Announcing the launch of ClimateDialogue.org

Exploring different views on climate change

Goal of ClimateDialogue.org

ClimateDialogue.org offers a platform for discussions between invited climate scientists on important climate topics that have been subject to scientific and public debate. The goal of the platform is to explore the full range of views currently held by scientists by inviting experts with different views on the topic of discussion. We encourage the invited scientists to formulate their own personal scientific views; they are not asked to act as representatives for any particular group in the climate debate.

Obviously, there are many excellent blogs that facilitate discussions between climate experts, but as the climate debate is highly polarized and politicized, blog discussions between experts with opposing views are rare.

Background

The discovery, early 2010, of a number of errors in the Fourth IPCC Assessment Report on climate impacts (Working Group II), led to a review of the processes and procedures of the IPCC by the InterAcademy Council (IAC). The IAC-report triggered a debate in the Dutch Parliament about the reliability of climate science in general. Based on the IAC-recommendation that ‘the full range of views’ should be covered in the IPCC-reports, Parliament asked the Dutch government ‘to also involve climate skeptics in future studies on climate change’.

In response, the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment announced a number of projects that are aimed to increase this involvement. Climate Dialogue is one of these projects.

Topics

We are starting Climate Dialogue with a discussion on the causes of the decline of the Arctic Sea Ice, and the question to what extent this decline can be explained by global warming. Also, the projected timing of the first year that the Arctic will be ice free will be discussed. With respect to the latter, in its Fourth Assessment Report in 2007, IPCC anticipated that (near) ice free conditions might occur by the end of this century. Since then, several studies have indicated this could be between 2030-2050, or even earlier.

We invited three experts to take part in the discussion: Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology; Walt Meier, research scientist at the National Snow & Ice Data Center (NSIDC) in Boulder, Colorado; and Ron Lindsay, Senior Principal Physicist at the Polar Science Center of the University of Washington in Seattle.

Future topics that will be discussed include: climate sensitivity, sea level rise, urban heat island-effects, the value of comprehensive climate models, ocean heat storage, and the warming trend over the past few decades.

Our format

Each discussion will be kicked off by a short introduction written by the editorial staff, followed by a guest blog by two or more invited scientists. The scientists will start the discussion by responding to each other’s arguments. It is not the goal of Climate Dialogue to reach a consensus, but to stimulate the discussion and to make clear what the discussants agree or disagree on and why.

To round off the discussion on a particular topic, the Climate Dialogue editor will write a summary, describing the areas of agreement and disagreement between the discussants. The participants will be asked to approve this final article, the discussion between the experts on that topic will then be closed and the editorial board will open a new discussion on a different topic.

The public (including other climate scientists) is also free to comment, but for practical reasons these comments will be shown separately.

The project organization consists of an editorial staff of three people and an advisory board of seven people, all of whom are based in the Netherlands. The editorial staff is concerned with the day-to-day operation of researching topics, finding participants for the discussion and moderating the discussions between the experts. The main task of the advisory board is to guard the neutrality of the platform and to advise the editorial staff about its activities

Editorial Staff

Project leader is Rob van Dorland of the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI). Van Dorland is a senior scientist and climate advisor in the Climate Services section and is often operating at the interface between science and society.

The second member is Bart Strengers. He is a climate policy analyst and modeler in the IMAGE-project at the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and has been involved in the discussion with climate skeptics for many years.

The third member is Marcel Crok, an investigative science writer, who published a critical book (in Dutch) about the climate debate.

Questions

We welcome comments on this blog and are happy to answer any questions regarding this project. You can send an email to info [at] climatedialogue [dot] org.

Website: ClimateDialogue.org

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HaroldW

“It is not the goal of Climate Dialogue to reach a consensus, but to stimulate the discussion and to make clear what the discussants agree or disagree on and why.”
An excellent goal. Where the IPCC went wrong was in forcing a consensus view in their summaries, rather than an objective assessment of the range of informed views, and uncertainties in our knowledge.

pat

Bookmarked into the Science file.

Bloke down the pub

Better late than never. Or as Rick said”Louie, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship”.

What a fine idea. The closest thing so far to Michael Crighton’s suggestion of how to de-bias science.

Alan Millar

I think this is a good initiative. The more informed discussion and dialogue there is in science the better it is.
Of course if you are of ‘The Faith’, of whichever complexion, then you will not likely agree that there should be any public debate, other than debate between others of the same ‘Faith’.
You should see the thread on ‘Real Climate’ on this issue. Most of the posters there are apoplectic that people of ‘the faith’ should be debating with others.
It is quite disturbing really but not surprising. The more reality diverts from their beliefs the more strident do their pronouncements and proposed actions become. This is a well observed phenomenen it allows them to group together safe in their own world, immune from any crticism and no obligation to address uncomfortable facts and questions.
Mitch

MinB

Love the concept but must question your choice of experts for the first topic. The three are all Americans, might a more internationally diverse group add more credibility and perspective?

Reblogged this on Climate Ponderings and commented:
New Resource

temp

“We are starting Climate Dialogue with a discussion on the causes of the decline of the Arctic Sea Ice, and the question to what extent this decline can be explained by global warming.”
Not exactly a promising start… Shouldn’t they first start by defining what global warming is and a whole lot more of other such things along the line…
This seems like another typical “global warming is real, we know its real, we just need to find something to convince the public that its real” discussion.
They really should start with the basics and that would be defining and laying out the framework of what global warming is, what disproves global warming, etc.

Tony McGough

Splendid initiative. Well done, the Dutch.

Roger Longstaff

The inclusion of Judith Curry in this process is very welcome, and indicates that it is a serious attempt to encourage rational debate.
Also, with respect to “The public (including other climate scientists) is also free to comment, but for practical reasons these comments will be shown separately” is most welcome. Hopefully this will be heavily moderated and trolls (from both sides) will be banned in short order.

Johan Silén

Yes please!

timothy sorenson

I have been having discussions with other faculty members and referencing this site. A real uphill battle. But does anyone have the origin of the use of ‘denial’ and does anyone have compiled a bibliography of warmist or skeptic JOURNAL articles, or even AGW and CAGW papers whose conclusions are quite moderate?
Thanks in advance.

auto

So far, so good. I do hope this works as it says on the box.
Invitee identity will be important.
“Future topics that will be discussed include: climate sensitivity, sea level rise, urban heat island-effects, the value of comprehensive climate models, ocean heat storage, and the warming trend over the past few decades.”
More that I would like to see are: –
Surface station numbers, siting, and reliability;
Solar variation, given that we have only a few centuries of records – and the earlier ones are, perhaps, lees precise than the later ones;
Models versus facts.

Kev-in-Uk

The proof will be in the pudding – so to speak. ‘Invited’ scientists may well be experts in their fields, but it will be interesting to see if they can dissassociate from the ‘bias’ in real discussion. If this happens, I agree it will be a first step to rejoining science with its proper ‘method’!

john robertson

Reminds me of the Mark Twain ” A lie will be halfway around the world before truth gets its boots on”. Progress for honesty in climate science? Wait and see but its a promise of return to science in climatology.

Isn’t it depressing that this project would have to be considered “unprecedented” in today’s
climatology world? The scheme’s biggest fault,it seems, is the small number of participant
scientists to be included, and the apparent end of discussion.These issues should be open ended
and revisited as events warrant.

Hope they have a plan for dealing with the enviro-trolls

Pat Frank

They’re starting their dialogue at the wrong point. It needs to be much more basic. Question 1 should be: are climate models reliable?
What’s the point, after all, of discussing the fate of Arctic sea ice if recent climate warming can’t be causally assigned to anthropogenic CO2 (or anything else)?
The uniform failure of governments to engage disinterested third party engineering validation and verification studies of climate models, before embarking on policy decisions, has been the worst dereliction of process since the descent into WWII.
And here, with the choice of Arctic sea ice as the first topic of discussion, we have the same blindness to basic issues on full display.

Dutch, so it is biased. Pretty pointless site therefore.

MikeP

My only issue is that the question itself is biased, in that it asks the extent to which the Arctic ice decline can be explained by global warming. IMHO, the question should also include the extent to which the decline in ice can be explained without global warming. Just because the decline could possibly be explained by global warming (and I think there are significant issues here) does not mean that global warming is actually the cause (or dominant cause).
Biasing discussion questions is one way of controlling debate. The framework for the IPCC is similarly biased, which is one reason it comes out the way it does.

I have actively participated on Climate Dialogue. I am not impressed. The first subject was Arctic sea ice, and the only “skeptic” invited to comment was Judith Curry. I have enormous respect for Judith, but she really is not a skeptic. The discussion excluded any discussion of Antractic sea ice, and seemed to be deliberately biased, So Climate Dialogue might just turn out to be another forum where The Cause can be discussed oin behalf of The Team. I will wait for the next subject to be discussed, but if it is as biased as the first, then I dont think Climate Dialogue will be any more than a pale imitation of RealClimate.

Crispin in Waterloo

@timothy sorenson
The origin of the ‘denier’ attack word is a journalist in Washington. A lady if I recall correctly. It was discussed on WUWT so maybe someone with better searchings skills than I can find the article and comment.
I presume the choice of the first topic is to get a lively participation as it is topical, well noised abroad and controversial. It is also something the AGW people think they can easily win because missing is missing so even rejecting scientific explanations that it is not warmer (for example) promoters of CO2 can still say, ‘But the ice is still missing’ as if that proves their mechanism. Interesting that it is to be a scientific discussion while simultaneously holding that prophecy is an integral element of the outcome.
I commend the creation of the discussion space and I will make it more widely known.

Jim Clarke

Hmmm…sounds like a step in the right direction, but when you are miles off course, a step is not a lot to get exited about. Nonetheless, a journey of a thousand miles begins with such a step.

sailboarder

“My only issue is that the question itself is biased”
I agree. A better start would be to ask how ocean temperature data, ENSO, PDO, wind data, solar wind changes, planetary dynamics, etc etc can explain the ice loss. Without a handle on natural variabilty, the model results are necessarily junk.
Thus I conclude right off that there is a CAGW bias to this “science” site.

Gary

The initial goals seem praiseworthy and potentially helpful, but I wonder about the editorial and advisory boards. It’s a given that they will have biases. Will they publicly define and defend them so we know what filters are being applied to the “dialogue”? Also, what prevents hijacking by advocates of any stripe as the inevitable turn-over happens? How are board members vetted and replaced? Let’s have complete transparency so we can have some confidence in the effort.

temp

Jim Cripwell says:
November 16, 2012 at 10:26 am
Well thats is unfortunate but unsurprising.

Mark and two Cats

William Connelly (aka “Stoat”) of Wikipaedia infamy discusses ClimateDialogue.org on his blog:
[snip]
In it he says “…they’re going to have to work out how to suppress the nutters…”
He is self-editing!


Goal of ClimateDialogue.org
ClimateDialogue.org offers a platform for discussions between invited climate scientists on important climate topics that have been subject to scientific and public debate. The goal of the platform is to explore the full range of views currently held by scientists by inviting experts with different views on the topic of discussion. We encourage the invited scientists to formulate their own personal scientific views; they are not asked to act as representatives for any particular group in the climate debate.

No Thank you.
V.

grumpyoldmanuk

“.they are not asked to act as representatives for any particular group in the climate debate.” is a long way from, “they are asked NOT to act as representatives for any particular group…” We can be quite certain that advocacy groups will attempt to control this initiative. The saving graces are that Prof. Curry, who has a wealth of experience in deflecting aggressive and manipulative behaviour, is part of the platform, and that Cloggies are traditionally very difficult to overawe or deflect from a set purpose. As a Complete Non-Scientist, I’m looking forward to this latest attempt to get more light and less heat from the debate.

kadaka (KD Knoebel)

Arctic Sea Ice
Intro: What are the causes of the decline in Arctic sea ice? Is it dominated by global warming or can it be explained by natural variability?
Walt Meier: …cannot be explained without the long-term warming trend that has been attributed to anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Judith Curry: My assessment is that it is likely (>66% likelihood) that there is 50-50 split between natural variability and anthropogenic forcing, with +/-20% range.
Ron Lindsay: I believe fundamentally the main process causing the decline in Arctic sea ice is increasing greenhouse gases.
The way this becomes unbiased dialogue is by convincing people this is what an unbiased presentation looks like.
This is much like the unbiased media coverage of the 2012 US Presidential election. When the correspondent would toss out a neutral question to the panel, composed of the die-hard Democrat who always supported Obama, the “moderate” Democrat who could agree Obama could have worn a different tie, and the one or two token Republicans who would think Romney could do better by being more like Obama.

Alan A.

Is this for real? It sounds too good to be true. Have they invented some new device that filters out bias?

Yep, as Marshall McKluen said, “The MEDIA IS THE MESSAGE”. CLIMATE my EYE, it’s ALL, completely, 100% CO2 and the atmospheric energy balance.
Anything else is this:

It is interesting on the new site to see the discussion of the Artic sea ice with no discussion of the Antartic sea ice. Since folks are concerned about global warming, shouldn’t the discussion include why has the Artic ice shrunk and the Antartic ice increased?

Resourceguy

So far so good. One quick spot sampling of the site showed me from Judith Curry’s comment that the sea ice prediction models do not work on decadal scales. That confirms my intent to keep studying the AMO, PDO, and South Atlantic sea temp cycles, all of which are multi-decadal cycles.

I see none of the three have considered the history of the Arctic during the holocene. Most evidence suggests the Arctic has been warmer and with less ice throughout most of the time since the end of the ice age.
Indeed it is generally accepted that the LIA was the coldest period for the last 10000 years.
For instance:-
http://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/little-ice-age-was-the-coldest-period-for-10000-years/
I am not sure how we can draw conclusions about the last 100 years without understanding the longer term changes.

In line with others, I wonder they started with the Arctic? What about asking why there has been no warming for the last 15 yrs?

temp

kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:
November 16, 2012 at 11:10 am
Yes after even briefly reviewing the stuff I find this really disturbing.
Ron Lindsay ∨
“I believe fundamentally the main process causing the decline in Arctic sea ice is increasing greenhouse gases.”
Ok yeah clearly a cultists no surprise.
“Evidence for the role of greenhouse gases must come primarily from modeling studies.”
Yes thats great… pure fantasy based worlds are now evidence. Not empirical data, not observational data, not science data just fantasy worlds. Yet we review and see
“I believe fundamentally the main process causing the decline in Arctic sea ice is increasing greenhouse gases.”
Really? Based on no data outside of the fantasy world.
Then you have this
“But the actual detailed mechanisms for the decline are currently unknowable.”
Really? So lets confirm, you know for sure the arctic is melting due to CO2 but you have no evidence and you openly admit that not only can you not provide evidence but that its impossible currently to provide evidence. No religious cult overtones in this his statement at all…
One wonders if this is basically a remodeled quote based on this quote “We lost WW1 and I know it was the jews fault, I don’t know how, I don’t have any evidence but I know its the jews fault.”
Calling this “science” is borderline dangerous.

AndyG55

Next invited will be MM and JH !! Just to keep it non-biased.

AndyG55

And maybe KT.. that would be a traversty.

Jimbo

20 years overdue but better late than never. I hope the BBC is paying attention. This is (I hope) how its done. This is how all science has traditionally been done – open debate – and not declaring something being over. That was the red flag for many people.

Topics
We are starting Climate Dialogue with a discussion on the causes of the decline of the Arctic Sea Ice, and the question to what extent this decline can be explained by global warming.

Almost there, but they should have left the second part of the question out and let the scientists mention it or not and to what extent.
Imagine the same question posed about the recession of the northern polar Mars ice cap.

NetDr

What I have seen very little discussion of is that CO2 by acting like a blanket should even out temperatures and make storms milder.
Did all alarmists sleep through thermodynamics ?

john robertson

Strikes me , that dialogue requires a common language, so the terms must be defined in advance, so I emailed Climate Dialogue and asked if a dialogue on the scientific case for CAGW/CC/ect could be arranged. And as others here have said the terms must be defined, what does Climate Change mean? Climate is a changing thing is it not? I keep thinking climate change = water wet. not a useful way to express oneself if I mean water. Non-changing climate would be more unusual if history is any guide. And extreme weather? Um storm ?This meme is sad and pathetic it could only have meaning to people who have never been outside for extended periods. The presumption of AGW inherent in so much of the discussion is dishonest and I think deliberate we will see if Climate Dialogue lives up to its chosen name, otherwise it will go on to join sceptical science and real science in the dust bins of historical derision.

I too am wondering why an early topic for them is the Arctic. Why not the poles? If the Antarctic was showing a diminishing sea ice concentration, would they begin there? I fear a bias from the get-go, but I’ll give them a chance.

John West

I’m tired of this false balance!
When are we going to stop letting these alarmists have platforms from which to spill their nonsense?
/sarc

Leo Norekens

Petrossa says: November 16, 2012 at 10:20 am
“Dutch, so it is biased. Pretty pointless site therefore.”
—–
Explain please.

Stephen Richards

None of them has a history of scientific assessment. All of their statements on AGW appear to be just that. It’s our fault and don’t interrupt me. They have in the past shown a distinct lack of scientific rigour and that includes Judith even though I admire her ethics.
I’ll wait and see. As the saying goes, how can I believe what say when I can see what you do.

It all sounds wonderful on a first reading. At last, someone is setting about getting a proper unbiased dialogue going. At last, the relentless propaganda of CAGW is going to be countered in a scientific manner.
But the wonderful feeling only lasts for a few seconds, until reality returns. The first question is biased – ” a discussion on the causes of the decline of the Arctic Sea Ice, and the question to what extent this decline can be explained by global warming””. Obviously, “Arctic” should be “global”. But once that change is made, the question makes little sense, because the “decline in global sea ice” is neither significant nor uniform. But wait a moment, we’re all so obsessed with sea ice that it was easy to make the mistake that I have just made. It should be “global ice”, not “global sea ice”.
But all this is as nothing compared to the unqualified use of the term “global warming”. “Global Warming” has unfortunately succumbed to the determined and deliberate distortion of language by CAGW campaigners. “Global Warming” now means “man-made global warming”, “climate change” now means “man-made climate change”, the “climate” in “climate sceptic” doesn’t mean “climate” at all, “carbon” means “carbon dioxide”, “emissions” means “carbon dioxide emissions”, “clean” means “does not emit carbon dioxide”.
I could now re-word the first question, but it no longer makes much sense – or certainly not as a first question,
If they are serious about setting up a genuine unbiased dialogue, then they must first start by stepping back from all the “hot topics” and actually recognise two possibilities: one – that mankind is dangerously warming the planet as described by the IPCC. Two – that they are not.

Correction – “climate change” now means “man-made global warming”.
The language distortions have been so effective, it is easy to fall into the traps.

AndyG55

Looking like this new web site might be better called “Climate Monologue” .
Maybe a good idea, but a biased implementation from the get go !
using “invited” scientists means they can bias the discussion exactly how they want to.

you’ll never de-bias science, until you get government grant money out of the picture.