Questioning the soundness of climate-related science should not be the realm solely of climate skeptics. That’s what makes the following even more welcome.
“Get the science straight on climate change and disease – Climate change’s complex links with insect-borne disease need solid research — not alarmism that distracts from other crucial factors“
That’s the start of a courageous, no-holds-barred Sep 9, 2009 editorial by Sian Lewis on SciDev.net (“a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to providing reliable and authoritative information about science and technology for the developing world“).
In normal times, Lewis’ words would sound obvious in the extreme (and no: SciDev.net is not a hotbed of hard-core AGW skeptics – read also this). But these times of “climate porn” (see also here and here) are not normal times at all.
A few excerpts from Lewis’ article:
- research agendas must both respond to social needs and offer good science
- fulfilling the second condition is more tricky
- There is clearly a link between insect-borne diseases and climate
- But a whole host of non-climate factors also influence disease transmission…
- So we mustn’t go overboard, reading too much into the role of climate change at the expense of research into other triggers of these major diseases
- good science is crucial for good policy
- The task is urgent — but this must not lead to short-cuts
The editorial is an introduction to
“a series of articles [that] explore the evidence for (and against) the notion that climate change will worsen the burden of insect-borne disease, highlights gaps in our knowledge, and provides advice to policymakers“
Interestingly, given that
“the solution, according to Jonathan Cox, from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, is to forget predictive modelling for the moment and focus on research with a better chance of improving disease control“.
“Forget predictive modelling”…if only!!
Andy Revkin at DotEarth’s “Welcome to Earth’s ‘New’ Ocean: The Arctic” (about the navigation of the “Northeast Passage” by two German ships) has not yet found time to reply to my question as outlined below:
In Tom Nelson’s blog there is a link at Answer.com where several sources (including Wikipedia) repeat information about the Northeast Passage (Northern Sea Route) progressively becoming more and more easy to navigate during the last few centuries, of several expeditions going all the way decades ago, of commercial exploitation from 1877. Would Mr Revkin be so kind as to comment, and perhaps clarify what he and/or Lawson W Brigham exactly meant with “this is, indeed, a first“. – thank you in advance
Revkin’s actual words include “first known commercial shipment” and “Lawson W. Brigham, a longtime source for anything related to Arctic shipping, confirmed that this is, indeed, a first“. Yes but…a first of what? If “commercial exploitation began in 1877” then the latest “first” needs some good qualifier. Here’s what the Company managing those German ships actually claims in their website (sep 9):
We are all very proud and delighted to be the first western shipping company which has successfully transited the legendary Northeast-Passage
The two vessels will then be the first non-Russian commercial vessels to make it through the Northeast Passage from Asia to Europe
Was this all too difficult to read and understand? Would the explanation of the “non-Russian” bit have removed too much from the news for it to get any space in the newspaper?
I am not sure if I will ever get an answer from Revkin.
What I am sure of though is that a little less ambiguity and a little more explanation on his part would have been quite welcome. Otherwise readers might get the impression that either the Northeast Passage is ready for leisure yachts, or that it has been forever closed by giant chunks of ice for millennia…