Friday, February 1, 2013

Another Climate Scientist Goes Off the Reservation

They're dropping like flies -- that is the climate scientists who no longer believe the earth will warm at a catastrophic rate. Anthony Watts has the full story here.

I've commented on this blog a number of times that there is zero institutional incentive to disprove global warming. After all, literally billions are flowing into the global warming industry, far more than are provided to weather forecasting and storm warnings.

One of Anthony's commenters makes the same point:

We have a serious problem in that nearly an entire field of science depends on this issue for its revenue. How many people were in the field of “climate science” in 1965 vs. 2005? Now compare that to the number of people in other areas such as geology. This issue has created a huge amount of money and the issue itself is what has driven many to enter this field of science over the past 20 years. If this issue “goes away”, so does the foundation for their chosen career. So this is a very personal and very emotional issue to many.
There are also a lot of influential scientists, politicians, and various other personalities who have put their personal credibility on the line by making statements on the absolute certainty of this issue. It is going to be very difficult for them to admit they were wrong as people in high profile public positions tend to be more narcissistic than the general population. They believe they are smarter, they believe they are better informed, and they believe their own judgement to be better than that of the average person. For them to say that those whom they called “Neanderthals” were actually correct is going to be nearly impossible for them to pull off. The best we can hope for is something along the lines of “I made the best call I could with the information we had at the time” or something.
But it is even bigger than all of that. This issue causes a great synergy where a political group uses the issue to get buy-in for spending billions of dollars for their political objectives. Environmental groups use the issue to get buy in to spend billions of dollars for their objectives. People champion the issue and themselves are launched to celebrity status. And finally we have the people whose careers were built on the issue and maybe those careers would be at stake if it turns out the world needs fewer “climate scientists”. So we are going to have a great circling of the wagons with the celebrities and the politicians and the “scientists” all working together to keep the issue that any changes in climate are due to human actions by people in industrialized countries. Where would Andy Revkin be today without this issue? Even his career and credibility rest on this issue. Of course he is going to keep this issue alive. There is too much water now under the bridge to go trying to pump it all back.
Well said.


  1. Why would I be posting on the studies showing weaker climate sensitivity, limits to Greenland's contribution to sea-level rise, etc., if I felt my career depended on pumping up the global warming fear factor?

  2. Hi Andy,

    You are the best of the environmental reporters out there. I read your postings and you try very hard to get it right. As I'm sure you know, you have been complimented on this blog.

    That said, there are many that do not have your integrity and have hyped both the threat and the "certainty" about this issue.

    The NYT eliminated its environmental desk in December and I do not believe it is a coincidence that it occurred as evidence for catastrophic global warming weakens. So, that is one less job in the global warming industry. I suspect that is the start of a trend. Many of those employed by Big Environment are going to do everything they can to stop the lower sensitivity estimates from being published.

    Thank you for your comment.



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