Posts Tagged ‘climate gate’

How To Put Climate Deniers in Their Place

Wednesday, January 11th, 2012

Note: This post first ran on True/Slant in 2010. Assuming that its archives will be deleted at some point, I’m moving some of my True/Slant articles here.

Climate scientists themselves figured out that disastrous claims about Himalaya glaciers were seriously wrong. It’s a matter of public record.

Climate deniers want you to believe that predictions of a glacier-free range by 2035 were deliberate lies, and that those lies were uncovered by right-thinking people.

That’s why deniers are calling this Glaciergate, thereby implying a coverup like the original Watergate scandal.

The whole back-and-forth is like an ax manufacture who chops the base of an enormous oak to prove that clouds hold trees upright.

THOK! See? The clouds won’t let the tree fall. THOK!

Another man runs from his home to the tree and back with math showing  how clouds are too high and can’t pull trees up. More math: Leaf movement is due to wind. More math: Wind is part of atmospheric pressure differences that are related to the creation of clouds. More math: Clouds can create wind, which blows leafs, but only after atmospheric conditions have created the clouds.

THOK! I’ve been chopping this tree for 20 minutes, folks, and the tree is still standing, because the clouds are holding it up. THOK!

So, how do you compete with the jerk with the ax?

One school of thought is to fight fire with fire. Challenge everything the opposition says.

Can they demonstrate – with the same confidence and transparency employed by scientists working for the IPCC – that the danger of doing nothing is negligible and that greenhouse gases pose no risk to the planet? Could their arguments withstand the same rigorous examination that took place during Glaciergate?

via Glaciergate was a blunder, but it’s the sceptics who dissemble | Robin McKie | Comment is free | The Observer.

Won’t work. The class brain can’t face down bullies by asking them to prove scientifically that he’s a gaywad.

Sorry. I’m analogy-happy today.

The answer is what it’s always been.

1. Put out your peer-reviewed findings as fast as you like and transparently as you can. Openly state probabilities, alternatives and doubts.

2. Have a phalanx of communicators who make the findings real to non-scientists. These people liaise between the public and the experts, so they better know almost as much as the front-line researchers. (How are the efforts to clone Carl Sagan going?)

3. Have a core of eminent experts who are always connecting the dots and solidifying the science foundation. Problems they spot are transparently fed back to the researchers. Loan these people and the communicators to media, schools, Meetups and the like.

4. Feed contradicting information into the communications assembly line.

5. Always, always be feeding the assembly line so there’s never a gap in solid, relatable information with which to make the case.

6. Build this system now as the present process is phased out. There’s no committee for changing leaf matter into fertile dirt, and that seems to work pretty well.

If climate change is a important to humanity as it seems to be, it’s worth expanding the scientific process to include simple but rigorous communications principles.

Subscribe to RSS feed