by Judith Curry
A few things that caught my eye this past week.
Tipping points in climate science
At Enthusiasm, Skepticism and Science, there is a very interesting piece of climate history entitled Madrid 1995: Was This the Tipping Point in the Corruption of Science? Its a lengthy post, here is a brief teaser:
The story of Ben Santer’s late changes to Chapter 8 of the Working Group 1 Report is familiar to most sceptical accounts of the climate change controversy (e.g. here &here and a non-sceptical account). However, it is often overshadowed by other landmark events, and so it is usually not put up there in the same league withHansen‘s sweaty congressional testimony of 1988, with the establishment of theIPCC nor with the Hockey Stick controversy. Yet, if one looks at the greater controversy in terms of its impact on science, then this conference in Madrid might just surpass them all.
This post is a ‘must read’. It looks like this post is first in a series.
Senate hearing on impacts of rising sea level
Over at climatesciencewatch, there is a post on a recent Senate hearing on the impacts of rising sea levels on domestic infrastructure.
Open access: free the code
The open knowledge movement got a big boost this week from a policy paper that was published in Science. From phys.org:
A diverse group of academic research scientists from across the U.S. have written a policy paper which has been published in the journal Science, suggesting that the time has come for all science journals to begin requiring computer source code be made available as a condition of publication. Currently, they say, only three of the top twenty journals do so.
The Mann saga
There’s a lengthy article in USAToday entitled Michael Mann faces off with foes on the Hockey Stick tour. The last paragraph is notable:
For all the politics surrounding climate science, “I don’t have a political view to offer on the solution,” Mann says, such as whether pollution rights for greenhouse gases should be bought and sold on the market, the “cap and trade” proposal that died in Congress in the aftermath of the 2008 global economic meltdown. “There are lots of legitimate views on what should, or shouldn’t, be done about climate,” Mann says. “My only real political position is that we should have an honest debate about what to do.”
If I am interpreting this statement correctly, it represents a substantial change (for the better) from what he has said in previous interviews.
The climate Titanic
From an article entitled James Cameron: the Titanic as metaphor for the climate crisis:
Part of the Titanic parable is of arrogance, of hubris, of the sense we’re too big to fail. Well where have we heard that one before? There was this big machine, this human system that was pushing forward with so much momentum that it couldn’t turn and couldn’t stop in time to avert the disaster. And that’s what we have right now! But in that human system, on board that ship, if you want to make it a microcosm of the world, you have different classes, you know you have first class, second class, third class. Well in our world right now you’ve got developed nations and undeveloped nations. You’ve got the starving millions who are going to be the ones the most affected by the next iceberg that we hit. Which is going to be climate change. We can see that iceberg ahead of us right now but we can’t turn. We can’t turn because of the momentum of the system – the political momentum, the business momentum. There are too many people making money out of the system. The way the system works right now, those people who frankly have their hands on the levers of power aren’t ready to let them go. And until they do, we aren’t going to be able to turn and miss that iceberg we’re going to hit. When we hit it, the rich are still going to be able to get their access to food, to arable land, to water and so on. It’s going to be the poor, it’s going to be the steerage, that are going to be impacted. It was the same with the Titanic. I think that’s why this story was always fascinating. Because it’s a perfect little encapsulation of the world and the whole social spectrum. But until our lives are really put at risk, the moment of truth, we don’t know what we would do. And that’s my final word.