The Intersection

Full Disclosure

From today’s Post piece on the melting of the Antarctic ice sheet:

But some scientists remain unconvinced. Oregon state climatologist George Taylor noted that sea ice in some areas of Antarctica is expanding and part of the region is getting colder, despite computer models that would predict otherwise.

“The Antarctic is really a puzzle,” said Taylor, who writes for the Web site TSCDaily [sic], which is partly financed by fossil fuel companies that oppose curbs on greenhouse gases linked to climate change. “A lot more research is needed to understand the degree of climate and ice trends in and around the Antarctic.” [Italics added]

In this situation the question for any journalist becomes: If you feel duty-bound to describe a source in such a way as to undermine what the source saying in the eyes of the average reader, then should you really be quoting that source at all?

Comments

  1. #1 mark
    March 3, 2006

    Perhaps it’s a good idea, as it may alert readers who might come upon another article quoting this guy but not disclosing his connections. It also may be useful when considering arguments made by scientists having views differing from the mainstream–how many of them might have similar connections?

  2. #2 KenL
    March 3, 2006

    I agree.

    It helps discredit the entire line of reasoning, to associate it so clearly with an industry that has a clear conflict of interest like that.

  3. #3 Robb Heier
    March 3, 2006

    He said/she said journalism was bad enough but now showing both sides of a story has devolved into giving equal time to truths and untruths. At least in this case the untruths have a big arrow pointing at them saying, “ATTENTION, THIS MAY BE CRAP.”

  4. #4 Fred Bortz
    March 3, 2006

    You certainly shouldn’t make a blanket policy to exclude sources who might be influenced by their funders. In most cases of private-sector funding, there is a similarity of views from the beginning. A journalist should clearly point out those sources who are obvious “guns for hire” and qualify the others who may be biased but honest.

    I think a journalist should assume that readers put “consider the source” into their evaluation of an article. That is not to say that the journalist is obliged to include a contrarian source, creating a false “balance” where a strong consensus exists.

    In this case, I think the inclusion points out that global warming is nonuniform and thus harder to understand, that global climate models are constantly being refined, and that puzzles remain. No disputing that!

    I’d rather hear such things from scientists discussing the limitations of their own models, but in an adversarial situation — as climate change discussion turns out to be most of the time these days — it makes them sound wishy-washy instead of appropriately cautious about their conclusions.

    So bring in a credible critic and tell me what I need to weigh that critic’s point of view.

  5. #5 Andy Vance
    March 3, 2006

    This is the response I got from a reporter when I asked why a conservative think-tank (excised to protect the reporter’s identity) with ties to Exxon-Mobil (which was not disclosed) was cited in a story:

    I’m aware of the [think tank's] reactionary take on environmental and other issues. This is why I called them. I needed someone who would question global warming to add an opposing view point, however silly. If I’d had more time I could probably have found an intelligent bona fide expert who doubts climate change, or that it is caused by humans. This would have been difficult, however, because not many people still believe that. So you can chalk it up to deadline pressure and/or laziness.

  6. #6 kevin
    March 3, 2006

    the better question is, why ask a guy who never works on the Antarctic about the Antarctic ice sheet? There are plenty of people in the world who do work on the AIS. Here’s Taylor’s pubs list: http://oregonstate.edu/gradwater/bio/TaylorG.doc

  7. #7 Chris Mooney
    March 3, 2006

    That too.

  8. #8 Harris Contos
    March 3, 2006

    It’s Andy Vance’s post that sends chills up my spine (despite overall global warming), especially the last sentence of the quote. If I’ve got my references right, TSC Daily is the same front group where the erstwhile climate scientist, i.e. flack, Sally Baliunas hangs out. But this whole thing underscores just how lazy and smug journalists can be, adhering to a formula of “balance,” when they don’t even know, or care to know, how they’re being played for dupes, with the rest of us following suit. Will “balance” ever be replaced in journalism with “accuracy”?

  9. #9 Jon Winsor
    March 3, 2006

    Yeah, it seems that a lot of papers are content to produce the journalistic equivalent of a Big Mac and fries. It reminds me of the speeches I’ve heard in recent months by people like Bill Moyers and Al Gore on the state of U. S. journalism.

    What might help is if the stock of the real research institutions went up in the public mind–reflecting the real value of their work–while that of the ideologically-driven think tanks went down.

    Probably many people aren’t familiar with what goes on at these places. They aren’t clear that what people do all day at research institutions is science (that’s why they don’t have the time to spend on “spinning” their results for easy consumption by reporters) whereas what people often do at the ideologically-driven think tanks is a different matter. Some of their research involves how to massage the public’s perceptions on an issue. Maybe if the average citizen was aware that these places spent considerable amounts of time trying to figure out how to “play” them, the info coming out of them would have less value, and journalists wouldn’t print it.

  10. #10 Dano
    March 3, 2006

    If you feel duty-bound to describe a source in such a way as to undermine what the source saying in the eyes of the average reader, then should you really be quoting that source at all?

    It’s a symptom of he said-she said mindless journalism.

    But I think the opposing point of view should be brought out with their ridiculous assertions. Why not? When you hear a ridiculous assertion from your buddy, you can correct it.

    When an error is recognized and corrected as such, the path of error is the path to truth.

    Best,

    D

  11. #11 Jon Winsor
    March 3, 2006

    I think the opposing point of view should be brought out with their ridiculous assertions.

    Many people can’t see the ridiculousness. There are many people who are bound and determined to disbelieve climate change and will take any ammunition they can get to support this view. The reporter is citing this source as an authority. Just having this kind of information presented this way in a major print newspaper gives it a ring of legitimacy it shouldn’t have.

  12. #12 Norman Doering
    March 3, 2006

    Yes, you should quote the source but you should do more than merely suggest his funding comes from oil and is fighting to put more greenhouse gases out — you should dig deeper and prove the claims don’t add up to the kind of uncertainty the man wants to introduce. Sure we should study more — but we should also start limiting greenhouse gases too. There’s the logic that kills the argument behind the claim.

  13. #13 Chris Mooney
    March 3, 2006

    Folks, NoSeNada has more:
    http://scienceblogs.com/nosenada/2006/03/eilpern_for_the_robot_awards.php

    To be clear: I’m not saying skeptics should never be quoted, I’m just pointing out the weird cognitive dissonance of seeing someone simultaneously quoted as an expert and undermined as an expert.

  14. #14 Anonymous
    March 3, 2006

    You may be interested in this article about George Taylor

    http://www.wweek.com/story.php?story=6655

    Sample quote:

    “The best explanation I can come up with is, George is very tied into the conservative bent,” Coakley [professor of atmospheric sciences and colleague of Taylor at Oregon State University] added. “He gets all his information from the conservative-type think tanks. George picks it up and regurgitates it. Some of the stuff is half-baked at best, but sometimes it’s so bad we have to call him on it and write letters to the editor. It’s just not right; it just counters all the evidence.”

    (This quote does not refer to the melting of the ice sheet, but rather Taylor’s previous pronouncements on climate change, ozone depletion, etc.)

  15. #15 laurence jewett
    March 3, 2006

    From Dano
    “the opposing point of view should be brought out with their ridiculous assertions. Why not?”

    In other words, take the analytical/scientific approach: consider all arguments on their merits and attempt to shoot holes in each of them.

    There is just one problem with this. The problem is not with the approach itself, but with getting journalists to adopt it.

    There are actaully two sub-problems:

    1) Many journalists do not understand science well enough themselves to take this approach.

    2) This approach violates the principal of “balanced journalism” (as currently practiced, at least)

    The proponents of “balance” in journalism would undoubtedly say that “including alternative views merely in order to shoot them down” is not balance at all (not balance as they define it, at least).

    Perhaps I have this all wrong (and forgive me if I do), but it seems to me that many journalists view “balanced journalism” as the following: Give the public two opposing ‘takes’ on an issue and let them DECIDE FOR THEMSLEVES which is right and/or which to accept.

    On scientific issues, taking the above “let-the-public decide approach” is simply foolish and not JUST because science itself is not balanced, but also because, on the whole, members of the American public do not know which way is up on most things scientific. Worse yet: Most members of the American public have no clue how science even works.

    The contrarians have been very adept at exploiting both the public’s poor understanding of science AND the “balance loophole” (the propensity of the media to give opposing sides equal time and equal weight).

    I agree that it SHOULD be the goal of journalists to try to address the public’s poor understanding of science, but journalists (even those who know something about science) can hardly be expected to be a substitute for proper schooling in science.

    And even if they could (were all qualified to) properly address the scientific issues, I am not optimistic that most journalists are motivated to do so, in light of the stranglehold that “balance” seems to have on journalism these days.

  16. #16 Michael Tobis
    March 3, 2006

    Advice to journalists:

    1) Despite their name, state climatologists are not necessarily scientists any more than train drivers are engineers. This isn’t to tar all state climatologists with the same brush, but it’s a peculiar job title. The historical function of the post is just clerical, not scientific.

    2) Are newspapers required to find a flat-earth skeptic every time they mention satellites? Or is it just the more well-funded superstitious nonsense that needs constant mention in the press?

    3) In the present case, (the Antarctic ice balance) there is plenty of actual scientific controversy. Do we have to take every piece of climate science related news as an occasion to raise the “do you believe in global warming” question?

    Whether or not the Antarctic ice mass is increasing is (unlike the existence of anthropogenic global warming) actually an open question. You could find some people who know something about it it discuss it.

    4) If you don’t have the time to report competently, shut up. Science moves slowly compared to other forms of news. Take your time and get it right, please.

    5) Not everything is polluted by politics. Not every disagreement is a pissing match. Journalism’s job should be to show us how to disagree politely and constructively, not to fan the flames of our increasing political incompetence. If they need “contrary opinions” to every quote, why not just have an ill-tempered lunatic on staff? He could just go ahead and contradict everything anybody said.

    “Pittsburgh is proud of its 2006 Super Bowl winning team” said Mayor Murphy. “No, Seattle won. Pittsburgh is ashamed” said Daily Bugle staff lunatic Ima Loon.

    Thanks guys. Balanced to the end! Where would we be without you?

    6) Let’s play Spot the Scientist! http://tinyurl.com/cnrpr

    mt

  17. #17 Dano
    March 3, 2006

    Jon and laurence:

    I agree. I could have been more clear, and I’ve asked my Editor to pay closer attention.

    It is definitely difficult to predict whether the normal, average reader will get it. But if we don’t raise the bar, the alternative is a race to the bottom. My intent with my comment is to allow the bar to be raised to highlight that there is an organized oppo campaign. It certainly would help if there were more competent science journalists and there is a danger of asking journalists to be the go-between that the message gets lost.

    I guess the alternative is: we cut out any opposing voices. I can hear the septics wailing now. I don’t know if that is better, but I’m certainly frustrated at the present condition and I don’t know if I have all the answers…

    Best,

    D

  18. #18 Walter
    March 3, 2006

    Your question isn’t an easy one to answer. Just because a source has links to an advocacy group or a special interest doesn’t automatically discredit what he or she has to say. I’ve used information provided by environmental groups as long as they were upfront and showed where they got the information, and I always made sure to indentify sources and/or their ties so readers understand where they’re coming from.

    Sorry, but in this case I see a little bias in your reasoning here, given you appear to be assuming (or at least some of the previous posters are assuming) that this question only applies to those sources with corporate ties. The better question was put forward by Kevin — if this guy doesn’t research the antarctic climate, why quote him at all?

    PS. Andy Vance, the reporter who wrote that is an idiot. Glad to see he/she is bringing such professionalism to the job.

  19. #19 Andy Vance
    March 4, 2006

    Even worse, that reporter is on the “science” beat.

    The instance I cited isn’t isolated; it’s astoundingly common. I’ve been using Google News Alerts to track this particular think tank; it gets at least a half dozen hits a week in the mainstream press.

    The president of this organization has absolutely no credentials or related experience. Yet he is regularly cited as an expert on climate science as well as health-care, education, “tort reform” and wireless Internet policy.

    I discovered the think tank sends a newsletter on each of these topics to reporters and state legislators around the country. That’s why it’s in so many journalists’ Rolodexes.

  20. #20 Johnny Slick
    March 4, 2006

    I think that this is simply an outgrowth of decades of people on the right accusing the media of having a left-ward bias. It’s very similar to basketball coaches yelling at referees who are calling an even game. Not exact, because no matter how much you yell at a good ref, he won’t call the game any different. The mainstream media have been yelled at so much, they’re questioning everything.

    And the irony is, IMO organizations like FOX News do so well because they’re *not* questioning everything. Everyone knows they have a right-ward bias (“fair and balanced” slogan aside) and they aren’t afraid to keep at it. The problem here is, your local newspaper or TV news block is so concerned with getting the maximum possible number of readers/viewers, they want to perpetuate the myth that they have no bias. Therefore, when right-wingers accuse them of bias, they go out of their way to point out the “right” side of an issue, no matter how goofy that side is. Ironically, this comes off as contrived and fake and just sends more people to FOX or the liberal equivalent of FOX which I guess at this point is “The Daily Show”.

    The media really just need to admit that bias exists and is unremovable. Then they can sit down and decide from what direction their slant is going to come. That way, big bad “liberal bias” ceases to become an insult.

  21. #21 Scott Church
    March 4, 2006

    All,
    From Laurence Jewett,
    “Perhaps I have this all wrong (and forgive me if I do), but it seems to me that many journalists view “balanced journalism” as the following: Give the public two opposing ‘takes’ on an issue and let them DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES which is right and/or which to accept.”
    Absolutely, but if journalists are going to present “both sides” then both sides need to be represented, fully, and in context. George Taylor is the Oregon State Climatologist, and a friend of his own Washingon State counterpart Phillip Mote, who happens to be a good friend of mine.
    Taylor may be a climate expert in some areas, but he is not knowledgeable about every aspect of this subject and he’s leaving out a great deal here. Sea-ice is increasing in certain Antarctic regions and some regions there are getting colder, but there are well-known reasons for this and it’s to be expected. The Antarctic circumpolar vortex and the ozone hole both contribute directly to this effect, and when it’s included in climate models, they do in fact reproduce it. Taylor’s statement to the contrary is false. As for sea-ice increasing, this is to be expected as well. Breakup of ice sheets (such as Larsen B) contributes to it as does the increasing snowfall in many Antarctic regions… and no this is not proof that Antarctica is getting colder in these areas–but the exact opposite. Below freezing, increasing temperatures result in increasing atmospheric moisture load (the ideal gas laws and the Clausius Clapyron equation) and thus more snow, glacier, and ice sheet buildup. This is high school chemistry, which we have a right to expect that climate skeptic “experts” would know. If Taylor and others are going to submit criticisms of the mainstream scientific view to journalists, and policy makers, they have a professional responsibility to present full context and get it right. And journalists have an equally important responsibility to hold them to the fire to do the same. We don’t allow the Flat Earth Society to have “equal time” in public forums because this has been done in their case.
    But it is not being done in the case of global warming skeptics, and these “experts” who are studiously avoiding thoroughness and context are being paid for this by industry and Far-Right special interests. This is unconscionable and journalists have the right, and the professional responsibility, to call them onto the carpet for it–not give them “equal time”.

  22. #22 Michael Powell
    March 4, 2006

    The high dudgeon righteousness of those posting here must be of great comfort to … well, those who are posting.
    But someone might want to take a look at the article in question. The article was a lengthy look at the latest data on Antartica and overwhelmingly quoted and gave pride of place to those who say this is a troubling sign of global warming. There was not hint–as many claim here–of “unconscionable” [!] equal time nor a he said/she said square-off. We’re talking about precisely two paragraphs of contrarian viewpoint deep in a lengthy piece. And in fact the journalist took pains to note the funding background of the climatologist quoted.
    These studies are disturbing and well-worth reporting and playing prominently, as both the WPost and the NYTimes have been doing. Nor is there any doubt that climate change is occurring and is perhaps the single greatest challenge confronting mankind. But even a cursory read of a site such as Real Climate makes clear that the particular science of the Greenland and Antartic glacial melt and movement is not settled, and that a bit of humility might be brought to the interpretation of the data.
    But then again, I’m sure it’s much more fun working oneself into a lather about the perfidy of science reporters.

  23. #23 Chris Mooney
    March 4, 2006

    Hey Michael,
    Juliet Eilperin has been doing great reporting on global warming for the Post. I don’t want to detract from that. I do realize that this comments thread has become something of a general pile-on (which I think reflects a general dissatisfaction with science coverage, rather than with Eilperin’s piece in particular).

    In the original post, I merely sought to point out that the way Eilperin described this one particular source *undermined* that source so thoroughly that I wondered why this person was being quoted at all. That’s not to say that some other skeptic shouldn’t have been quoted in this particular piece, especially since, as Stoat notes (no rhyme intended), there are big uncertainties with respect to Antarctic melting
    http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2006/03/grace_puzzle.php

  24. #24 David Bruggeman
    March 4, 2006

    “The Antarctic is really a puzzle,” said Taylor, who writes for the Web site TSCDaily [sic], which is partly financed by fossil fuel companies that oppose curbs on greenhouse gases linked to climate change. “A lot more research is needed to understand the degree of climate and ice trends in and around the Antarctic.”

    The curious thing (for me) about this passage is how Eipern chooses to note the bias. She doesn’t indicate bias in Taylor due to his funding, but implies bias in Taylor due to the funding of where he writes some of his pieces. If posters here can make the connection without implication by association, why didn’t she?

  25. #25 Steve Bloom
    March 4, 2006

    Chris, I disagree. If Eilperin couldn’t find someone qualified (i.e., a glaciologist if not an Antarctic specialist), she could have left it at that. Richard Alley has plenty to say about the uncertainty of the science.

    If I recall right, didn’t the Seattle paper that did the big global warming series a few months back overtly state that since there was no longer any scientific controversy about the existence of anthropogenic global warming they were going to stop this sort of obligatory skeptic-quoting? We should encourage the WaPo and other media to follow their example.

  26. #26 Scott Church
    March 5, 2006

    Michael Powell,
    “The high dudgeon righteousness of those posting here must be of great comfort to … well, those who are posting.
    But someone might want to take a look at the article in question. The article was a lengthy look at the latest data on Antartica and overwhelmingly quoted and gave pride of place to those who say this is a troubling sign of global warming. There was not hint–as many claim here–of “unconscionable” [!] equal time nor a he said/she said square-off. “

    I believe you misunderstood me. I said that the activities of industry funded skeptics were unconscionable, not the “equal time” climate change reporting of any journalists including Ms. Eilperin. Judging from your words I’m sure you agree that global warming is a serious problem that even under the best potential scenarios will have a drastic on large portions of the human race. Taking money from special interests for either glossing over, or deliberately misrepresenting the science on so important an issue is negligent and unconscionable. Unless your moral values are considerably different than mine, I’m sure you’ll agree.
    “But someone might want to take a look at the article in question. The article was a lengthy look at the latest data on Antartica and overwhelmingly quoted and gave pride of place to those who say this is a troubling sign of global warming…. But even a cursory read of a site such as Real Climate makes clear that the particular science of the Greenland and Antartic glacial melt and movement is not settled, and that a bit of humility might be brought to the interpretation of the data.”
    I have read the article Mr. Powell, and it fully supports my statements. The article was not “a lengthy look at the latest data on Antartica”, it was a very broad overview of one single aspect of Antarctic climate–ice sheet formation and breakup. The overall tone of the article was unmistakably directed at the implications of these developments for global warming, as were Taylor’s remarks. The article notes that accoring to Taylor “sea ice in some areas of Antarctica is expanding and part of the region is getting colder, despite computer models that would predict otherwise.”

    “The Antarctic is really a puzzle…. A lot more research is needed to understand the degree of climate and ice trends in and around the Antarctic.”

    This statement is blatantly misleading. The dynamics of ice sheet buildup, transport and melt related mass loss, and their relative strengths due to climate change are are uncertain. Mass loss in particular is the only issue addressed in the paper the article discusses (Velicogna and Wahr, 2006). But Taylor implies that temperature variations and climate across the Antarctic continent are “a puzzle” and contrary to what climate models predict. As a State Climatologist he should know that is false. Climate variations across the continent are the direct result of a combination of the Antarctic Circumpolar Vortex and Circumpolar Current, CO2 related stratospheric cooling, and the ozone hole (Shindell and Schmidt, 2004; Thompson and Solomon, 2004; Gillett and Thompson, 2002). Furthermore, the inability of some climate models to account for them (e.g. HadCM3) are known to be due mainly to inaccurate Antarctic orographic representations and/or sub-grid scale effects (Turner et al., 2006; Hogg et al., 2004), but even so many aspects are well modeled, and more recent models (e.g. the DOE-supported Parallel Climate Model, or PCM) are getting much better at simulating it reliably (Cai et al., 1999; Fyfe and Saenko, 2005; arblaster and Meehl, 2005). Velicogna and Wahr spoke specifically to issues related to ice sheet mass loss (including snow level and glacial buildup, basal lubrication, and ice-sheet meltoff)–not Antarctic climate variability in general. Taylor clearly meant to imply that they did. Either he’s misinformed about Antarctic climate in general (unlikely), or he’s not being fully honest.
    “But even a cursory read of a site such as Real Climate makes clear that the particular science of the Greenland and Antartic glacial melt and movement is not settled, and that a bit of humility might be brought to the interpretation of the data. But then again, I’m sure it’s much more fun working oneself into a lather about the perfidy of science reporters.”
    Your statements about Greenland are also misinformed and irrelevant. RealClimate does, as you say, state that Greenland glacial buildup and melt issues are largely unresolved, but this says nothing about global warming in general–which the Post article concentrated on and Taylor steered his remarks toward. The larger issues of why parts of Greenland are not warming as much as the rest of the Arctic (which industry funded skeptics have made much of) is in fact due largely to the North Atlantic Oscillation, and in fact much of Greenland is warming significantly (Chylek and Lohmann, 2005). RealClimate specifically addresses the larger issue of Arctic and Antarctic climate as related to global warming (here for instance) and the way climate skeptics have misrepresented the facts on both here, here, and here for instance). Furthermore, this isn’t the first time that Taylor has misrepresented Acrtic and Antarctic climate at the behest of industry funded skeptics. He’s cited for “expert testimony” here at Fox News by industry hack Steven Milloy (of Junkscience.com fame) and produced a fully misleading report for the Marshall Institute, one of the world’s most prominent industry funded Far-Right fronts.
    As for “humility”, I don’t see that it includes excusing professional negligence for pay on the part of scientists, particularly if it’s deliberate. I have a 3-year-old daughter, and it matters to me that she and the rest of her generation inherit a livable world. Neither I, nor anyone else at this blog has “[worked themselves] into a lather about the perfidy of science reporters–we’ve done so over scientists who obfuscate scientific issues crucial to delivering that livable world to our children . This isn’t “high dudgeon righteousness” Mr. Powell–it’s our right. Whether we succeed or fail, the rest of us do our best to achieve thoroughness, integrity, and professionalism in our own work, particularly where our children’s future might be impacted. I fail to see why we shouldn’t expect the same of scientists like George Taylor or industry front groups. And I believe that it is in fact the professional responsibility of journalists as well as us to hold them accountable for it. Unless your morals are very different from mine (which I suspect they are not), I’m sure you’ll agree.

    REFERENCES
    Arblaster J.M. and G.A. Meehl. 2005. Contributions of external forcings to Southern Annular Mode trends. J Climate, accepted, October 2005.
    Cai W., Baines P.G., and Gordon H.B. 1999. Southern mid- to high-latitude variability, a zonal wavenumber-3 pattern, and the Antarctic circumpolar wave in the CSIRO coupled model. Journal of Climate, 12: 3087-3104.
    Chylek, P. and Lohmann, U. 2005. Ratio of the Greenland to global temperature change: Comparison of observations and climate modeling results. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L14705, doi:10.1029/2005GL023552.
    Fyfe, J.C. and O.A. Saenko. 2005. Human-induced change in the Antarctic Circumpolar Current. Journal of Climate, 18, pp. 3068-3073.
    Gillett, N.P., and D.W.J. Thompson, 2002. Simulation of Recent Southern Hemisphere Climate Change. Science, 302, No. 5643, pp. 273 – 275.
    A. McC. HOGG, W. K. DEWAR, P. D. KILLWORTH & J. R. BLUNDELL, (2006). Decadal variability of the midlatitude climate system driven by the ocean circulation. J. Climate, In Press.
    Shindell, D.T., and G.A. Schmidt 2004. Southern Hemisphere climate response to ozone changes and greenhouse gas increases. Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L18209, doi:10.1029/2004GL020724.
    Thompson, D.W.J., and S. Solomon, 2002. Interpretation of Recent Southern Hemisphere Climate Change.
    Science, 296, 895–899.
    Turner J, Connolley WM, Lachlan-Cope TA, Marshall GJ (2006) The performance of the Hadley Centre Climate Model (HadCM3) in high southern latitudes. International Journal of Climatology 26(1): 91

  27. #27 Michael Powell
    March 7, 2006

    Chris,

    Point taken, and a reasonable one. Thanks for the response.

    As for Scott,
    I’m not sure where to start. You throw around so many “misleadings and uninformed”, it’s clear your point isn’t dialogue. (I will say that I’m not clear where I implied that self-righteousness was not your “right”).
    I will say that, on second read, you’re right: You were aiming your “unconscionable” at Taylor, not at Eilperin. My apologies.

    Best,

    Michael

  28. #28 Scott Church
    March 9, 2006

    Michael,
    Apology accepted, and thank you. And yes, you did not actually say “self-righteousness” was not my right. But I believe you did imply that my stance, and that of others who disapprove of the activities of industry funded skeptics was a self-righteous one. I believe it wasn’t. Honest disagreement over evidence is always appropriate, but being paid to produce dishonest or careless disagreement never is.
    Those skeptics like George Taylor who are climate science professionals should know what the status of the science is. If a certain area like polar climate is not directly in their work or publishing experience, they certainly should know who’s area it is and know where to look for updates. I’m no climate scientist, but I was able to find such information, make contact with a wide range of people who are close to the latest in polar climate, and get them to sanity check my statements. If someone like me can manage this, then certainly a professional climate scientist should be able to, do you not agree? If Mr. Taylor is is fact doing this he should be addressing the work of people who are publishing in this area and demonstrating its relevance to his claims regarding whether anthropogenic climate change is real or not. I’ve seen no evidence that he has. Furthermore, I know professional climate scientists (including the Washington State Climatologist) who know him and are close to him professionally, and they corroborate my suspicions about him.
    It follows that he’s either being less than honest, or less than thorough. And this is not just my opinion–it’s also the opinion of most of his colleagues. I still fail to see why holding someone in his position acountable to either honesty or thoroughness on such an important issue is “self-righteous” and you haven’t presented one. No employer I’ve ever worked for has considered it “self-righteous” to expect my best effort or give me regular work performance reviews–and none of them would have tolerated my taking money from someone else who had a clear interest in having me give less than my best to them. And this was for work that was far less relevant to the future of the human race.

    I most certainly did not mean to imply that I wasn’t open to dialogue (my apologies if I did). But I didn’t just “throw around so many misleadings and uninformeds”, I clearly stated what was misleading and/or uninformed about them and cited my statements. If you believe my conclusions are off base then you’re more than welcome to investigate my claims in the peer-reviewed literature. If I’ve missed something, by all means point it out to me and demonstrate how it should have altered my conclusions.

    Otherwise… my point stands.

    All the best.

  29. #29 Ken Anderson
    March 14, 2006

    The earth has experienced many abrupt changes in climate in the past without mankinds help. Can someone tell me EXACTLY how increasing the level of CO2 from a mere 250ppm to a mere 370ppm can make a difference? Can someone point me to an experiment that measured the change in the absorption spectrum of air with a change in CO2 concentrations on a ppm scale?