Monday, April 3, 2017

On the plus side, "red teams" do sound cool

We'll need to come back and dig into this story more later. It is simply too big and hits too many issues to manage in one pass. Lots of long-running thread converge on this one: the dangerous decline in scientific standards; the war on data; the conservative movement's failure to control the misinformation flow;  the way that the movement's social engineering experiment has cultivated a conspiracy mindset.

In the meantime, check out Chelsea Harvey's account in the Washington Post:

Prominent scientists operating outside the scientific consensus on climate change urged Congress on Wednesday to fund “red teams” to investigate “natural” causes of global warming and challenge the findings of the United Nations’ climate science panel.

The suggestion for a counter-investigative science force — or red team approach — was  presented in prepared testimony by scientists known for questioning the influence of human activity on global warming. It comes at a time when President Trump and other members of the administration have expressed doubt about the accepted science of climate change, and are considering drastic cuts to  federal funding for scientific research.

A main mission of red teams would be to challenge the scientific consensus on climate change, including the work of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, whose reports are widely considered the authority on climate science.

“One way to aid Congress in understanding more of the climate issue than what is produced by biased ‘official’ panels of the climate establishment is to organize and fund credible ‘red teams’ that look at issues such as natural variability, the failure of climate models and the huge benefits to society from affordable energy, carbon-based and otherwise,” said witness John Christy, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Alabama in Huntsville, in his prepared testimony. “I would expect such a team would offer to Congress some very different conclusions regarding the human impacts on climate.”

Wednesday’s hearing, which focused on “the scientific method and process as it relates to climate change” is the latest in a series of recent House science committee hearings to challenge the existence or seriousness of climate change. In their prepared testimonies Wednesday, witnesses called by the committee’s Republican majority suggested that organizations like the IPCC present a biased view of climate change, and do not represent the views of the entire scientific community.


But climate scientist Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University, called as a witness at Wednesday’s hearing by the committee’s Democratic minority, said such bias claims are “hogwash.” Policymakers who suggest a need for alternative views on climate change are cherry-picking the science they choose to trust, Mann said.

“These folks start out with their ideology and then work backwards to decide which science they like and which they don’t,” he said in an emailed comment to The Washington Post. “But that’s not how scientific research works. It’s not a buffet where you get to selectively pick and choose what to believe. It’s not about belief. It’s about evidence.”

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