Friday, January 12, 2018

Watching the Climate Science® sausage getting made

This is nothing that we haven't suspected for a long time, but is richly documented here:
Short summary: scientists sought political relevance and allowed policy makers to put a big thumb on the scale of the scientific assessment of the attribution of climate change.
Bernie Lewin has written an important new book:
The IPCC is the UN organizations that puts together Assessment Reports every 5 years (we're due for AR6 in a couple years).  These reports are supposed to document the current best understanding of climate science.

What is particularly interesting is how long ago all this started.  What's not surprising is that the driving force back then was a scramble for research grant funding by scientists:
The peak of interest in climate among atmospheric scientists was an international climate conference held in Stockholm in 1974 and a publication by the ‘US Committee for GARP’ [GARP is Global Atmospheric Research Programme] the following year. The US GARP report was called ‘Understanding climate change: a program for action’, where the ‘climate change’ refers to natural climatic change, and the ‘action’ is an ambitious program of research.
[There was] a coordinated, well-funded program of research into potentially catastrophic effects before there was any particular concern within the meteorological community about these effects, and before there was any significant public or political anxiety to drive it. It began in the midst of a debate over the relative merits of coal and nuclear energy production [following the oil crisis of the 1970’s]. It was coordinated by scientists and managers with interests on the nuclear side of this debate, where funding due to energy security anxieties was channelled towards investigation of a potential problem with coal in order to win back support for the nuclear option.
This was almost 50 years ago, which is plenty of time for a scientific bureaucracy to grow up around this topic.  Remember, where you have bureaucracy, you have Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy:
Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":
 First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration. 
Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.
The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
Now think about the often repeated "Scientific consensus" on global warming.  Think on the funding that feeds the scientific bureaucracy.  How on earth could there not be a consensus?

Of course, that consensus says precisely nothing on whether global warming is true or not.

RTWT.  It's long, and detailed, and damning.

No comments: