30 November, 2009

More on Climategate in the UK Press

The Financial Times has a good op/ed by Michael Schrage.

When doing important research about the potential future of the planet, scientists should have nothing to hide. Their obligation to the truth is an obligation to openness.

One of the comments below rings true to me: The scientists in question probably started off as being well-meaning and objective. But little by little, probably with them not even being aware of it, they allowed their prejudices and personal motivations to creep in. And that gradually tainted the process.

Mr. Schrage makes a suggestion that I think should be considered seriously: making it a requirement that all data (both raw and "processed") must be published with any paper they are associated with. The Royal Society already requires this in the UK, as do publications in many other fields. Climate research publications, however, don't seem to be this stringent. Had Professors Jones and Mann (and their associates) been more willing to share their data -- instead of actively fighting tooth and nail against its release -- then chances are the entire current mess would have been avoided.

Transparency. That's what's needed. If we're being expected to trash our economic and social systems as the cost of "saving the planet", then it damn well better be on the basis of something more tangible than "Because we say its so!".

Interesting words from Eduardo Zorita, a climate change scientist in Germany and one of the scientists whose emails were hacked and released:

These words do not mean that I think anthropogenic climate change is a hoax. On the contrary, it is a question which we have to be very well aware of. But I am also aware that in this thick atmosphere -and I am not speaking of greenhouse gases now- editors, reviewers and authors of alternative studies, analysis, interpretations,even based on the same data we have at our disposal, have been bullied and subtly blackmailed. In this atmosphere, Ph D students are often tempted to tweak their data so as to fit the 'politically correct picture'. Some, or many issues, about climate change are still not well known. Policy makers should be aware of the attempts to hide these uncertainties under a unified picture. I had the 'pleasure' to experience all this in my area of research.

Eduardo Zorita: Why I think that Michael Mann, Phil Jones and Stefan Rahmstorf should be barred from the IPCC process, linked from his website.

Hat Tip: James Delingpole, at The Daily Telegraph.

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