Skepticism vs. Nuance

We have discovered the weblog “Climate Science” authored by Dr. Roger A. Pielke, someone whose positions on global warming and climate change very closely mirror our own. Dr. Pielke, a climatologist currently with the University of Colorado at Ft. Collins, is organizing a conference this August in Boulder, Colorado, on “Land Cover / Land Use Change” and its impact on climate.

Here are two recent posts from Dr. Pielke’s weblog that we find illuminating:

Another Unbalanced News Report on a research paper on predicted heat waves – May 14, 2007

After pointing out in detail the problems with the research paper, Pielke writes “These are remarkably serious shortcomings of the model study, yet the news media chose to headline the predictions from it as news without these caveats, and the authors did not correct the media’s misstatement of what their paper actually said (in fact they reinforced them!).

Equally disturbing (or it should be to anyone who values scientific credibility) is that a peer reviewed journal elected to publish this paper in this form in which untested predictions for decades into the future were presented, yet the global and regional model could not even skillfully simulate recent climate. The publication of such clearly scientifically flawed research conclusions raises questions on whether the journal (in this case the American Meteorological Society Journal of Climate) is engaging in advocacy rather than being a balanced arbitrator of peer reviewed papers. Publishing predictions which are not tested, is not science.”

Has the IPCC Produced a Hydra? – May 7, 2007

This post correctly points out that the focus on reducing CO2 emissions is at the expense of addressing other environmental challenges, and indeed could cause them to deteriorate. Pielke writes: “The narrow focus of the IPCC on CO2 as the dominant environmental threat and the use of multi-decadal global climate model predictions for policymakers, is, therefore, an inappropriately too narrow perspective. Indeed, the unintended consequences of the narrowly focused IPCC reports, and the naive acceptance of the reports by many policymakers, has unleashed a mulitifaceted risk to society and the environment.”

Regarding the emphasis on biofuels as some sort of panacea, Pielke quotes, among others, Mayer Hillman, senior fellow emeritus at Policy Studies Institute, who states: “There is an inherent and acutely serious problem within the report. On the one hand, it leaves us in no doubt to how vital conservation of the planet´s ecosystems and carbon sinks are to averting the worst predictions made in the previous sections of the report. On the other, it proposes the large scale use of the biosphere to satisfy demand in the transport and energy sectors.”

Keep your eye on the work of responsible climatologists like Dr. Pielke, who instead of jumping onto the anti-CO2 bandwagon, are examining all potential causes of climate change, as well as the catastrophic consequences of creating a global market for biofuel – supposedly because it will help reduce atmospheric CO2.

The entry in Wikipedia for Dr. Pielke includes the following “Pielke has a somewhat nuanced position on climate change, which is sometimes taken for skepticism, a label that he explicitly renounces.” Here are some of his positions, according to his profile on Wikipedia:

(1) Global warming is not equivalent to climate change. Significant, societally important climate change, due to both natural- and human- climate forcings, can occur without any global warming or cooling.

(2) In terms of climate change and variability on the regional and local scale, the IPCC Reports, the CCSP Report on surface and tropospheric temperature trends, and the U.S. National Assessment have overstated the role of the radiative effect of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 relative to the role of the diversity of other human climate climate forcing on global warming, and more generally, on climate variability and change.

(3) Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales.

(4) Attempts to significantly influence regional and local-scale climate based on controlling CO2 emissions alone is an inadequate policy for this purpose.

3 Responses to “Skepticism vs. Nuance”
  1. Dr Coles says:

    Current incompetent stories regarding CO2 Causing Climate Change are a fraud.

    Junk science is infesting the media, the Internet and public schools, affecting public health, squandering your tax dollars, poisoning sick people and miseducating our children.

    Pseudoscientific claptrap abounds. Quackery is now found everywhere.

    Consensus is NOT science. Educate, inform yourself, take a 9th grade science class.

    Additional information

    Stop listening to folks that have a financial interest in the subject. Unfortunately, many have learned to spin information, thusly have become intellectually and academically dishonest.

    Unfortunately, we can no longer trust most of the media for information, as they no longer assign “Reporters” that investigate then report on a subject, most just parrot or reinterpret the information to fit their bias, thusly we have a world of disinformation and junk science.

    Information Vetting: I have no financial interest in this subject.

  2. jom says:

    Oh please, enough of the ranting and raving in replies from those who think they can polarize this issue without understanding its scientific basis. Legitimate science has shown that we are at great risk by injecting more and more CO2 into our atmosphere. My criticism is not with research by someone like Dr. Pielke, but to skeptical readers who post using words like “junk science” and “fraud.” Follow your own advice and go take a 9th grade science class!

    How about checking out instead of that bogus crap you are promoting. Mars, by the way, has nothing to do with Earth’s problems .

  3. Ed Ring says:

    Jom: Dr. Pielke’s position closely mirrors our own editorial position – we believe the emphasis on reducing CO2 emissions comes at the expense addressing of other significant climate forcing mechanisms – tropical deforestation in particular.

    We believe tropical deforestation and aquifer depletion is a more immediate threat to global climate than CO2 emissions. We believe tropical deforestation is accelerating in the name of growing “carbon neutral” biofuel; this is a disaster and nobody in the environmental movement seems to care.

    While we strive to avoid hyperbole in our own editorial pronouncements, we prefer to allow our commenters to say whatever they like, short of profanity, personal insults, or threats.


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