by Judith Curry
For balance, for every @curryja you would need 30 from mainstream. – Victor Venema
Climate Change National Forum
Climate Change National Forum (CCNF) is a nonprofit publishing platform and national forum, founded and led by climate scientists, to educate the American public on the science of climate change and its policy implications. Our website, ClimateChangeNationalForum.org, has been featuring an open dialogue by a growing community of scientists since its debut on January 2, 2014, and we will continue to focus on the science of climate change throughout Phase I of this ambitious journalism project. The Forum is open to any scientist that can meet the CCNF science columnist criteria, as determined by the columnist-elected board. (Note: There is purposefully no criterion that requires a scientist to state or even have a particular position on climate change.) CCNF is openly soliciting all fellows and scientist-members of the American Meteorological Society (AMS) (see press), American Geophysical Union (AGU) (see press), and American Institute of Physics (AIP) to join the CCNF Scientist Community and participate in this national dialogue.
I was contacted in January by John Nielsen-Gammon about joining CCNF, and I finally managed the time to submit my application to join a few weeks ago. I decided to join since I like Nielsen-Gammon and Kerry Emanuel (who also joined), and I know that I can have an intelligent and interesting dialogue with them.
Several CCNF posts have been stimulated by my posts at Climate Etc:
- Your logic escapes me by John Nielsen Gammon
- Tail risk versus alarmism by Kerry Emanuel
- Worst case scenario versus fat tail by Judith Curry
- Dr. Garth Paltridge on judithcurry.com
The format of the comments is that there are two threads: one for the member participating scientists, primarily related to fact checking, and the other for public comments and discussion.
The posts consist of original (or reposted) essays by the participating scientists, but also some essays articles that are selected that are judged to be interesting or controversial topics for discussion.
The publication of Garth Paltridge’s essay and publication of my first essay has caused some in the twitosphere to voice their concern. The funny thing about Paltridge’s essay is that in the fact checking section, the only fact that was challenged (by Andreas Schmittner) was this:
“no scientist close to the problem and in his right mind … would say there is only a very small possibility (i.e. less than 5%) that internal ocean behaviour could be a major cause of the warming over the past half-century.”
Below is the twitter exchange that voices these concerns:
Michael E. Mann @MichaelEMann 18h
Troubling problems w/ the “Climate Change National Forum” via @VariabilityBlog: http://variable-variability.blogspot.com/2014/04/climate-change-national-forum.html … #FalseBalance #Fail
Michael E. Mann @MichaelEMann 8h
I’m afraid there appear to be deeper problems w/site. serious* false balance issues :-(
Katharine Hayhoe @KHayhoe 5h
sorry to say (given amt of effort I know has been put into this) I agree with Mike
ClimateChangeNForum @ClimateChangeNF 5h
Volntr particptn by @curryja is NOT a prob, but fact checkng below the fold is a prob & will B solvd
ClimateChangeNForum @ClimateChangeNF Apr 25
I guess we have 14 “mainstreamrs” & 1 “outlier”. But I don’t choose ratio.
Victor Venema @VariabilityBlog 8h For balance, for every @curryja you would need 30 from mainstream.There are not so many blogging scientists.
Victor Venema of the Variable Variability blog has a post Climate Change National Forum introduces the nonsense amplifier. Some excerpts:
An older treasure has the “title”: “Dr. Garth Paltridge on JudithCurry.com: Reluctance of IPCC and others to reduce confidence levels in light of hiatus and misunderstood climate mechanisms shows a lack of scientific skepticism.” It could be a stupid WUWT post pretending that global warming has stopped because the surface temperatures have not grown as fast as before, fully ignoring that the climate system as a whole keeps on warming and that only more of the warming went into the ocean rather than the atmosphere during the last decade. What makes this CCNF post even worse is that Judith Curry is defending it. Thus we have a confident wrong article above the line and little bickering scientists below the line. Great Fact Checking. That is science communication.
If the “Fact checker” stays this way, I would suggest all scientists to stop participating in CCNF. Let it succumb to another WUWT or Climate Etc. There are a lot of such homepages already; one more won’t hurt. That is better as a homepage that has credibility due to the participation of scientists, but that is actually helping spread misinformation.
That may happen automatically. Michael Tobis of Planet 3.0 writes:
I have been trying to convince scientists that this site presents a level playing field where the true balance of science can emerge, and I’ve been rebuffed with the idea that this site is another example of “false balance”, wherein the politically structured arguments will again take precedence. That argument is being bolstered by this article…
Scott Mandia writes below the hiatus article:
“Michael, I know your heart is in the right place but posting this piece really damages the credibility of CCNF. There is no place for the “It’s not happening” argument. … You have just elevated Dr. Paltridge to the status of the other experts who write here. You also run the risk of deterring real experts from future posts because they do not wish to be associated with this National Enquirer-type nonsense. Keep the discussion where it belongs. … Michael Quirke Please do a search for “Familiarity Backfire Effect” and you will see why this post is not helpful.”
And Bart Verheggen writes:
“Also, I’d be [in] favor of setting a higher bar for articles to be posted in that section. Most scientists are growing tired of the same old “global warming stopped” type memes and have no interest and no time to engage in a game of whack-a-mole. Plus there are excellent myth-busting websites out there already. If there’s an intelligent argument brought forward that shines a new light on something, now that’s different. Bring it on!”
And CCNF scientist Scott Denning writes:
I agree with Bart that the first impression of the CCNF forum is visually dominated by sometimes-bizarre and inflammatory posts that are not even remotely credible, and that this detracts from the quality of the forum.
It’s just not feasible to “fact-check” all these articles. Most of them are not fact-oriented in the first place. Propagandist rhetoric dripping with contempt for science has worse problems than can be addressed by simply “fact checking.”
It seems like Michael Quirke did notice the discontent among the scientists:
Will post up less of the inflammatory and complete B.S. for a while. Don’t want it to become whack a mole or lose the scientists’ participation. That being said, it is important to show readers what “the mole” looks like.
But I have the feeling, he does not really understand why. “Less of the inflammatory and complete B.S. for a while” sounds more like pacifying of the flaring protests than like a long-term solution.
I have wondered whether I should add NoFollow tags to the links to CCNF. [UPDATE: Have added rel="NoFollow" to all links to CCNF.]
Some might call these concerned individuals the ‘climate bigots’, but of course I would never say anything like that (h/t to Francis Urquhart, House of Cards).
I think what CCNF is trying to do is a good idea. I think the strategies and policies will evolve a bit over time, and I hope it succeeds. I think that Michael Quirke, who is organizing the CCNF, has good instincts. But the absolute intolerance of some academic scientists for anyone that disagrees with them is very disturbing.
When I joined CCNF, I didn’t even look at the list of participating scientists – I mainly joined up because Nielsen-Gammon and Emanuel. Upon looking at the list of contributing scientists, I am familiar with 9 of them. Apparently Quirke (as per his tweet) classifies the group as 14 ‘mainstream’ and 1 ‘outlier’ (the outlier is of course moi).
Sooooo . . . what are these people worried about? Shouldn’t 14:1 be sufficient to ‘neutralize’ me or put my heretical views into the ‘true’ perspective? Apparently not — Victor Venema thinks 30:1 is required, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Mann thinks that ‘1’ being allowed is too large, no matter what the ratio.
The point is that you can’t neutralize plausible alternative interpretations of the available evidence from diminishing the scientific ‘consensus.’ It only takes one such argument, and one person making it (but in fact there are numerous arguments and a substantial number of people making them).
Hopefully CCNF can stimulate some dialogue about genuine controversies in climate science, no matter how hard some people would like to pretend these don’t exist.