British Science Chief Condemns Climate Alarmists
By David J. Theroux • Wednesday January 27, 2010 12:09 PM PDT • 3 Comments
In the fallout from Climategate, the Times of London reports that Great Britain’s chief scientific adviser John Beddington has now become highly critical of the dismissive and disreputable tactics and exaggerated claims of climate alarmists within the scientific community.
Professor Beddington said that climate scientists should be less hostile to sceptics who questioned man-made global warming. He condemned scientists who refused to publish the data underpinning their reports.
He said that public confidence in climate science would be improved if there were more openness about its uncertainties, even if that meant admitting that sceptics had been right on some hotly-disputed issues.
He said: “I don’t think it’s healthy to dismiss proper scepticism. Science grows and improves in the light of criticism. There is a fundamental uncertainty about climate change prediction that can’t be changed.”
He said that the false claim in the IPCC’s 2007 report that the glaciers would disappear by 2035 had exposed a wider problem with the way that some evidence was presented.
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Professor Beddington said that particular caution was needed when communicating predictions about climate change made with the help of computer models.
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“When you get into large-scale climate modelling there are quite substantial uncertainties. On the rate of change and the local effects, there are uncertainties both in terms of empirical evidence and the climate models themselves.”
He said that it was wrong for scientists to refuse to disclose their data to their critics: “I think, wherever possible, we should try to ensure there is openness and that source material is available for the whole scientific community.”
He added: “There is a danger that people can manipulate the data, but the benefits from being open far outweigh that danger.”
Phil Jones, the director of the University of East Anglia’s Climatic Research Unit and a contributor to the IPCC’s reports, has been forced to stand down while an investigation takes place into leaked e-mails allegedly showing that he attempted to conceal data.
In response to one request for data Professor Jones wrote: “We have 25 or so years invested in the work. Why should I make the data available to you when your aim is to try and find something wrong with it?”
Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate Change at the Climate Research Unit (CRU) in the University of East Anglia, where many of the Climategate documents originated, has further noted the following regarding the IPCC’s exaggerated claims in the IPCC’s 2007 report on glaciers:
“Climate scientists get kudos from working on an issue in the public eye but with that kudos comes responsibility. Being open with data is part of that responsibility.”
He criticised Rajendra Pachauri, the IPCC chairman, for his dismissive response last November to research suggesting that the UN body had overstated the threat to the glaciers. Mr Pachauri described it as “voodoo science”.
Professor Hulme said: “Pachauri’s choice of words has not been good. The question of whether he is the right person to lead the IPCC is for the 193 countries who make up its governing body. It’s a political decision.”
The Times article ends by summing up some of the climate alarmists’ exaggerated and erroneous claims (pertaining to glaciers, sea levels, polar sea ice, and global temperatures), all of which are disputed by the actual scientific findings.