Fred Pearce is going down the David Rose road publishing fabricated quotes. Gavin Schmidt in a letter to New Scientist (so far unpublished there) writes:
In the piece entitled “Climate sceptics and scientists attempt peace
Fred Pearce includes a statement about me that is patently untrue.
“But the leaders of mainstream climate science turned down the gig,
including NASA’s Gavin Schmidt, who said the science was settled so
there was nothing to discuss.”
This is completely made up. My decision not to accept the invitation to
this meeting was based entirely on the organiser’s initial diagnosis of
the cause of the ‘conflict’ in the climate change debate. I quote from
their introductory letter:
“At this stage we are planning to have a workshop where the main
scientific issues can be discussed, so that some clarity on points of
agreement and disagreement might be reached. We would try to stay off
the policy issues, and will also exclude personal arguments.
The issues we have in mind are Medieval Warm Period, ice, climate
sensitivity, and temperature data. We would hope to have smaller groups
discussing these in some detail, hopefully with scientists who are very
familiar with the technical issues to lead the discussion.”
Since, in my opinion, the causes of conflict in the climate change
debate relate almost entirely to politics and not the MWP, climate
sensitivity or ‘ice’, dismissing this from any discussion did not seem
likely to be to help foster any reconciliation.
At no point did I declare that the ‘science was settled’ and that there
was nothing to discuss. Indeed, I am on record as saying the exact
Pearce might well note that even I am included in the “spectrum” that
“disagree[s] with Schmidt”!
Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to
request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone
else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.
PS. I am not a ‘leader of mainstream climate science’ either.
Commenting on Pierce and the workshop are:
I’d ask whether New Scientist wants this kind of indefensible behavior associated with their brand, but clearly they’ve given Pearce free reign to troll for page views however he sees fit.
And… if you haven’t been part of the climate wars, you might wonder why exactly any of this matters. But “the science is settled” has been one of the mantras used almost exclusively by climate denialists as a term of insult for those actually doing science (Pearce is fully aware of all this back story, of course. He isn’t using the phrase accidentally or carelessly). It is a feeble attempt at a double bind: is the science settled? ha ha, then you can’t be a scientist because real science is never settled. Is the science not settled? Oh great, then we don’t need to do anything until it is. The answer, of course, is that we know now (and indeed have for years) enough about the science to know that the world is warming now due to human activity, and will be warming more into the future from more anthro stuff.
Tamino: “This isn’t a misquote — it’s just a fabrication.”
Any conference where most of the participants are obsessed with the Hockey Stick, consider it “totemic,” and think its underlying science is unresolved simply isn’t a serious scientific meeting. Similarly, no serious journalist should simply publish two sentences questioning the underlying science without any quote from a real climate scientist or citation to the NAS and the multiple, confirming studies.
Pearce states …
Equally contentious is the charge – the pet subject of several in Lisbon – that the IPCC is “in denial” about whether ocean oscillations, which can absorb and release heat from the atmosphere but are not well represented in climate models, could explain the global warming of the past 40 years.
How does a warming ocean cause nights to warm faster than days, the troposphere to warm while the upper layers are cooling, winters to warm faster than summers, measured increases in downwelling heat, and measured decreases in outgoing heat from the planet?
What magic are the oceans performing that are mirroring the effects of greenhouse warming while simultaneously stopping the effects of massive increases in heat-trapping gases?
Many have placed their bets on Fred. Eli is not quite so sure, where, better put, from whom would Pearce have gotten his information. Jerry Ravitz who is trying to muscle his way in springs to mind and, of course, luminaries such as the Steves are right up there.
Update: At Judith Curry’s blog tallbloke writes
To set the record straight:
Because I was an ad hoc member of the invite committee I got an email asking my advice on who to invite in lieu of Gavin Schmidt and some other prominent people who had declined. The organisers inadvertantly included Gavin’s response on that email, and when I was asked one evening in Lisbon why certain people weren’t there I gave a quick praisee, including a brief reference to Gavin’s response. This made it’s way to Fred, hence the reference in his blog piece reporting on the conference.
I would just stress at this point that what I said constitutes my opinion and not what Gavin said verbatim. However I would also like to say that Gavin’s complaint to the New Scientist does not include any praisee of the passage in his original response which gave rise to my brief summary. I therefore reject Gavin’s claim that I ‘made stuff up’, and respectfully suggest that we can lay this one to rest if in a spirit of openness Gavin simply reproduces his response so people can see for themselves what he said.
If I am assailed by accusations that I have wrongfully maligned Gavin with my brief summary comment I may feel obliged to defend myself with a closer paraphrase.
Yes, they had an ether crank on the invite committee.
Update 2: Gavin Schmidt posts his actual email:
Thanks for the invitation. However, I’m a little confused at what conflict you feel you are going to be addressing? The fundamental conflict is of what (if anything) we should do about greenhouse gas emissions (and other assorted pollutants), not what the weather was like 1000 years ago. Your proposed restriction against policy discussion removes the whole point. None of the seemingly important ‘conflicts’ that are perceived in the science are ‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community, rather they are proxy arguments for political positions. No ‘conflict resolution’ is possible between the science community who are focussed on increasing understanding, and people who are picking through the scientific evidence for cherries they can pick to support a pre-defined policy position.
You would be much better off trying to find common ground on policy ideas via co-benefits (on air pollution, energy security, public health water resources etc), than trying to get involved in irrelevant scientific ‘controversies’.
I don’t think it is accurate to summarise this as “the science is settled”.
I can confirm that Fred Pearce read Gavin’s email to the organizers declining the invitation to the conference, because I (by chance) happened to be sitting with Pearce when he was provided with a copy of Gavin’s email and observed him reading it carefully.
I got Fred to read it out loud to Steve and Ross. So he couldn’t make notes at the same time. And we had a couple of beers, which may be why he didn’t remember it very clearly later.
Compare with his earlier comment “to set the record straight”
when I was asked one evening in Lisbon why certain people weren’t there I gave a quick praisee, including a brief reference to Gavin’s response. This made it’s way to Fred, hence the reference in his blog piece reporting on the conference.
Deceitful, isn’t he?