and personal ridicule in PR smear campaigns from environmental lobbyists, scientific fund-chasers, political opportunists and corporate chameleons. Rather than celebrating a return to sanity though, it is time to start rebuilding the reputation of science (something that politicians like Al Gore and Rajendra Pachauri had almost completely killed off).
The following are some suggestions to begin to rebuild trust in science:
- Fire Rajendra Pachauri from the IPCC. Remind him that science is not about political consensus building or name calling.
- As he will refuse to go, the next step would be to dissolve the IPCC – in any case, it was founded on a political premise disguised as science.
- Reorganise climate science around an academic (and not political, ie, UN) organisation. The organisation must be credible (ie, not the University of East Anglia).
- Create a code of conduct for climate scientists (including an ethics code that refers to the unacceptability of making up numbers or getting politically implicated).
- Shift the blame for the social and economic costs from decarbonisation already incurred away from climate science. Public wrath should be directed toward the opportunists like Al Gore, WWF/Greenpeace, General Electric and the precautionary parrots at the European Environment Agency (whose head of science is an activist from Friends of the Earth).
- The UN should hold a series of Truth and Reconciliation style hearings to try to heal the wounds. Those who had acted to discredit free-thinking scientists, obstruct careers and interfere with objective research should have a chance to publicly apologise.
- Cancel Rio+20. The “conclusions” the activist-lobbied panel have released (leaked?) six months ahead of the event are so erroneous as to make the event farcical.
- Policy-makers must admit their mistakes, urgently address important problems that their climate fighting policies had created and move forward.
It won’t be easy. As the saying goes: “Trust is gained by the inch and lost by the foot”. Science had been losing public trust for the last few decades and the institution’s slow adaptation to the emerging public communications tools hasn’t helped things. But the last suggestion (to urgently move on) is extremely important as the energy and transport debates need to be reconsidered given the decoupling of CO2 levels and climate change.
- What do we do with all of these wind turbines? As they break down regularly, should they be repaired or left as souvenirs of stupidity?
- What is the best way to stop subsidising renewables and feed-in tariffs (gradually or immediately)?
- How high of a tax should we put on electric or hybrid cars for their resource inefficiencies?
- How soon can we redirect all of these decarbonisation earmarks into something useful (like helping the poor!)?
So while the Risk-Monger has reason to smile (much of the Wall Street Journal article reconfirms his Environmental-Industrial Complex paranoia from 2010), there is just too much work to do correcting all of the damage of those ambitious environmental activists.David Zaruk