Thursday, March 10, 2011

Why NPR should be de-funded

The argument for funding NPR is that they can focus in greater depth than commercial news sources, giving listeners more background and context around important stories.  This leads directly to a better informed electorate (so goes the argument) which is a public good.

It's not true, and here's proof.  The most important science story today is about what's happening in Climate Science, where a much touted "consensus" is entirely collapsing.  This is required viewing, and will only take 4 or 5 minutes:

Who is this "denier"?  Some pseudo-scientific blogger hack with no background of note?  Actually, no:
Richard Muller is Professor of Physics at the University of California at Berkeley, Faculty Senior Scientist at the Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, and President of Muller & Associates LLC.

Rich has been awarded the MacArthur Prize, the National Science Foundation Alan T. Waterman Award, the Texas Instruments Foundation Founders Prize, the Distinguished Teaching Award, and the Donald Sterling Noyce Prize. He was named by Newsweek as one of top 25 innovators in the US in all fields in 1989, and featured in Forbes Magazine in March 2009. He is a fellow of the American Physical Society, American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the California Academy of Sciences. He is the author of over 120 scientific articles and eight books, including Physics for Future Presidents: The Science Behind the Headlines (Norton, 2008).
So Dr. Muller (also Chairman of the UC Berkeley Physics Department) says that certain scientists - the group that used "Mike's Nature trick" to "hide the decline" are scientists he won't pay attention to anymore.  That they're scientists who wouldn't stand up to peer review.  That their kind of science isn't done at Berkeley - particularly changing data and refusing to release data to other scientists who ask.

That this is the reason he's heading up an effort to provide an Open Source temperature record, where all data and all computer code is available via the Internet:
The most important indicator of global warming, by far, is the land and sea surface temperature record. This has been criticized in several ways, including the choice of stations and the methods for correcting systematic errors. The Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature study sets out to to do a new analysis of the surface temperature record in a rigorous manner that addresses this criticism. We are using over 39,000 unique stations, which is more than five times the 7,280 stations found in the Global Historical Climatology Network Monthly data set (GHCN-M) that has served as the focus of many climate studies.

Our aim is to resolve current criticism of the former temperature analyses, and to prepare an open record that will allow rapid response to further criticism or suggestions. Our results will include not only our best estimate for the global temperature change, but estimates of the uncertainties in the record.
In other words, these scientists do not believe that the current data stands up to scrutiny.  Scientifically speaking, the conclusions behind the theory of Anthropogenic Global Warming - that humans are catastrophically changing the climate - are not supported.  That the theory may in fact be correct, but that the current state of climate science is so muddled that the only way forward is to reset the data sources to zero and build a trustworthy store from which to start the analysis fresh.

As I said, this is unquestionably the most important science story today - trillions of dollars in mitigation costs are being mooted, based on what the scientists are throwing out.

And this story will never be on NPR - or if it is, it will be reported as a "political" story, because "all scientists believe in climate change".  My proof for this?  James O'Keefe's hidden camera sting of NPR:

All that you've probably been hearing about the NPR sting is how this same NPR VP said that Republicans are stupid, Tea Partiers are racist, and the Joooooos control the media.  This story cuts to the very heart of the justification for NPR funding - greater story depth leading to a better informed electorate.  By this guy's own admission, NPR will never talk about the the massive scientific shift that's occurring today in climate science.  The "consensus" is utterly gone, shattered, because lots and lots of serious scientists simply don't trust the climate scientists most prominent to date.

And who are those prominent scientists?  If you watch Dr. Muller's presentation carefully, you will see that the graphs are captioned: Mann, Jones, Briffa.  They are Dr. Michael Mann (of "hockey stick" fame), Dr. Phil Jones (of ClimateGate fame), and Dr. Keith Briffa (of YAD061 fame, where he "proved" global warming by using data from a single tree).

And what are the implications?  Well, Dr. Muller doesn't name the names, but everyone knows he's talking about them.  He says he won't read any scientific papers published by them.  What have they been writing lately?

The IPCC Assessment Reports about the state of the science of climate change, where they are lead editors.  These are the reports that governments all over the world rely on to set climate policy.

This story is simply enormous, and if you rely on NPR for your news you'll never know it's happening.  De-fund them.

Via Donna Laframboise, Dr. Judith Curry (a climate scientist and member of the Berkeley Open Source effort), and Andrew Breitbart.


russell1200 said...

I don't think he is exactly a denier. He is saying the evidence is too fuzzy to say that humans are causing the temperature increase.

I am ambivalent about the strength with which he makes his case.

However, I also think it is moot. He says himself that it is getting warmer. And since there is absolutely no evidence that we will do anything other than burn every last bit of fossil fuel we can get our hands on, it doesn't matter why.

So you have global warming with an argument as to its causes. Great!

SiGraybeard said...

Excellent summary Borepatch. The fundamental problem is in the bottom, where you wrote,"What have they been writing lately?

The IPCC Assessment Reports about the state of the science of climate change, where they are lead editors. These are the reports that governments all over the world rely on to set climate policy."
So the frauds and liars are still the main advisors to the rulers.

There are many, many reasons to believe that AGW is simply bad science, and this is a good summary. It's also true (and Dr. Muller brings this up) that bad science discredits all science. AGW made me reverse a lifetime of thinking that the government should fund basic research because the time horizons are too far out for industry.

Is the world getting warmer? Probably - it tends to do that between ice ages (or the ice ages wouldn't be over). It seems that the world has been gently warming and sea levels gently rising since the end of the last ice age, just as it has many times before.

The important part of that is that if you don't lie about the historical record (cough, Michael Mann, cough, Keith Briffa) you find that at many times in the past it has been warmer than now, and that CO2 levels have been higher than now, long before man was even here, let alone driving SUVs. And you find that, in general, CO2 levels follow warming, they don't cause it. Most importantly, you realize that if CO2 levels have been much higher in the past, the runaway positive feedback predicted by all the Global Circulation Models can't possibly be true, or we wouldn't be here. Which nicely agrees with satellite data saying the CO2 feedback is negative, not positive, thereby increasing stability.

BS Footprint said...

Yeah, it's just incredible.

One minor point: If I heard correctly, the NPR rep said that "all educated scientists believe..." -- it's something that bugs the you-know-what out of me, because it's one of those subtle ways of marginalizing anyone who doesn't toe the line. Another control mechanism. Conform. You're educated, aren't you? You're smart? Then you must believe as we do.

I look forward to the day when NPR, PBS and CPB get nothing from taxpayers. Nothing. I just hope it happens soon.

Charles said...

Wow. That would have to be THE best analysis I have seen on this topic. Thanks Borepatch. Hope this goes far and wide.