AGU summarily rejects minority report without due process

AGU_logoFurther Discussion on the Narrow Process of the AGU Review of Climate Change

Guest essay by Roger A. Pielke Sr.

With the appearance of the new 2013 WG1 IPCC report, it is useful to visit my recent experience with the American Geophysical Union (AGU) assessment process that I had not commented on before.

My experience exemplifies how the climate assessment processes has been “colonized” [using Ross McKittrick’s terminology –] to promote an inappropriately too narrow (and often incorrect) assessment of climate science.

To place the issue in context, I will first present the “charge” and “guidelines” presented to our Committee [highlighting specific text]

Next, I present the AGU guidelines that were provided to us [highlight added]

Guidelines for AGU position statement panels

• Following appointment to the panel, each panel member will receive a list of names and contact information of their fellow panel members.

The AGU Council and membership will be informed that the panel is working on a statement and that comments are welcome. The staff liaison will forward relevant comments to the panel and members shall consider them as they see fit.

• Each panel member should first review the charge to the committee (written by AGU public policy staff for each statement), and AGU policy on its role in advocacy of public issues and its procedures for developing Union positions (available on the web).

• The panel should begin its deliberations with a planning conference call. The panel should discuss the charge to the panel and the AGU policy on position statements so there is no misunderstanding amongst panel members. The panel should also discuss the timetable for completing a draft statement for Council review, and roles and responsibilities for panel members. AGU Public Affairs Coordinator Erik Hankin (, tel-202-777-7523) will serve as staff liaison to the panel.

• The panel should identify the primary audience or audiences for the statement as part of the preliminary discussions to help focus the writing effort. Panel members should be aware of expressions and uses of language that may not be appropriate for or may be misinterpreted by a non-scientist audience. For example, when speaking of what scientists do, avoid the verb “believe” and the noun “belief” because they are more appropriate to religion than to the scientific process. Instead, it is acceptable to use the verb “think” and, if needed, the noun “concept”.

• Typically the panel can conduct much of its business via e-mail or with additional conference calls. At least one face to face meeting is very useful to bringing diverse views into the discussion. More meetings may be required to resolve disagreements that cannot be worked out over the phone or via e-mail.

• When the panel has completed a draft statement, the AGU Public Information Manager, Public Affairs Manager, and an Eos editor will review the draft statement with the panel and offer suggestions based on their expertise that may strengthen the statement.

• When the panel is satisfied with the edited statement, the chair will submit the statement to AGU Council for their vote or comment.

However, my “comments” were not welcome. In the article by Carol Finn [highlight added]

AGU Updates Climate Change Position 20 AUG 2013

DOI: 10.1002/2013EO340006 Statement

which presents the accepted final version of the AGU Statement, this is what she wrote

The draft statement was published in Eos in November 2012 (Eos, 93(48), 502, doi:10.1029/ 2012EO480009) for member comment. The panel addressed the comments and submitted the statement for approval.

The panel did not review the wholly separate statement he drafted because it did not meet the charge from AGU’s Board.

In other words, despite stating it is AGU policy to address comments, they failed to discuss mine as summarized in my minority statement (which clearly is a “comment”).

This failure to review by the Panel is yet another example of how parochial the climate assessment process has become.


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Jim Cripwell

No-one who matters is listening to the skeptics.


Jim Cripwell:
OK, so you think you don’t matter. In that case there is no point in your posting here.

Mark Nutley

Haha Jim, no one who matters listens to anyone

Bloke down the pub

Comments are welcome as long as they support the right view.

Doug Proctor

“Skeptics” is a term about those who find reason (good or not) to disagree with a claim. “Deniers” is a term for those who reject that which is determined and has no reason for questioning.
This is why no one listens to the other side: as long as those who disagree are labeled “deniers”, and not “skeptics”, there is no reason to listen. One may argue with a man who says the sun’s light is more red than yellow, but not one who says it is dark when it is clearly light. The warmists have cleverly redefined their opponents into not the unconverted, but the unconvertible.

Tom G(ologist)

As a geologist I have to register my incredulity that AGU even issues statements on this topic. Ditto GSA and other so-called scientific organisations. Science organisations should have a single policy. To promote scientific research wherever it leads. This kind of thing highlights just how far our scientific organisations have strayed from what they were intended to be: places where scientists in the same discipline would be able to vet their research and get feedback and input to hone their results and conclusions, and thereby add to the body of knowledge.


Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t see what the “charge” is in this posting.


Those who want to know how the AGU and similar organisations were usurped may like to read this account by Richard Lindzen. It is a shocking read which names names


Depart the AGU, open a new association, bleed them of members until they collapse.


At October 14, 2013 at 10:53 am you say

Perhaps I’m missing something, but I don’t see what the “charge” is in this posting.

Perhaps you failed to read the final four paragraphs (each an individual sentence) of the essay.
The charge is

In other words, despite stating it is AGU policy to address comments, they failed to discuss mine as summarized in my minority statement (which clearly is a “comment”).

It cannot be known how many other comments were also ignored.

lurker, passing through laughing

Dr. Pielke, Sr. should reflect on just who is in a position of powerful influence on the AGU’s ethics panel.
It is not at all surprising that an organization that would consider Peter Glieck as a legitimate member, much less one involved with ethics, would also have a less than ethical stance itself.


I guess its a good thing very few people even know who the AGU is and hardly anyone cares what they have to say.

richardscourtney @ Jim Cripwell:
OK, so you think you don’t matter. In that case there is no point in your posting here.
Sceptics are a bit like CO2 molecules, do not matter to climate change, but are of vital importance for growing plants.
Most of us (myself included) don’t matter to the powers to be, but are of vital importance for the growing public opinion.

Willis Eschenbach

First, Roger, my thanks to you for your continued fight for transparency in the science. You have stood up for it on many fronts, including the one you detail above.
People usually think of “transparency” in science as meaning showing all of your data and code, detailing all your assumptions and logic, that kind of thing.
But there is another equally important transparency—revealing the minority view, the alternate hypothesis, the stubborn disagreement.
For me, the AGU has no business taking a position on climate science, any more than they should issue position papers on relativity. It’s not their job, and by becoming activists they dimish their own credibility, and harm science itself.
What the scientific associations at all levels could do is honestly poll their members on the subject. To me, this omission by virtually every professional scientific association is very telling. Think about all of those organizations, scientific societies and academies and associations all over the world, and hardly a one of them dares to actually ask their members what they think about the climate
Quite the contrary. As you detail above, Roger, far from asking their members what they think about climate, they violate their own procedures to deny a voice to their members who disagree with the revealed wisdom.
Pathetic. Bad AGU. Go take a time out in the corner.
And stupid, too. Didn’t I just read a study saying that alarmism turns people off, makes them less likely to do what the activists want?
Anyhow, Roger, keep up the good work. It’s much appreciated.


Thanks for your post addressed to me at October 14, 2013 at 11:20 am.
For clarity, I write to say that I fully agree with what you say. Indeed, I thought I was making the same point as you have explicitly stated by my post you have answered. Clearly, the fact of your post demonstrates that I was not clear and, therefore, I copy your comment to here for the benefit of others.

Sceptics are a bit like CO2 molecules, do not matter to climate change, but are of vital importance for growing plants.
Most of us (myself included) don’t matter to the powers to be, but are of vital importance for the growing public opinion.

Again, thankyou for your post.


Perhaps Jim Crimpwell needs to re-read this article about Dr. Barry Marshall, No one who mattered thought that this skeptic of the theory that stress induces ulcers needed to listen to him either. A lot of well connected vested interests in supplying a treatment vs. a cure got it wrong.


Willis tkhx for your comments, as usual thoughtful and to the point. If some of these organizations have membership lists that are publicly accessible, why cannot WUWT do a few polls of them to get to the core of their members’ beliefs?


Jim Cripwell says:
October 14, 2013 at 10:40 am
You think reporters & commenters in the media, the rate-payers, consumers & voters they influence & the public officials elected by the latter don’t matter? Just whom do you suppose does matter? Under the current administration public opinion may not matter, but the people won’t stand for economy-trashing, anti-scientific bureaucratic meddling forever.
Or if they do, then we deserve the financial & energy catastrophes that follow.

R. de Haan

Cancelation of free speech, suppression of opinion, ad hominem attacks…
All we need is the return of show trials.
Looks the NAZI’s or the Stalinists have taken control over the AGU.

Greg Goodman

Is this the same AGU that had a chairman of ethics in science ctte that admitted wire fraud?
Is this the same AGU that welcomes the now ex-chairman of said ethics committee at its fall meeting last year?
What has current chair-person of ethics commitee said about self-confessed wire-fraudster and and ex-chairman addressing fall meeting?
Just wondering.


I’ve often thought about the pitfalls of religious orders that allow representatives of congregations to come together in annual meetings to hammer out social commentary statements largely outside the purview of the membership. That is bad enough but at least they are not trying to reset the core belief system at these meetings. In the case of the AGU, they appear to be undermining the core of science methods as a religious exercise in social commentary. As in the case of religious orders, the membership does not think much of the sausage factory process or results and routinely dismiss them as the noise of those that commandeer group meetings. At some point though such annoyances can lead to splintering into more orders and groups. When they start selling indulgences from on high, the process accelerates.


Willis writes “For me, the AGU has no business taking a position on climate science, any more than they should issue position papers on relativity. It’s not their job, and by becoming activists they dimish (sic) their own credibility, and harm science itself.”
I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps they’ll receive better funding is why?

Jim Cripwell

To my many critics. Science can move slowly, and in the end, the empirical data will rule who is right. I am fully aware of scientific history. The current situation is that what I term the “scientific establishment” has firmly aligned itself behind the CAGW movement, sponsored by the IPCC. The question to me is, do we wait for the empirical data, or do we try to do something now, to try and show that the AR5 is load of scientific nonsense. If we are going to adopt the latter course, then we have to do something more than preaching to the choir. We need someone who has the ear of the “scientific establishment” in order to make any progress.


Jim Cripwell says:
October 14, 2013 at 12:25 pm
The empirical data already show CACA to be a load of caca.
When governments start funding real science again instead of CACA, then the “scientists” will follow. He who pays the piper calls the tune. Right now regimes have a vested interest in CACA. That may change when their subject peoples are freezing in the dark.

Jim Cripwell

Milo, Maybe. But until the warmists and the “scientific establishment” admit and agree, then no-one who matters is listening.


Jim Cripwell says:
October 14, 2013 at 12:40 pm
When it comes to policy, lots of members of Congress are already listening & heeding the message. That’s why the US avoided the carbon tax hellhole afflicting so many other countries, & the administration had to do an unconstitutional end run around Congress, using the EPA & Interior Dept. illegally to wage its war on coal & pipelines.

Village Idiot

Just how deep does this conspiracy go ?? :- ( Once the cooling starts they’ll have to listen.


Jim Cripwell, When Governments change climate will change.
BTW France is starting to go more conservative as a few other countries. Hopefully the USA will be next.


Willis Eschenbach says:
October 14, 2013 at 11:20 am

It is their job to publish data that will later be used in effort to develop proxy data for climate studies. All field work that involves acquisition of say ice cores for example is inherently geological. Likewise speleothem studies, fossil coral sampling, etc. That is why the blatant political positioning so very bad. That politically induced bias can propagate through a discipline, degrading the essential right to discourse that any science requires to proceed in a useful fashion. Worse it biases the inclination of individual scientists to look away from “consensus” when encountering anomalies.
Real paleoclimatic data developed by teams of geologists, biologists, physicists and members of other disciplines is used by paleontologists, archaeologists and workers numerous other fields in an effort to understand and interpret field data. The explicit bias in the AGU board indirectly induces biased results throughout many disciplines. The AGU should be holding to an explicitly neutral stance with teeth and toenails despite pressure from politicians and climatologists.

Dave the Engineer

Sayings to live by: “Simply because I disagree with you does not mean I am wrong.” and “There are some people you can’t help.”

Another Ian
Peter Miller

Are there any geologists, or geophysicists, out there – government employees obviously excepted – who actually support the actions and announcements of the AGU on climate?
I guess there must be some, but if they number more than a few score I would be very surprised.
Geologists understand the concept of ‘climate change’ – it’s been happening for a few billion years, so it is not surprising it continues to happen now. The problem is the subject of ‘climate change’ has been hijacked by the purveyors of bad science and those greedily feeding at the troughs of government wasteful expenditure.

David Walton

Re: Willis Eschenbach For me, the AGU has no business taking a position on climate science, any more than they should issue position papers on relativity. It’s not their job, and by becoming activists they dimish their own credibility, and harm science itself.


The downfall of the professional societies, has been the hiring of “Professional” staff. Non-profit societies are a windfall for those who have no ability other than administration. They are bureaucrats paid handsomely by the members, via dues, and have little to do other than work on fundraising and lobbying. Real professionals in the societies are too busy doing real work to ride herd on the staff. Have you ever asked yourself, “What does it take to get staff fired?” If you haven’t you should.

Louis Hooffstetter

Dr. Pielke is far too kind to the AGU, GSA, UCS, et al. using terms like “colonized” and “parochial” to describe them. These people are trying to blackball anyone & everyone (Dr. Pielke, Dr. Curry, Dr. Lindzen, etc.) who legitimately disagrees with their predetermined version of climate science. They are whores, plain and simple. The term ‘scientist’ no longer applies to any of them.

Political Junkie

Apologies for this off topic item (posted also on Currie’s blog) but many of you may not know that this is the Canadian Thanksgiving weekend. The home of McIntyre, McKitrick, Laframboise and Ball has a lot to celebrate!
We got a very special gift for Thanksgiving – Ezra Levant ( of SUN TV ) spends a full hour carving a whole bunch of new holes for David Suzuki, exposing him as a rapacious fraud and a phoney with a gigantic carbon footprint.
It takes Ezra too long to make his points, but the sheer pleasure he takes in destroying St. Suzuki is a joy to watch.

Scott Scarborough

What is Loading…?

Chad Wozniak

Everyone should read the essay by Daniel Hannan cited by Another Ian, above.
It points to a fundamental cause of the corruption and venality that has overtaken science, as well as politics – the abandonment of the basic ideals that shaped American and British Commonwealth solcieties and made them the freest and most materially successful in the history of the world.
I, for one, will fight to my dying breath for these “rights to be self-evident”, and against those who corrupt science and politics both. The gauntlet is flung before you, you who would destroy the fruits of 300 years of labor.

Jeff Mitchell

“Jim Cripwell says:
October 14, 2013 at 10:40 am
No-one who matters is listening to the skeptics.”
Here is how I as one person made a difference.
I am as much a no-one as anyone 🙂 I also happened to have as my hobby reptile breeding, specifically snakes that made good pets like cornsnakes, gopher snakes and kingsnakes. As environmental sensitivity among the public rose, these animals were regulated and protected.
Some snakes, such as Lampropeltis zonata pulchra, a subspecies of California Mountain Kingsnake were made illegal to capture. Other states had similar regulations. Arizona prohibited three species of mountain rattlesnakes and the Gila Monster. Utah (my state) prohibited the Utah Mountain Kingsnake (Lampropeltis pyromelana infralabialus) and the Utah Milksnake (Lampropeltis triangulum taylori). The result was that the people that knew how to find these animals would go about collecting them in large numbers and selling them in other states where they weren’t regulated. By prohibiting the collection of these animals, the supply was cut and the demand went up as a lot of hobbyists like to have that which they aren’t supposed to. These animals would sell for several hundred dollars a piece which made the collection even more profitable.
I set about changing Utah regulations, and met with the usual obstacles. The Division of Wildlife Resources wasn’t about to let a non-expert like me change the rules. I fought them for 20 years without success. So finally I talked to my representative in the Utah House, and he showed me the administrative rules section in the Utah Code, and then pointed me at Title 13 of the same which gives the Division authority to make rules. Then, i learned that there was a legislative committee that oversaw the rule making process. I then pointed out all the discrepancies between what the code allowed the Division to do, and what they actually did. I recruited a group of fellow hobbyists and took this list to the administrative rules committee, and the committee flat out told the Division to fix their regulations. They did, and now limited collection is allowed for almost all species in the state of Utah, AND, this is the big thing, hobbyists are now allowed to captive breed native reptiles for commerce. Once there is a supply of legal animals available the prices drop and illegal collection is significantly reduced. Since these new regulations have passed, several new populations of Mountain Kingsnakes have been discovered in Utah, and their range has been significantly expanded.
In the climate sector, look at the difference made by our host Anthony Watts who has provided a significant platform for various skeptics to publish on and show the corrupt science practices of the cult of global warming. Here, I am mostly a spectator, but I’m glad to be able to see someone sticking up for real science. The small difference I make here is to encourage those who have the expertise to expose the frauds, and do real research. Occasionally we can find relevant articles to publicize or criticize as well.
So us individuals do make a difference, especially if we unite to uncover the unsavory practices of those trying to control our lives. Sometimes the work is very lonely and discouraging, and it helps those struggling on the front lines that there is a cheer leading section to remind them what is at stake for all of us. Our message is spreading, and people are starting to understand what politicians are trying to do to us with junk science. So you do make a difference, even if you don’t think so.


It seems pointless, but Pielke is doing the right thing, that is, insist.

Alan Watt, Climate Denialist Level 7

This is a serious ethical lapse by the AGU if Dr. Pielke’s account is accurate. Perhaps this should be referred to the current ethics chair, Dr. Linda Gundersen, who assumed the duties following the resignation of Dr. Peter Gleick for “ethical lapses”. But wait, it seems Willis Eschenbach has already appealed to Dr. Gundersen on a prior issue with negligible effect.
I think by WIllis’ count, she’s at strike two in terms of addressing ethical violations, never having taken taken the bat off her shoulder, let alone as much a taken a poke at Willis’ batting practice pitches [US Baseball metaphor; apologies to foreign readers]. Who know, maybe she will have a go at it if given another chance. Or maybe we’ll have to make do with a slight edit on Ernest Lawrence Thayer’s poem “Casey at the Bat”:

Oh, somewhere in this favored land the sun is shining bright;
The band is playing somewhere, and somewhere hearts are light,
And somewhere men are laughing, and somewhere children shout;
But there is no joy for AGU – Dr. Linda has struck out.

William McClenney

Tom G(ologist) says:
October 14, 2013 at 10:51 am
Well said.
From another geologist.


The concept of the “minority opinion,” “minority report,” or “minority view” needs to be adopted more and more in science. It works perfectly well for the Supreme Court. Decisions might have as many as four minority views released essentially as part of a Supreme Court Decision.
Somehow, one was included in another matter where science was supposed to rule the day in a policy issue. The IOM was commissioned to evaluate the evidence of benefit of a range of women’s healthcare interventions. [This was all a set-up to get birth control to be covered for free via Obamacare, despite the fact that birth control is a lifestyle matter and is not a matter of healthcare since it neither cures an illness nor prevents an illness. Besides advancing this agenda, this coverage likely was a political favor to Planned Parenthood, who are on record advocating this position a year before the IOM report.]
The report included a minority opinion. Anyone can easily track down this full report, including its minority opinion.
When I heard that there was a minority opinion, I was sure it would be that birth control is not a healthcare matter, but is a lifestyle choice matter.
No; the dissenting opinion was that the supposedly top-level scientific review was commissioned and completed in a half year, a time line far to brief to be credible. That was it.
I do not know the story behind the political machinations required to get such a minority opinion included, but I would love to hear that story; totalitarians commissioning scientific panels to arrive at a pre-determined conclusion do not like to have their feathers ruffled in public.
Before the ink was dry on the IOM special report, Sebelius took that piece of “science” and used that as support for declaring the noted range of services – mammography screening and other actual health care services, along with birth control, to be covered without copay in plans governed from on-high by Obamacare.
So, even there, with an obvious tell-us-politicians-what-we-want-to-hear set-up, a minority opinion was tolerated. They should become increasingly common in “consensus” science.

ferd berple

I’m glad to hear the AGU has now decided that scientific questions can be decided by a committee vote. We can now cancel all scientific research and replace it with a committee of experts to decide all questions. use the funds save to pay off the debt.

Sweet Old Bob

Dr Pielke : you have something those effing whores can NEVER have.
Our RESPECT! (and they don’t even respect themselves)


BBould says:
October 14, 2013 at 12:15 pm
Willis writes “For me, the AGU has no business taking a position on climate science, any more than they should issue position papers on relativity. It’s not their job, and by becoming activists they dimish (sic) their own credibility, and harm science itself.”
I couldn’t agree more. Perhaps they’ll receive better funding is why?

It’s like one labor union or guild knee-jerkingly supporting another’s quest for respect and cash. Science is now a profession in conspiracy against the laity (Shaw)–IOW, a special interest group. See Dan Greenberg’s Science, Money, and Politics.

Mario Lento

richardscourtney says:
October 14, 2013 at 10:53 am
Thank you for the Lindzen Link

Mario Lento

ferd berple says:
October 14, 2013 at 3:51 pm
I’m glad to hear the AGU has now decided that scientific questions can be decided by a committee vote. We can now cancel all scientific research and replace it with a committee of experts to decide all questions. use the funds save to pay off the debt.
I agree with your sentiment here. When AGW was still en vogue about 5 years ago, a friend of mine used to spout off “If it’s not peer reviewed, it’s meaningless”. At the time I told him that he was taught to parrot that phrase from reading left wing literature. So peer/pal review and now science by committee. As H Clinton would ask, “What difference does it make?”


Richard Courtney, thanks very much for the cite to the Lindzen paper about the corruption of science. As well as being richly referenced, it offers some outstanding insights into the modern history of science and scientific institutions.
Some of the stories he tells are reminiscent of Tammany Hall at its worst. It seems that there are no ethical constraints at all on some prominent (and not-so-prominent) players in “climate science” when it comes to pushing their agenda. Lying, cheating, backstabbing and so on are to be expected in outlier members of any group of people. That’s what I thought when I read the Climategate emails. But his paper demonstrates that the rot goes much, much deeper than that. It’s not just the names that we all know and despise. And in the process, several good and honest scientists had their reputations trashed and their careers destroyed.
It’s even uglier than we thought.


Oh, and I forgot to say that the AGU’s disgraceful suppression of Dr Pielke’s comments is entirely consistent with Lindzen’s analysis. While I agree that scientific bodies should not be taking any kind of corporate stance on scientific issues, if they insist on doing so they should do it transparently. That means allowing all views (not just the received wisdom) to be publicly aired and discussed.