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Support Judith Curry As Head Of (Reformed) IPCC

A veritable goldmine of quotes, and surely the best hope for the progress of science this side of Murray Gell-Mann. Let’s celebrate this essay by Georgia Tech’s Judith Curry: “On the Credibility of Climate Research, Part II: Towards Rebuilding Trust“.

I have a strong feeling that anybody else selected to carry forward the (reformed) IPCC will look far lesser capable than Prof Curry.

(Pachauri who?)

Some extracts:

Losing the Public’s Trust

  • In responding to climategate, the climate research establishment has appealed to its own authority and failed to understand that climategate is primarily a crisis of trust.
  • expertise itself is not a sufficient basis for public trust.
  • host of concerns about the IPCC […]: involvement of IPCC scientists in explicit climate policy advocacy; tribalism that excluded skeptics; hubris of scientists with regards to a noble (Nobel) cause; alarmism; and inadequate attention to the statistics of uncertainty and the complexity of alternative interpretations.
  • The jury is still out on the specific fallout from climategate in terms of the historical and paleo temperature records.
  • concerns […] with Working Group II:  has a combination of groupthink, political advocacy and a noble cause syndrome stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress and corrupted the assessment process?
  • when your science receives this kind of attention, it means that the science is really important to the public.  Therefore scientists need to do everything possible to make sure that they effectively communicate uncertainty, risk, probability and complexity, and provide a context that includes alternative and competing scientific viewpoints.

The Changing Nature of Skepticism about Global Warming

  • I have come to understand that global warming skepticism is very different now than it was five years ago.
  • [After the IPCC 4th Assessment Report] big oil funding for contrary views mostly dried up and the mainstream media supported the IPCC consensus. But there was a new movement in the blogosphere, which I refer to as the “climate auditors”, started by Steve McIntyre.  The climate change establishment failed to understand this changing dynamic, and continued to blame skepticism on the denial machine funded by big oil.

Climate Auditors and the Blogosphere

  • So who are the climate auditors?  They are technically educated people, mostly outside of academia.  Several individuals have developed substantial expertise in aspects of climate science, although they mainly audit rather than produce original scientific research. They tend to be watchdogs rather than deniers; many of them classify themselves as “lukewarmers”. They are independent of oil industry influence.  They have found a collective voice in the blogosphere and their posts are often picked up by the mainstream media. They are demanding greater accountability and transparency of climate research and assessment reports.
  • So how did this group of bloggers succeed in bringing the climate establishment to its knees (whether or not the climate establishment realizes yet that this has happened)?  Again, trust plays a big role […] the climate auditors have no apparent political agenda, are doing this work for free, and have been playing a watchdog role, which has engendered the trust of a large segment of the population.

Towards Rebuilding Trust

  • People have heard the alarm, but they remain unconvinced because of a perceived political agenda and lack of trust of the message and the messengers. At the same time, there is a large group of educated and evidence driven people (e.g. the libertarians, people that read the technical skeptic blogs, not to mention policy makers) who want to understand the risk and uncertainties associated with climate change, without being told what kinds of policies they should be supporting.
  • building trust through public communication on this topic requires that uncertainty be acknowledged.
  • discussing the uncertainties increases the public trust in what scientists are trying to convey and doesn’t detract from the receptivity to understanding climate change risks
  • Trust can also be rebuilt by discussing broad choices rather than focusing on specific policies.
  • And finally, the blogosphere can be a very powerful tool for increasing the credibility of climate research.  “Dueling blogs”  (e.g. versus and versus can actually enhance public trust in the science as they see both sides of the arguments being discussed.  Debating science with skeptics should be the spice of academic life
  • I have certainly learned a lot by participating in the blogospheric debate including how to sharpen my thinking and improve the rhetoric of my arguments.
  • we need to acknowledge the emerging auditing and open source movements in the in the internet-enabled world, and put them to productive use.  The openness and democratization of knowledge enabled by the internet can be a tremendous tool for building public understanding of climate science and also trust in climate research.
  • No one really believes that the “science is settled” or that “the debate is over.”  Scientists and others that say this seem to want to advance a particular agenda.  There is nothing more detrimental to public trust than such statements.

0 replies on “Support Judith Curry As Head Of (Reformed) IPCC”

Science and government policy don’t mix well. The body of scientists should be separate from the body of government policymakers.

Governments should be accountable to scientists at large as members of the voting public. Any scientist with an agenda loses their scientific objectivity.

If there had to be an IPCC, I’d prefer Ann Henderson-Sellers as one with the guts to spill the beans years ago.

I’d rather support simply doing away with the IPCC.

Replace it with the Intergovernmental Panal on Climate Fraud (IPCF).

I would not support Dr. Curry as head of the IPCF.

Perhaps Willis Eschenbach?

I have followed Dr. Curry’s commentary at several climate blogs and find her to be reasonable and civil. Having read this essay, I join you in your support of Curry to head the IPCC. However, I do have a slight problem with her essay that in no way diminishes my respect and praise for her work.

The one defect of her essay is attribution of cause. She asks: “Has a combination of groupthink, political advocacy and noble cause syndrome stifled scientific debate, slowed down scientific progress, and corrupted the assessment process?” She never mentions the money. A different attribution of cause follows the question: “Did $50 billion (estimated amount of world-wide funding) have a tendency to shape the science?”

If you think not, consider this: Why did the miniscule funding by the oil industry produce a “monolithic climate denial machine,” and $50 billion from various government agencies produce a “trusted process?”

To put my complaint in a nutshell, the failure of the climate science industry (and Professor Curry’s essay) is to have rejected skepticism of any sort regardless of background, cause or reason. Confronting skepticism politically instead of scientifically is the more precise reason the assessment process was slowed and corrupted. The failure in a single word: arrogance.

If you want to read a whole book on this subject, read Dr. Thomas Sowell’s The Vision of the Anointed: Self-Congratulation as a Basis for Social Policy.

Yup. I could support Dr. Curry as the head of the IPCC. It would be fun to watch and I’m sure we’d get a far different assessment than Pachauri has produced.

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