Guest Post by Willis Eschenbach
Normally, I might not deal with a four year old paper by James Hansen, the NASA doyenne of serial doomcasters. However, I note that this paper has been cited ten times this year alone, so I thought I might comment.
At some point when he was not giving a Press Conference, or getting arrested, or spending time complaining that he was being “muzzled”, Mr. Hansen wrote:
Abstract. I suggest that a `scientific reticence’ is inhibiting the communication of a threat of a potentially large sea level rise. Delay is dangerous because of system inertias that could create a situation with future sea level changes out of our control. I argue for calling together a panel of scientific leaders to hear evidence and issue a prompt plain-written report on current understanding of the sea level change issue.
I love the naked power grab. I mean, what an audacious plan!
First, you unilaterally declare that there is some huge looming disaster a long ways in the future. Using a variety of methods fair and foul, you obtain the full cooperation of other scientists, governments, educational institutions, and the media the world around. With all of you, the whole chorus, baying for skeptic’s blood in full voice, you spend a quarter century trying to convince the people of the oncoming Thermageddon.
Second, after said quarter century you notice that despite having the entire resources of the educational and media institutions of the planet and the blind agreement of other scientists and billions of dollars poured into trying … you have not been able to establish your case. Heck, you haven’t even been able to falsify the null hypothesis. In fact, after a long string of predictions of doom, none of which came to pass, and at the tail end of a 15-year hiatus in the warming, the US public doesn’t believe a word you say. Oops. Over two-thirds of them think climate scientists sometimes falsify their research. Oops.
In response, you say that the problem is that scientists have been too retice … too re … sorry, it’s hard to type and laugh at the same time … you say that scientists have been to reticent, that they haven’t been alarmist enough or aggressive enough in promoting their views.
That’s the problem? After 25 years of unbridled alarm from scientists and everyone else from Presidents to my kid’s teachers, the problem is that scientists are not alarmist enough, they’re too reticent to state their true opinion? Really? That’s the reason the public doesn’t believe you? Is that your final answer?
(Does he really, in his heart of hearts, believe that? Possible, I guess, but it presupposes a level of self-delusion that is scary …)
The real beauty of the plan, however, the sting in the tale, is the proposed solution—a “panel of scientific leaders” to inform the people of the error of our ways. I mean, the IPCC did so well, let’s make a sea level rise mini-IPCC. Staff it with people who will know what to say, who won’t have to be prompted.
Mr. Hansen claims he is a scientist first and an activist second. He and far too many other climate scientists are activists first, and scientists maybe fourth or fifth if at all. He proposes convening a Star Council of Jim and his hand-picked acolytes to lecture us sternly on a radical sea level rise slated to occur when they are dead? He wants us to listen to his pals make predictions they’ll never be held accountable for? And all this from the man who in 1988 predicted a 10 foot (3m) sea level rise putting parts of NYC underwater in forty years? Fuggedaboutit. He probably felt safe with such a long-term prediction. In any case, we’re more than halfway there, and since 1988 the sea level in NYC has gone up by 2.5 inches (6 cm). Would you buy a sea level prediction from Jim?
There certainly are many problems in the field of climate science. Reticence on the part of climate scientists to clean up their own backyard is high on the list.
Reticence on the part of climate scientists to make alarmist claims, about sea level or any other imagined future disaster, is not on the list at all.
The main problem, however, is thinking that it’s a communications problem. It’s not. The problem is that Jim and his Climategate pals lied and cheated and pulled strings and even destroyed evidence in order to advance their views. All of that was revealed clearly in the UEA emails. They stand convicted by their own words.
As a result, lots of folks don’t believe a word that the climate scientists say. And reasonably so. I have seen no reason to believe they are now acting differently. There has been no “mea culpa” from even one individual involved. Noble Cause Corruption appears to have rotted the ethical parts of their brains entirely. They don’t even think they did wrong … and the rest of the honorable, decent, good climate scientists? Well, by and large they played the faithful dog Spot, they rolled over and played dead.
That’s the problem, not communications or reticent scientists. I had hoped that Climategate would lance the boil and the healing could begin … foolish boy, wrong again …
So no, I believe I’ll pass on the brilliant plan for the formation of the Official Panel Of The Sea-Level Wise Men. No need to even read the novel, most of us have seen the IPCC movie, and would prefer not to be forced to sit through a bad sequel.