The only thing we can be sure of about the future is that it will be absolutely fantastic. So if what I say now seems to you to be very reasonable, then I have failed completely. Only if what I tell you appears absolutely unbelievable, have we any chance of visualizing the future as it really will happen.

- Arthur C. Clarke (h/t Brin)

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Fergus, Roger Sr., and James !?!

I imagine Fergus and James have this up but I discovered it via ICE who points to the informal publication on Roger Pielke Sr.'s "blog-qui-n'est-pas-un-blog-car-on-ne-peut-pas-commenter"

"Is There Agreement Amongst Climate Scientists on the IPCC AR4 WG1?" I'm pretty much in agreement with ICE, so I'll just paraphrase for those who don't read French. Basically, a set of published authors in a preselected set of climate journals (somehow including me in the mix, a bit of a stretch I'm afraid) was asked to what extent they agree with IPCC WGI. The majority thought it just right, with about equal numbers thinking it overstated vs understated the risks, and not a single person contacted supported the "no such thing as global warming" hooey, unsurprisingly.

ICE says (if I may translate) "overall, I find the whole honest and the results unsurprising". ... "The incorrigible Pielke nevertheless presents these results as being much more diverse than commonly asserted and the failure to publish in EOS or Nature indicates a scandalous politically motivated repression of contrary opinion."

ICE doesn't address this lack of publication. I can't really account for its rejection as an EOS Forum piece, entirely. It might be reasonable to avoid polling of scientists as a legitimate form of scientific inquiry. Rather it might be seen as belonging in policy journals. After all, the interesting question is how well the position of the scientific community is represented in the policy sphere; not a geophysical question at all. To be sure, Pielke says

From this experience, it is clear that the AGU EOS and Nature Precedings Editors are using their positions to suppress evidence that there is more diversity of views on climate, and the human role in altering climate, than is represented in the narrowly focused 2007 IPCC report.

Perhaps the most interesting thing is how new thought patterns emerge from the online community, and how people with enough respect for truth can collaborate despite known differences of opinion. Thanks and congratulations to all involved.

Update: Joe Romm has a thoughtful opinion piece about what Fergus's poll means up on Salon.

Please direct comments to Fergus' blog here. Comments are off for this posting.