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I wrote the attached letter to Dr. LeMone and Dr. Seitter without realizing that you were posing relevant questions on this new blog. Since Roger Pielke, Jr. mentioned it on his blog I have read most of it and, for the most part, think I agree with where you are going. However, I do think that your blog could be improved if it were to follow the code of ethics described in the attached.
My point is illustrated in response to your comment about Michael Mann’s op-ed in today’s Washington Post, “He and other scientists in our field are finding themselves beset and beleaguered.” I am convinced that their personal convictions prompted Dr. Mann and his colleagues to not clearly define the differences between the certainties and uncertainties of climate science and that lead to this state of affairs. In particular, the “science is settled” regarding the facts that the global climate is warming, that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have increased atmospheric concentrations, and that increased greenhouse gases concentrations increase the greenhouse effect if only because we can verify those parameters with measurements. However, we cannot directly measure how much of the observed warming can be directly attributed to the increased greenhouse gas concentrations so that science is not “settled”.
Failing to acknowledge difference in uncertainty started Dr. Mann’s problems. My reading of the “climategate” material suggests that their actions exacerbated the issue. In fact I am much closer to Dr. Hal Lewis (http://thegwpf.org/ipcc-news/1670-hal-lewis-my-resignation-from-the-american-physical-society.html) than I am to the AMS at this point.
I fear the AMS is nearly as culpable as the American Physical Society because we are not following the precepts of the code of ethics described in the attachment. As a result, the debate has turned away from the issues that your blog is trying to address and the AMS has lost credibility as (to steal a phrase from Roger Pielke, Jr.) honest brokers in the debate because we have not clearly identified the temporal, spatial, and contextual limits of climate science and their confidence limits.
Therefore, I hope that your blog can adopt something like this code of ethics so that the debate of your policy issues can start on solid ground.
I sent the following letter to Dr. LeMone and Dr. Seitter on 9/30/2010:
I am writing to express my disappointment with the Society’s position relative to the “consensus” on climate change. I would hope that in the future the Society would distinguish between professional opinions and rigorous science. In particular, I recommend that something similar to the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society be followed in any future position papers.
The code of ethics for the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society includes the following statement (http://orafs.org/pdfdocs/ORAFS_codeofethics.pdf):
I recognize that my deeply held, professional convictions may conflict with the interests and convictions of others. I am obligated to be clear and honest in distinguishing between reports of results from rigorous study and my professional opinions based on observations or intuition. My professional opinions clearly so identified have value, but must not be put forward as fact. In addition, the temporal, spatial, and contextual limits of my facts and their confidence limits must be clearly acknowledged.
In my opinion when the Society signed on to the letter from leading scientific organizations that to reaffirm the consensus on climate change last October (http://www.ametsoc.org/sss/documents/climateletter.pdf ) it did not distinguish between facts and opinions. The letter correctly stated that “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring” because I think you can justify that as a fact. However, including the clause in the same sentence that “rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver” implies that also is a fact when in reality it is a professional opinion.
The “science is settled” regarding the facts that the global climate is warming, that man-made emissions of greenhouse gases have increased atmospheric concentrations, and that increased greenhouse gases concentrations increase the greenhouse effect if only because we can verify those parameters with measurements. However, we cannot directly measure how much of the observed warming can be directly attributed to the increased greenhouse gas concentrations. As a result, it is improper to state that ” greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver” as a fact as was implied in the letter.
I have no problem whatsoever if the Society were to state that it is the professional opinion of our organization that enough of the observed warming is caused by increased greenhouse gas concentrations that limiting emissions will limit the observed warming trends. But failing to acknowledge the uncertainty associated with attribution is, in my opinion, doing significant harm to your lobbying efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions because it is relatively easy to discredit. Moreover, I think it is a disservice to the Society to not follow a code of ethics that distinguishes between facts and professional opinions such as that developed by the Oregon Chapter of the American Fisheries Society.
Roger Caiazza, CCM
New Judith Curry Interview Just Published: The IPCC May Have Outlived its Usefulness
Dear Dr. Hooke,
I just wanted to send you a quick mail to let you know that we have conducted a very interesting interview with the well known climatologist Judith Curry.
It’s a very balanced interview and I thought you and your readers may be interested in reading about Judith’s concerns for climate science, how climate change is affecting the planet, reasons for the increase in scepticism and why climate scientists have lost touch with the public.
You can read the full interview at: http://oilprice.com/The-Environment/Global-Warming/The-IPCC-May-Have-Outlived-its-Usefulness-An-Interview-with-Judith-Curry.html
Some of the questions we asked Judith are:
Q. You have said in the past that you were troubled by the lack of cooperation between organizations studying climate change, and that you want to see more transparency with the data collected. How do you suggest we encourage/force transparency and collaboration?
Q. Do you feel climatologists should be putting more effort into determining the effect of the sun on our climate? As the IPCC primarily focuses on CO2 as the cause of climate change – Is the importance of CO2 overestimated and the importance of the sun is underestimated?
Q. What are your views on the idea that CO2 may not be a significant contributor to climate change?
The full interview is at: http://oilprice.com/The-Environment/Global-Warming/The-IPCC-May-Have-Outlived-its-Usefulness-An-Interview-with-Judith-Curry.html
I hope you find the interview interesting.
New Anthony Watts Interview Just Published: Climate Change without Catastrophe (News Tip)
Dear Dr Hooke,
I just wanted to send you a quick mail to let you know that we have just conducted a very interesting interview with the well known figure in the climate debate Anthony Watts.
It’s a very interesting chat and whether you agree or disagree with his comments I thought you and your readers would find some value in taking a look
A few of the topics we discussed are:
• The difference between “global warming” and “climate change”
• Why CO2 is partially responsible but oversold
• Why recent major weather events cannot be linked to CO2
• Why we should be more worried about another ice age
• Why carbon taxes won’t have any effect on the whims of Mother Nature
• How the climate debate has taken on religious proportions
• Why the Keystone protests are all for show
• Why Mother Nature will be the final arbiter of truth
• What we should and shouldn’t be doing to address global warming
• Why “climate change” has become a favorite bogeyman
• Why scientifically we’ve only scratched the surface of climate change
You can read the full interview at: http://oilprice.com/Interviews/Climate-Change-without-Catastrophe-Interview-with-Anthony-Watts.html
I hope you find the interview interesting.