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Tuesday
Nov262013

Who needs to know what from whom about climate science 

I was asked by some science journalists what I thought of the new social media app produced by Skeptical Science. The app purports to quantify the impact of climate change in "Hiroshima bomb" units. Keith Kloor posted a blog about it and some of the reactions to it yesterday.  

I haven't had a chance to examine the new Skeptical Science "widget."

But I would say that in general, the climate communicators focusing on "messaging" strategies are acting on the basis of a defective theory of "who needs to know what from whom" -- one formed on the basis of an excessive focus on climate & other "pathological" risk-perception cases and neglect of the much larger and much less interesting class of "normal" ones.
 

The number of risk issues on which we observe deep, persistent cultural conflict in the face of compelling & widely accessible science is minuscule in relation to the number of ones on which we could but don't.  

There's no conflict in the U.S. about the dangers of consuming raw milk, about the safety of medical x-rays, about the toxicity of fluoridated water, about the cancer-causing effects of high-voltage power lines, or even (the empirically uninformed and self-propagating pronouncements of feral risk communicators notwithstanding) about GM foods or childhood vaccinations.  

But there could be; indeed, there has been conflict on some of these issues in the past and is continuing conflict on some of them (including vaccines and GM foods) in Europe.

The reason that members of the public aren't divided on these issues isn't that they "understand the science" on these issues or that biologists, toxicologists et al. are "better communicators" than climate scientists.  If you tested the knowledge of ordinary members of the public here, they'd predictably do poorly.

But that just shows that you'd be asking them the wrong question.  Ordinary people (scientists too!) need to accept as known by science much more than they could possibly form a meaningful understanding of.  The expertise they need to orient themselves appropriately with regard to decision-relevant science -- and the expertise they indeed have -- consists in being able to recognize what's actually known to science & the significance of what's known to their lives.

The information they use to perform this valid-science recognition function consists in myriad cues and processes in their everyday lives. They see all around them people whom they trust and whom they perceive have interests aligned with theirs making use of scientific insights in decisions of consequence -- whether it's about protecting the health of their children, assuring the continued operation of their businesses, exploiting new technologies that make their personal lives better, or whathaveyou.

That's the information that is missing, typically, when we see persistent states of public conflict over decision-relevant science.  On climate change certainly, but on issues like the HPV vaccine, too, individuals encounter conflicting signals -- indeed, a signal that the issue in question is a focus of conflict between their cultural groups and rival ones -- when they avail themselves of the everyday cues and processes that they use to distinguish credible claims of what's known and what matters from the myriad specious ones that they also regularly encounter and dismiss. 

The information that is of most relevance to them and that is in shortest supply on climate change, then, concerns the sheer normality of relying on climate science.  There are in fact plenty of people of the sort whom ordinary citizens recognize as "knowing what's known" making use of climate science in consequential decisions -- in charting the course of their businesses, in making investments, in implementing measures to update infrastructure that local communities have always used to protect themselves from the elements, etc.  In those settings, no one is debating anything; they are acting.

So don't bombard ordinary citizens with graphs and charts (they can't understand them).

Don't inundate them with pictures of underwater cars and houses (they already have seen that-- indeed, in many places, have lived with that for decades).

By all means don't assault them with vituperative, recriminatory rhetoric castigating those whom they in fact look up to as "stupid" or "venal." That style of "science communication" (as good as it might make those who produce & consume it feel, and as useful as it likely is for fund-raising) only amplifies the signal of non-normality and conflict that underwrites the persistent state of public confusion.

Show them that people like them and people whose conduct they (quite sensibly!) use to gauge the reliability of claims about what's known acting in ways that reflect their recogniton of the validity and practical importance of the best available evidence on climate change.

In a word, show them the normality, or the utter banality of climate science.   

To be sure, doing that is unlikely to inspire them to join a movement to "remake our society." 

But one doesn't have to be part of such a movement to recognize that climate science is valid and that it has important consequences for collective decisionmaking.  

Indeed, for many, the message that climate science is about "remaking our society"-- a society they are in fact perfectly content with! --  is one of the cues that makes them believe that those who are advocating the need to act on the basis of climate science don't know what they are talking about.

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Reader Comments (19)

But the problem is that the actions that will effectively mitigate climate change will *never* appear "normal" or banal, no matter who is performing them. Even if you're not talking about "remaking society" or overthrowing capitalism and all that Naomi Klein stuff, you just need to build way too much new stuff for it to ever appear "normal".

Effectively mitigating climate change requires a massive amount of renewable energy infrastructure be built. On the order of one wind turbine every five minutes, and one nuclear plant every week, for the next 25 years. See here: http://grist.org/renewable-energy/2011-02-11-gobsmackingly-gargantuan-challenge-of-shifting-to-clean-energy/

I agree that the "normal/banal" angle totally works for the kinds of local adaptation processes you have written about.

But when we're talking about communicating the need for mitigation - which is arguably the more important challenge - it's fundamentally impossible to describe the scale of changes needed and simultaneously make it seem like business as usual.

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Stenhouse

Indeed, for many, the message that climate science is about "remaking our society"-- a society they are in fact perfectly content with! -- is one of the cues that makes them believe that those who are advocating the need to act on the basis of climate science don't know what they are talking about.

Again, I point out....

Your argument seems inconsistent to me. On the one hand, you say that people assess information they hear from experts in ways that could be predicted by ideology and group identification, but on the other hand you are saying that the way that certain experts communicate would make a difference in how people who are ideologically opposed perceive what they have to say.

What would Skeptical Science folks be able to do that would make "skeptics" trust them more? I don't think that the approach that they're taking will be effective, and I don't think that their rationale they use to justify their strategy is sound or based on a thorough approach to evaluating evidence - but just because their approach may be ineffective doesn't mean that if they change their communicative strategy they would be effective in reaching people who are in ideological opposition.

And on top of that, if someone thinks that "remaking society" is what is needed - do you propose that they be dishonest and not present their actual opinions?

Again I suggest.....

The way to make progress is to change the communicative context to one where people who are in ideological opposition are asked to commit to identifying solutions that they have a stake in, through a process of stakeholder dialog and participatory democracy. Changing what people say will not have much impact, IMO. What will have an impact, IMO, is changing the communicative context to one where discussants are unified by a shared goal of controlling for (and owning up to) the biases of cultural cognition.

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

@Neil: is the goal to promote democratic policymaking informed by valid climate science or to enact certain policies? And do you think that the the "widget" -- or more importantly, the OFA video I linked to -- is likely to promote either?

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdmk38

@Joshua:

I don't think I'm being inconsistent.

What you say I say -- "that people assess information they hear from experts in ways that could be predicted by ideology and group identification" -- is what I keep saying is "pathological."

There is correlation of close to 1.0 on public views & expert views on most issues addressed by decision-relevant science. Necessarily in those cases a correlation of close to 0 between public views & individuals' group identities.

I also say that people get their information about what experts believe *in the groups that form their identities.*

But you can see how those are perfectly consistent, right? In most cases, the diverse groups that form citizens' science communication environments are in agreement. I've been saying that & saying that & saying that & saying that..

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdmk38

Naturally, the goal is to achieve sensible policies *through* democratic policymaking informed by valid climate science. I don't see why that should be an either/or question.

In fact, I'll go further. I think that democratic policymaking that is informed by valid climate science will be impossible *without* a much stronger movement in favor of a large energy transition.

The science doesn't tell us anything about policy, but any policymaking that is informed by climate science needs to be informed by what climate science tells us the scale of the problem is (very big).

As Skocpol argues in the piece you cited previously on your blog, without organized political support from mobilized constituencies, policymakers will not feel confident enough to even *propose* legislation - of any kind, conservative, liberal, market based, whatever - that really takes the scale of the climate problem seriously.

This means that without stronger mobilized support, policymaking fully informed by climate science - taking the scale of the problem into account - is impossible.

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Stenhouse

Oh and to your other question - I think the "Hiroshima bombs" widget is ludicrous and won't achieve either more democratic policymaking or good policies or anything much, other than giggles.

The OFA video... it's preaching to the choir somewhat, but research suggests that elite cues are powerful on climate change (and OFA might be considered elite cue due to association with Obama). From the Brulle et al article linked below: "A time-series analysis indicates that elite cues and structural economic factors have the largest effect on the level of public concern about climate change."

http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~brullerj/02-12ClimateChangeOpinion.Fulltext.pdf

November 26, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Stenhouse

If so many people are content with this society why does the state find it necessary to develop a surveillance infrastructure which monitors everyone and run a network of undercover operatives to infiltrate and undermine any vaguely progressive campaign organization? (I leave aside for now discussion of the use of state violence to block the development of successful alternatives to neo-liberalism when the other covert measures fail).

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterChris Shaw

"I was asked by some science journalists what I thought of the new social media app produced by Skeptical Science.....................I haven't had a chance to examine the new Skeptical Science 'widget.'"

You know, the next time you're supposed to write a review for something you haven't actually looked at, why don't you just WAIT?

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeal J. King

@NealJKing:

I wasn't "supposed" to do anything.

& I didn't write a review of anything I hadn't looked at.

Maybe next time read -- or THINK -- before commenting?

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdmk38

@Neil:

It's true that "science communication" & "sensible policies" are not "either or." But a form of science communication that implies that only one policy -- or even policy approach -- is sensible is likely not to promote genuine engagement with valid science in the democratic process.

But in any event, if your goal is to generate "large scale" changes in policy, then considerations of political economy are primary. The theory of political economy that informs the "science communication" strategies I'm adverting to is as realistic as cold fusion.

November 27, 2013 | Registered CommenterDan Kahan

Completely agree that political economy considerations are primary. I loved the post you linked to there, was really happy when it came out.

I take it you're not completely on board with Skocpol's theory of political economy described in her "Naming the Problem" paper? I had thought my argument was pretty similar to hers.

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNeil Stenhouse

Dan - some thoughts.

I think that the situation with Mojib Latif is instructive. Here we had a climate scientist who spoke directly of uncertainties related to short-term vs. long-term trends, and watched as his views were deliberately distorted by
"skeptics" to support their "motivated" views on the science. And further, although he often speaks about the uncertainties, he is often trashed in the "skept-o-sphere" because his views on the science are largely in line with the IPCC assessments. Now all this happens despite that none of what Latif communicates is similar to the culturally polarizing messaging that is regularly engaged in by folks such as those at Skeptical Science.

The situation with Tamsin is instructive. She engages with "skeptics" in such a way as to directly avoid "assault[in] them with vituperative, recriminatory rhetoric castigating those whom they in fact look up to as "stupid" or "venal."</i?

So what is the result? Is there a notable difference in the degree of polarized exchange between her and "skeptic?" Yes. But to what end? Does it produce some kind of result other than that they like her more, personally, than they d?o Michael Mann? Does it lead, somehow, to a marked shift in how the science is viewed by "skeptics"? Dpoes it make them any more likely to accept what you might call the best available science? Does it increase points of agreement about the technical issues? And w/r/t perhaps the real acid test, does it lead to productive dialog about the policy implications of continued ACO2 emissions? I would argue none of the above. And further, I would argue that it would be impossible for someone who interprets the science as supporting a view that dramatic action does need to be taken, and that climate scientists have a stake in communicating that perspective, could ever engage with "skeptics" in a significantly less polarized manner. Tasmin's more positive standing amongst "skeptics" is predicated upon the fact that she advocates (ironically, imo) that climate scientists must not be advocates.

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

Any familiarity with Adam Kahane?

http://www.amazon.com/Adam-Kahane/e/B001ICGXAA

http://www.amazon.com/Solving-Tough-Problems-Listening-Realities/dp/1576754642

November 27, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Dan -

So let me see if I understand:

In your response you are saying that the situation with issues like climate change are anomalous, and so in those situations "expert" input is evaluated through a cultural cognition bias, but not in the case of other (most) issues that haven't become polluted.

If I understand you correctly, I don't see how your response addresses my point.

Why do you think that w/r/t anomalous issues like climate change, in an already polluted environment, scientists can overcome the biasing influences by virtue of their style of communication? Mechanistically, how would the manner in which scientists communicate enable them to overcome the already existing influence of cultural cognition in their audience? Participants in discussions about climate change look to first situate and confine other participants (in particular "experts") within a pre-existing mind map, and then they look to evaluate the scientists' science accordingly. They might situation the scientist either by labeling them by group or by jumping to the scientists' conclusions and then using those conclusions to tie them to a group before actually investigating how the scientists' reached their conclusions. What matters most is where the scientist gets situated. How the scientist then communicates is secondary, IMO.

November 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

"Does it lead, somehow, to a marked shift in how the science is viewed by "skeptics"? Does it make them any more likely to accept what you might call the best available science?"

Yes, to both, although perhaps not to the extent that you would like.

It means they are more likely to listen, and think about the arguments. It means they are less likely to disagree reflexively, or argue to win, or refuse to back down. It means they are more likely to trust their basic honesty and integrity. And people are far more likely to argue on a technical level than a polemic level. But that doesn't mean that sceptics will say something is right that they thing is wrong (and think they have good reasons to think is wrong) just because Tamsin is a nice person. The difference is that it enables a civilised debate, as opposed to a food fight. But the issue is still decided on the technical arguments and evidence, not on personalities.

People like Tamsin, Judith Curry, Richard Tol, Isaac Held, Hans von Storch, and ScienceOfDoom are doing what *all* climate scientists should, and creating a debate where their words are at least listened to and respected. Unfortunately, they're still a tiny minority, and the behaviour of all the rest - and the behaviour of the rest of the scientific community in not acknowledging, let alone fixing the problems - cancels out much of the good they do. There's still a lot of anger, and it would take more than a token gesture from a handful of scientists who don't themselves have much influence to turn all of that around. In fact, it makes the contrast all the more stark - the fact that they do stand out as such a tiny minority.

"And w/r/t perhaps the real acid test, does it lead to productive dialog about the policy implications of continued ACO2 emissions?"

I would say the acid test is whether it leads to a more productive dialogue about what the evidence for catastrophic AGW actually is. I suppose that counts as the "policy implications of continued emissions", so yes, I would agree.

"And further, I would argue that it would be impossible for someone who interprets the science as supporting a view that dramatic action does need to be taken, and that climate scientists have a stake in communicating that perspective, could ever engage with "skeptics" in a significantly less polarized manner."

Depends which sceptics you talk to.

"Tasmin's more positive standing amongst "skeptics" is predicated upon the fact that she advocates (ironically, imo) that climate scientists must not be advocates."

Not precisely. Everyone knows what Tamsin's opinion is on the matter. She doesn't try to hide it.

What she is arguing is a bit more subtle - it is in effect the opposite of what Stephen Schneider argued.

"On the one hand, as scientists we are ethically bound to the scientific method, in effect promising to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but — which means that we must include all the doubts, the caveats, the ifs, ands, and buts. On the other hand, we are not just scientists but human beings as well. And like most people we'd like to see the world a better place, which in this context translates into our working to reduce the risk of potentially disastrous climatic change. To do that we need to get some broadbased support, to capture the public's imagination. That, of course, entails getting loads of media coverage. So we have to offer up scary scenarios, make simplified, dramatic statements, and make little mention of any doubts we might have. This 'double ethical bind' we frequently find ourselves in cannot be solved by any formula. Each of us has to decide what the right balance is between being effective and being honest. I hope that means being both."

Tamsin is basically arguing that there is no 'balance' to be struck. Scientists have to be honest, period, or they destroy their own position when they get found out - as they have been. The problem is that when a climate scientist acts as an advocate, those listening assume now that they're leaning towards the "effective" end of the spectrum, and judge their words accordingly. To counter this, you need to be particularly ostentatious about your standing at the opposite end.

That doesn't mean you can't express an opinion, but you do have to keep your opinion absolutely separate from the scientific argument - no "framing" the argument, or being selective about what you present, in an attempt to persuade. (Or in an attempt to avoid "giving the sceptics ammunition", which seems to be a big motivator for some.) It means not being contemptuous or dismissive.

It sounds simple, but it turns out to be very hard.

November 28, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

Comparing the reactions I've seen (anecdotal alert) to Von Storch and Latif are interesting.

Their views on the science seem to be pretty similar, and both fall into the category that most "skeptics" think is obviously and abundantly wrong, and which could only be seen as valid through a biased analysis.

Although I have seen attacks against both that they are "frauds" and the like (paraphrasing), Latif receives much more venom. Why? Because Von Storch is inclined towards personally-oriented criticisms of scientists like Mann, and broad-stroke criticisms of the IPCC's process. The different responses they get in the "skept-o-sphere" has little to do with distinctions in their scientific analyses or processes.

In other words, IMV, it's mostly about personality politics - and fits right in line with my opinion that identification and ideology dominate the actual scientific debate.

November 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

I'm not sure what reaction to Latif you are talking about. I don't doubt you have seen such, but it's not something I've noticed.

The only incident I know of involving Latif was when David Rose reported on his 2008 paper on oceanic climate cycles, regarding which Latif said that long-term oceanic cycles affected the global temperature, may have contributed around half the observed warming in the late 20th century, and might now lead to 2-3 decades of global cooling. Most of the Rose article was a fairly straightforward presentation, but in the introduction Rose connected it to the cold spell Britain was then going through, saying: "The bitter winter afflicting much of the Northern Hemisphere is only the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years, say some of the world’s most eminent climate scientists."

This connection of short-term weather events to long-term trends is, of course, endemic in environmental reporting, and something sceptics have long condemned. I'm not going to waste time parsing the sentences ambiguities - I would agree that it gives a misleading impression that the scientists had said the bitter winter (as weather, rather than simply a particular time) was the start of the trend, rather than simply that we were at the start of a global trend towards cooler weather that is likely to last for 20 or 30 years.

It's a bit difficult for sceptics to know what to say. On the one hand, we have to agree that weather is not climate, a single winter does not make a trend, and it's bad to give that impression. On the other hand, there has long been a sceptic strategy of pointing out cold weather events as a counter to the environmentalist emphasis on hot weather events, as a way of forcing them to tell the public themselves that weather is not climate. Their constant flip-flopping on the point is jarringly apparent, and revealing. So maybe that's all that Rose was up to. On the one hand, it exhibits the most outrageous double standards for climate believers to complain about this, when the environmental media has been doing exactly the same thing in the opposite direction without a whisper of complaint from them. On the other hand, we can't hold double-standards either, or we weaken the case against what the environmentalist lobby is doing.

I think the general view was that Latif *had* to protest as he did, since he was no doubt coming under pressure from the community for having "given the sceptics ammunition", and because being seen as a sceptic is professional suicide, but that given the glaring hypocrisy of the stance that this wasn't something to take seriously. You have to have some sympathy for people like Latif, stuck in a corrupt profession; but not that much, since the people who go along with it out of self-defence are a big part of the problem.

But as climate scientists go, Latif is not that bad. He's criticised the IPCC on impacts, and a few other things. If there is any particular sceptic venom to spare for him, I have no idea why that would be.

And I think sceptics noted that the people pushing Latif's complaints most loudly were some of the most hard-line advocates in the PR war, and that it was likely just part of their campaign against Rose, who had too big a public platform and was gaining too much traction for their comfort. (Plenty of venom there!) It was just another round in the bun fight.

That's just my impression, of course - entirely anecdotal.

As for "identification and ideology", I don't have the faintest idea what ideology Latif or von Storch subscribe to. They could be outright radical left-wing communists, for all I know. It wouldn't matter to me.

November 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

My use of ideology was not limited to political ideology.

On the other hand, there has long been a sceptic strategy of pointing out cold weather events as a counter to the environmentalist emphasis on hot weather events, as a way of forcing them to tell the public themselves that weather is not climate.

This is not what I see. I see "skeptics," quite frequently, using cold weather to make a specious argument that weather = climate. They aren't doing it "strategically," but fallaciously. Even if it happens less commonly in the "skept-o-sphere" than elsewhere, it still happens there and it certainly happens elsewhere. After Latif's comments about "global cooling," many, many "skeptics" were proclaiming things such as "climate scientists admits global warming is over." NiV, I really think that when you start talking about "skeptics" harp music emanates from your computer and your screen takes on a rosy hue.

I think the general view was that Latif *had* to protest as he did, since he was no doubt coming under pressure from the community for having "given the sceptics ammunition", and because being seen as a sceptic is professional suicide, but that given the glaring hypocrisy of the stance that this wasn't something to take seriously.

This is a good example of what I'm talking about. You say that you basically respect Latif's science, and then you go on to trash him with a description of someone who jettisons his scientific integrity out of personal and career ambition.

Von Storch and Latif have fairly similar views on the science, but apparently you're willing to reverse engineer from their perspective on the IPCC to draw conclusions about their integrity (would you pass judgement on Von Storch's in the same way that you have Latif's?). And yet, you don't really know anything about them personally. Perhaps Latif's views on climate change and the IPCC are precisely as he states them to be, and they are just different from yours.

"There are uncertainties regarding CO2 climate sensitivity. This is stated in the upcoming IPCC report, which summarizes the latest of science and looks at a very broad range. Here it is not appropriate to boil the whole problem down to a single magnitude: the global mean temperature. Rather it is necessary to understand exactly what is happening regionally, how the temperature develops at a location. But we are not yet that far, and perhaps we will never get that far because it is far too complex. This is why I’d prefer not to stay stuck on climate sensitivity.”

CYA about the pause and climate sensitivity? A valid scientific approach to climate change? How would you know, w/o talking to him, which is the case? But further, would you go on to claim that he makes that statement just to protect his career? Why would he do that when Von Storch is right next to him, and criticizes the IPCC and Mann and the like, and seems to have a career bubbling along just fine? This whole "they would say something different if they weren't so worried about their career" argument, so ubiquitous on the "skept-o-sphere" is one of the worst and least skeptical arguments I can think of.

Why would a skeptic display the confidence about knowing the motivation of someone he's presumably never met and never talked to?

November 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoshua

Joshua,

"They aren't doing it "strategically," but fallaciously."

Some probably do. That's the way they were educated by the climate scientists and environment journalists.

But that doesn't mean there aren't a lot who don't.

"After Latif's comments about "global cooling," many, many "skeptics" were proclaiming things such as "climate scientists admits global warming is over.""

Are you talking about headline statements referring to a switch to cooling with possible warming again later?

If a sceptic looked out of the window and said "Hmm. It's stopped raining." would you assume they meant it was never going to rain again?

"This is a good example of what I'm talking about. You say that you basically respect Latif's science, and then you go on to trash him with a description of someone who jettisons his scientific integrity out of personal and career ambition."

Well, yes. That's the problem with climate science.

"would you pass judgement on Von Storch's in the same way that you have Latif's?"

Yes.

"Perhaps Latif's views on climate change and the IPCC are precisely as he states them to be, and they are just different from yours."

Perhaps Latif's views on the IPCC are just as he says, and identical to mine? :-)
http://rogerpielkejr.blogspot.co.uk/2010/02/mojib-latif-on-zdf-fraud-to-public.html

But we weren't talking about his views on the IPCC, we were talking about his views on ocean cycles and long-term warming/cooling trends, and whether the weather is climate, and whether journalists routinely distort what we say for their own purposes - and again I'd think they were pretty much identical to mine.

Where our viewpoints differ is in which bits of all that we care about. Journalists have connected weather to climate and gone beyond what the scientists say in the alarmist direction for decades, and none of them have protested about it. In fact, they seem to regard it as a useful layer of deniability - it means they get to 'say' what they'd really like to say but can't scientifically support, while being able to claim afterwards that they didn't actually say that, and it was the journalist or politician getting it wrong. What caused the outrage was that a sceptic was doing exactly the same thing, and thereby putting out a message that they *didn't* secretly want. Which to me was just more of the same stuff we've been complaining about for decades, but to Latif was a career-threatening disaster.

"CYA about the pause and climate sensitivity?"

Did he say it publicly before the pause started, or after?

Because it's always been the case, and sceptics have been saying it since the start. If Latif has been saying it since the start too, then that's a valid scientific approach. If he kept quiet up until all the media alarmism began running into reality and only *then* started expressing caution, that's CYA opportunism.

"Why would he do that when Von Storch is right next to him, and criticizes the IPCC and Mann and the like, and seems to have a career bubbling along just fine?"

You'll notice the career help being offered to von Storch being mentioned here. http://di2.nu/foia/1051190249.txt

"Why would a skeptic display the confidence about knowing the motivation of someone he's presumably never met and never talked to?"

Because people ask.

I say "they did X", they say "why would he do that?", I say "I don't know, maybe it's something to do with The Team nixing the career of everyone who crosses them?"

I'd *love* to ask the IPCC climate scientists "Why did you do it?" But I doubt they'd admit that they did, so I have to guess. I operate on the assumption that they're human, and normal human motivations apply, but I agree it's not as good as having a proper enquiry. It will probably be a few more years yet.

November 30, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNiV

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