by Judith Curry
Fred Pearce’s article in the New Scientist is creating a stir in the climate blogosphere. Fred, a participant in the Workshop, wrote:
But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.
Across the spectrum, participants were mostly united in disagreeing with Schmidt. Climate science, they said, is much less certain than the IPCC mainstreamers say, and peace can be found only if all accept what they dubbed “the uncertainty monster”.
Gavin Schmidt has taken exception to this characterization of his response, who replies (in an email to the New Scientist that was widely circulated, see here for my source):
In the piece entitled “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace deal,” Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.
“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig, including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so there was nothing to discuss.”
This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from their introductory letter:
“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.
“The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”
Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.
At no point did I declare that the ’science was settled’ and that there was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact opposite:
http://www.realclimate.org/ index.php/ archives/ 2009/ 12/ unsettled-science/
Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that “disagree[s] with Schmidt”!
Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.
PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.
At the meeting, I recall hearing something like this, but by the time this got to me, who knows how it might have been mangled. I understand that Schmidt sent an email reply to Ravetz, declining the invitation. Tallbloke apparently actually saw the email. I recall some discussions about this, maybe Tallbloke can clarify.
Well the punchline seems to be this. Mainstream climate scientists seem to want to loudly proclaim that the science isn’t settled. And prefer not to be labeled as a “leader of mainstream climate science.” A very good thing.
Note to “deniers:” looks like you are currently denying unsettled science :)