Guest Post by Thomas Fuller
When peripheral issues dominate the climate news agenda, it’s normally a sign that not much is happening on the scientific, political or legal front. So the fact that the blogosphere (and increasingly the mainstream) is so heavily focused on the No Pressure video and Ken Cuccinelli’s renewed subpoena of Michael Mann’s emails would tend to indicate that the climate is quiet.
But that’s not really the case. September was really warm, globally, increasing the odds that 2010 might be the warmest year since modern instruments began recording the temperature. Arctic ice, on the other hand, is recovering spectacularly quickly from a strong melt this summer. The University of Colorado seems to be saying that despite this warm weather, sea level declined….
So there is climate.
Judith Curry has put a firm stake in the ground on her weblog, discussing the potential and, perhaps more importantly, the limitations of models in climate science. The NOAA is discussing heat in the depths of the ocean and the Royal Society has revised its position on climate science overall, while here at WUWT you can easily scroll down to find interesting and relevant reports on papers and discoveries.
So there is climate science.
And the sharks appear to be circling for Rajendra Pachauri, with establishment organisations preparing the way for calls for his departure. Expectations for the climate summit in Cancun are rapidly being adjusted downwards, as are hopes for any kind of U.S. energy bill this year.
So there is politics.
To have discussion dominated by a twisted little video and what I believe a mistaken attempt to criminalize scientific error risks letting more important things slip out of control, or at least off our radar screen.
I have written enough of the No Pressure video and really don’t think there is much more to say. Big mistake, shows bad intent, use it as a reference point for evaluating further messages from the climate establishment.
And anyone who has read the book Steve Mosher and I have written knows that I think very poorly of what Michael Mann did–his actions in defense of his Hockey Stick chart were wrong, bullying, cheap and destructive of scientific publishing protocols and procedures.
But it didn’t rise to a criminal level (that was the UK deleting emails in advance of Freedom of Information requests, not Michael Mann). What Ken Cuccinelli is doing is going fishing for wrongdoing without an allegation of such wrongdoing–and that’s not how we should be doing things in this country.
I’ll get a lot of flack from you on this–and don’t be shy, I can take it. But remember as you write–District Attorneys are not always Republican, and controversial scientists can be skeptics at times, too. Don’t let your desire for a short term victory in the daily news cycle let you ignore what would be an erosion of all our civil liberties, I beg of you.
And let’s turn the discussion back to matters that we will at least remember three months down the road. Science, news and politics bring us enough material for discussion. We’ve noted the scandals, observed the wheels in motion. I’m not saying forget what has happened recently.
But let’s get back to the subject at hand.
Thomas Fuller http://www.redbubble.com/people/hfuller