Friday, October 29, 2010

Greenberg, Pielke Jr, Mann, Ehrlich and Rahmstorf

I guess the latest climate kerfuffle (who can keep up?) is about Daniel Greenberg's review of Roger Pielke Jr's new book in Nature magazine.

By now the pattern is obvious. Someone writes an article. A few people object. Several others object to the objection, and that gives bloggers something to chew on for a day or two as the rhetoric continuously degrades until Godwin's Law takes hold. The climate bullies blow it completely out of proportion, and the public is once again misled.

Then it's on to the next faux outrage.

In this case, Greenberg was mostly reasonable, except for this:
In pursuit of public support and government action, Pielke charges, mainstream researchers in the climate-change community have fudged the science, compromised the peer-review process and encouraged governments to pursue dubious remedies, while neglecting possibilities for averting climate-caused disasters. Unrealistic scenarios for reducing carbon emissions have been pushed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), he argues, and the leaked e-mails from the notorious ‘Climategate’ episode have emboldened sceptics and diminished public confidence in scientific integrity.

Now, this is what Greenberg is saying that Pielke Jr wrote. But the problem is that he doesn't challenge it at all. These are extremely serious allegations. I haven't read Roger's book yet, but I certainly have not seen any evidence that any climate scientist has "fudged data" or "compromised the peer-review process" or made any "dubious recommendations."

Greenberg ought to have spent more space in his review on these incredible allegations.

Nor do I think it's problematic for Mann, Ehrlich and Rahmstorf to question Greenberg's judgement as exemplified by his background.
Nature should have pointed out to its readers that Greenberg has served as a round-table speaker and written a report (see for the Marshall nstitute (see

OK, nothing wrong with speaking somewhere, so that arrow should have remained in its quiver. But I can't imagine a legitimate science journalist taking an assignment from the Marshall Institute to write a report for them. Greenberg would have known exactly what the MI wanted in such a report, and he knew (or certainly should have known) that that was not consistent with today's climate science.

So how could any legitimate writer or journalist take such an assignment? Who would possibly want a Marshall Institute report on their CV?

If I were Mann and Ehrlich and Rahmstorf or any of those guys, I would by now be very fed up with people questioning my integrity and making accusations about my honesty. Legitimate scientific debate is one thing -- scurrilous attacks are something else else entirely. The climate bullies have driven this situation completely out of hand (which was, of course, their goal all along). Scientists ought to be defending themselves.

There are no fouls here, just sharp elbows. Play on.

1 comment:

John Fleck said...

David - The answer is that Greenberg seems not to have written something for Marshall. They transcribed and published his comments from the round table discussion in which he participated.