What the scientists really think about climate change.



Growing up in the 1970’s and 1980’s on a farm in a small town, I spent most of my spare time outside playing riding around on my bike with my friends, and also helping out in the family business. I never really watched a lot of television but when I did I loved to watch The Curiosity Show with Rob and Dean. For those unfamiliar, here is a random clip from one of their shows.

It was this show that really got me interested in Science. Rob and Dean had a way of making science exciting and they did this through effective communication. They could explain what they were doing and make it exciting and relevant. What young kid watching the above example wouldn’t get excited about blowing the lid off something? All that nitrogen gas was also cool and creepy.

The other show I never missed was Why is it So? with Professor Julius Sumner Miller. Here was a guy who could have been typecast into any Hollywood movie or television drama as a stereotypical nutty professor. He was brilliant, not so much because he could communicate effectively (which he obviously could) but because he was so passionate about science and self-assured and this really came through. I was left in no doubt about how he was feeling at any given moment. Recently I have become re-acquainted with Miller and have spent many hours on YouTube watching grainy copies of Demonstrations in Physics. One of my favourites was his lecture on Bernoulli. It is classic Sumner Miller and it will leave you in no doubt about his passion for physics and ability to effectively communicate. I particularly enjoy his language. His “common enchantment” is on show.

Fast forward 30 something years to today and one of my biggest laments in science is the unwillingness of scientists to really express their personal feelings about the science they are doing. Scientists are for some reason almost expected to maintain the dispassion they apply to the scientific method throughout all aspects of their life or at least to keep their personal feelings out of the public eye, especially if they are negative. Perhaps I’m generalising a bit here but it is the impression I have gotten over the years, especially where climate science is concerned. I’m not a climate scientist and I am really pissed off about the lack of action. I am really pissed off by the bullshit “arguments” put up by non-experts. I am pissed off with the media giving false balance to these morons. When I see charlatans from fossil fuel funded think-tanks on my television I want to throw something. I will throw my hands up in the air and wonder why the climate scientists are not being heard? Why aren’t they putting a human face on their findings? I know they are all passionate about their science and they have to be tearing their hair out at the prospect of what we are doing to our world.

Well, with our new dysfunctional, fossil fuel funded, climate change denying, anti-science, fossil-filled conservative government destroying renewable energy initiatives, dismantling key climate institutions, removing the only demonstrable method of reducing CO2 emissions, dishing out corporate welfare to billionaire miners and removing environmental impediments to their business interests, it seems some Australian climate experts are finally putting their thoughts in the public domain.  Joe Duggan, a master’s student in science communication at the Australian National University’s Centre for the Public Awareness of Science has asked the experts to write down their thoughts and has put them on his blog. It makes for some sobering reading.

Check it out here.




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Filed under AGW comments, Climate Change

3 responses to “What the scientists really think about climate change.

  1. I really did enjoy your last Para.
    And yes, it’s time more oxygen was given by the Media to Climate Scientist’s views on where we are and what action should be taken. But I can’t see that happening in the current political climate. There seems to be some lack of interest on the Medias part.

    I’ve put this cartoon out in various parts of the Internet because I feel it’s very apt to the thinking of those in any form of “authority”.

    This is it . . .



  2. Take care with job titles.
    With so many fields of knowledge involved, no-one can be an overall ‘climate expert’.
    When media outlets cover a news story about global warming, they often interview scientists who are said to be ‘climate experts’. Yet the complexity of the climate system is so great, encompassing as it does many dozens of sub-disciplines and exercising an influence on all life on our planet, that no such person as a ‘climate expert’ actually exists.
    Scientists who are interviewed on the media are typically expert in one or two only of the many sub-disciplines relevant to the climate system and its impacts. As Canadian professors Chris Essex and Ross McKitrick have remarked, ‘On the subject of climate change everyone is an amateur on one if not most of the relevant topics.’
    It is widely believed that the study of climate change is the exclusive province of meteorologists (who study atmospheric weather systems) and climatologists (who study the longer term averages of weather—related statistics on a monthly to an annual scale). In reality, the very wide range of disciplines and sub-disciplines that are relevant to the climate system, and hence to climate change, can be grouped into three main categories.
    * The first group comprises scientists in the fields of meteorology, atmospheric physics, atmospheric chemistry, oceanography and glaciology; these persons mostly study change over the timescale of instrumental measurements only, and are therefore primarily concerned with the atmospheric and oceanic processes that control weather and its variability.
    * A second group comprises geologists and other Earth scientists, who hold the key to delineating climate history and the inference of ancient climate processes.
    * Finally, a third category comprise those persons who study enabling disciplines like mathematics, statistics and computer modelling.
    The physical understanding of climate change provided by this already very large group of scientists and disciplines is utilised by a further group mostly biological scientists, who study the impacts of changing weather and climate on the disposition and evolution of Earth’s life forms.
    Much of the scientific alarm about dangerous global warming originate: with atmospheric scientists (some meteorologists, physicists, chemists) and computer modellers, whose perspective is heavily influenced by their knowledge of daily weather events and extremes. In contrast, climate historian including many (though not all) geological scientists, see no reason for alarm. This is because of the perspective that such scientists attain from observing the recurring patterns of climate change in the geological record, which they are made conscious of every time that they inspect an outcrop or a drill core.
    Many who study the impacts of weather and climate extremes on both community welfare and on natural flora and fauna claim expertise in climate science. Unfortunately many of these persons fail to understand the difference between the relatively slow changes that occur in the pattern of recurring everyday weather and the impact of rare but severe extreme weather events.
    Their call to prevent dangerous global warming is invoked under the mistaken belief that such action will prevent the extreme events that are in fact an intrinsic characteristic of both contemporary and past climatic regimes.
    Attaining a balanced perspective on climate change requires at least a passing familiarity with all of the three major groups of climate-related specialities, and of the impacts of climate on society and the natural biosphere, a demand that tests even the very best of scientists.
    R. Carter

    • 1. If you are going to quote somebody, please provide a link to that quote so that I don’t have to track it down. If you have a peer reviewed paper that discusses this issue, that would be even better. There’s a reason why some people write books instead of papers.

      2. Bob Carter, master of irony, hypocrisy and obfuscation. By his reasoning, advice from an oncologist that a brain tumour will affect a persons speech or sight must be rejected because that oncologist isn’t a neurologist. What Bob conveniently ignores is that there are well established interdisciplinary structures in place that allow the climate jigsaw to be put together. All of those different disciplines and the majority of scientists in those disciplines, including his, paleogeology, all say the same thing, and its the opposite of his position. He is reduced to accepting fossil fuel money to attend “climate conferences” where equally unqualified people speak well outside their areas of expertise.

      3. I have very little tolerance when it comes to pseudoscience, and unreviewed, unsupported feelpinions dressed up as “science” qualifies.

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