by Judith Curry
A few things that caught my eye this past week.
Thanksgiving in the U.S. brings back memories of Climategate, I recall spending Thanksgiving 2009 writing the essay An open letter to graduate students . . . with comments from my college-age nieces and nephews. In case you are feeling nostalgic or otherwise remembering Climategate, UK artist Michael Kelly has written an interesting piece [link]. The opening lines:
Like an Aristophanes satire, like Hamlet, it opens with two slaves, spear-carriers, little people. Footsoldiers of history, two researchers in a corrupt and impoverished mid-90s Russia schlep through the tundra to take core samples from trees at the behest of the bigger fish in far-off East Anglia.
UK Climate Change Act
Warren Pearce has a post in the Guardian entitled The poverty of targetism: Five years of the UK Climate Change Act, subtitled The Climate Change Act’s linear translation of scientific evidence into managerial targets is an ineffective way of using evidence in policy. Excerpt:
Focusing on greenhouse gas emissions alone does, of course, make sense in terms of tackling climate change, and the role of scientific evidence is vital in determining what we do and don’t know about the physical processes involved. However, the Act’s focus on such evidence to the exclusion of social and political factors risks destroying the very policy agenda it seeks to promote.
Heartland versus AMS
There is a mini tempest in a teapot surrounding the recent AMS survey of its membership on climate change. Here is the story as I understand it. The Heartland Institute sent an email to its list, with the following attachment [link].
The AMS doesn’t like Heartland’s email, and AMS Executive Director Keith Seitter posts a blog at the AMS site entitled Going to the source for accurate information.
The authors of the BAMS article reporting the survey have made a statement about Heartland’s email, which is reproduced in a post at Climate Etc. entitled Taylor distort poll of meteorologists on climate change to reach opposite conclusion of study authors.
Heartland responds to AMS with a blog post AMS Survey Shows No Consensus on Global Warming.
At issue is whether the survey should be interpreted as a 52% consensus, or a 90% consensus. As per my post on this paper, 52% consensus(?), I provide a detailed interpretation of the results supporting the 52% consensus conclusion. Based upon their statement, the authors of the paper seem unaware of the nuances of what constitutes the IPCC consensus in terms of attribution. The key issue is how to interpret responses to the survey question related to climate or atmospheric science expertise and secondarily as to whether the members are publishing or not, which is discussed in my post 52% consensus(?).
In summary, Heartland’s interpretation is not a misrepresentation of the actual survey results, although the authors and the AMS are interpreting the results in a different way. A better survey might have avoided some of the ambiguity in the interpretation, but there seems to be no avoiding the fact that the survey showed that 48% of the AMS professional members do not think that most of the warming since 1850 is attributable to humans.