I suppose I could have made him a tosser, but I decided the the traditional rhyming slang was better.
Fred Pearce seems to have made a bit of a career out of being rubbish recently, but has now stooped to just making things up (or, just possibly, that good old journo standby, being so clueless as to what you’re talking about that your paraphrases are so inaccurate as to descend into lies).
Anyway, Pearce’s current lies [Update: as DC notes, the Newt updated its page on 2011/02/07, but without apology. Whether that means Pearce accepts his error or has been bludgeoned by the Editors, we don't know at this stage] are in the Newt Scientist where he says 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. Gavin, of course, said no such thing. In fact, what he said was:
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.
If Pearce wasn’t entirely and utterly clueless, he’d have read RC, viz Unsettled Science.
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.
A number of people (hello folks!) have pointed this out in the Newt comments, but as far as I can see there is no correction to the original article. In fact, this feels like one of those things that may get vanished, so I’d better go take a copy.
Not strictly relevant here, but yet another candidate for the tosser list is Lord Carlise, one more booster of the terrorism threat. Well, its his job. Monckton isn’t much better but Gareth has fun with him.
* That Ol’ Devil Rabett
* Things Break too.
* Deltoid has a nice round-up
* Bart quotes me, which is always a good way to get a link in return.
* Post Normal Meltdown in Lisbon, part 1 – highly recommended.