Letter sent to Richard Black, Environment correspondent, BBC News website
I am not sure what you’ve set yourself up to show regarding “climate sceptics“, in the week “ahead of the launch of the IPCC’s synthesis report for 2007“.
First you treat the “sceptics community” as if it were some kind of monolith, or a political party (“Unravelling the sceptics“, Nov 12).
May I respectfully remind you that it is the Anthropogenic Global Warming proponents that need demonstrate their proposition, not the other way around.
In science, there’s usually only one way to agree, but lots of ways to disagree with something.
So what is “in the fringe” is as varied as it gets: outside the mainstream you will find those honestly doubting the Accepted Truth, alongside people with dodgy goals, and of course plenty of nutters.
It is not for the honest sceptics to answer for the dishonest ones, or for the fools.
And even among those sincerely disbelieving the IPCC’s claims, there will be quite a large range of opinions. That’s because they are not mainstream.
Today (Nov 14) you have published another baffling article “Climate science: Sceptical about bias” where you argue almost nobody provided you with evidence backing the accusations the “science itself is against” climate sceptics.
First of all it is a rather naive accusation you’ve decided to argue against. How can “science itself” be against scepticism of any sort?
At most, it would be the scientific Establishment that will show reluctance in admitting being wrong.
Anyway, in that article you proceed lamenting the dearth of evidence, only then to dismiss the biggest of it all, Nature’s rejection of Stephen McIntyre’s and Ross McKitrick’s rebuttal of Michael Mann’s Hockey Stick.
Please do make up your mind: either you are looking for evidence, or you are not looking for evidence.
The fact that you were looking for small stuff should not prevent you from seeing the big “elephant in the room”.
Also if you decide to mention something only to state that it “has been so well documented elsewhere” can you please insert at least a link of where that “elsewhere” is. It’s full of links on all BBC news pages, you know, so there must be a chance for you to help your readers investigate further, at least your own claims.
By the way, are you aware that the BBC and the IPCC have themselves pretty much rejected the Hockey Stick?
Look at this graph from one of the “In Depth” pages
That graph resembles no Hockey Stick anybody will ever want to play with. Looks more like a wide-bodied, irregular golf club…
And finally since you like challenges, how about this one: can you please point me to a page on the BBC new website showing present evidence for climate change?
I do not want to see one of the many lists of things that may, could, perhaps will happen.
All I can find is “Climate change: The evidence” that speaks of tiny raises in temperature, centimeters of melting ice and millimeters of rising seas.
You must admit it does not look like the clearest of cases.
ADDENDUM NOV 21
Richard Black has responded. Here my reply to his private message. All text below is of course mine.
(about lack of evidence for anti-sceptic bias)
You’re missing something very important there. Let me try to convey the message with a made-up report:
“Women are not much at risk of domestic violence”, journalist Mr Red reported today. “I have sent a questionnaire to many of them but few bothered to respond. There is little evidence to support that claim”.
(about what “warmers” are finding out in the “real world”)
The real-world stuff is what I am studying at the moment.
In the AR4-WG2 documente there is a map repeated several times (eg fig 1.9, p 116) with numbers and percentages for observed physical and biological changes.
Now, there is an extremely large majority of “data samples” coming from biological changes in Europe (28,115 out of a total of 29,373). Furthermore: of those 28,115 “biological European data sets”, 89% are “consistent with warming”. In other words, 3,093 “biological European” changes (11%) are “NOT consistent with warming”. That is almost three times more than the total 1,177 number of observed changes outside of “biological European” and “consistent with warming”.
I still think the “warmers” need to demonstrate their case better than that.
(about the lack of skeptical articles in mainstream scientific publications)
Aren’t you arguing ad autoritatem there…
And don’t you know, when people publish for example on “Energy&Environment”, we are told that it’s not good enough.