The German version of this essay was published online by die WELT, see.
Her is the English version, so far unpublished:
The climate cartel
The Copenhagen conference will commence in a few days, and the parties are getting active. Also on the side of science, where two groups fight for dominance in providing knowledge – which allegedly will determine the right conclusion.
One group is speaking of a last opportunity to avoid catastrophe, a last chance, rebuilding economy and society; the need to support the poor people and the guilt of the developed countries – these "alarmists" get support from highly visible scientists, who contribute with dire perspectives – even more dramatic than what we heard so far – of future climate by their "Copenhagen Diagnosis". It had all what one would expect; cherry picking, the little now in famous "trick" auf blending different data, disregarding different views, reiterating falsified claims and using dramatization. Problem is that many of us have read that the activity of some of the most outspoken of the 26 scientists had been revealed by the illegal publication for the stolen e-mails at CRU. These e-mails had exposed to the open that a cartel had been formed to ensure the dominance of the group's view of climate; to ensure that dissenters would not be considered by the evaluation of the IPCC, that the review process would be influenced to root out claims opposing the own view. A cartel making sure that key decisions and assessments are consistent with the group's view. Purportedly to keep the "sceptics" out, and what a sceptic would be, they determined themselves – anybody not agreeing to them.
The other group knows that all this talk about anthropogenic climate change and its dire consequences is false, a hoax; elevated greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere have no or only an insignificant effect, mostly positive indeed. And now, after the stolen CRU mails have shown up, it has become clear that we all have been mislead by a small group, the Team, who have manipulated data and the scientific process. Actually, they claim, temperatures are now falling. The "nail in the coffin of anthropogenic warming". One could even abandon the meeting in Copenhagen.
So both groups had their days in the last week. Of course the meeting in Copenhagen will take place. I expect a number of nice-sounding statements to be agreed upon ("greenwash"), some implementations will follow, but temperature will continue to grow – hopefully be much less than otherwise, but maybe only a little.
In fact, such a situation is to be expected in a field which is best described by the concept of post-normal science. When the science is necessarily uncertain – because of the complexity of the issues, and not because scientists are stupid – and when society is concerned and considers the implementation of significant measures, then science becomes post-normal. In such a situation, the ability to dominate the understanding becomes a massively significant asset. Then it is no longer the accuracy, the solid scientific basis of knowledge claims, but the acceptance among the public, media and decision makers, which is required. The utility of the scientific statements matters, not the scientific method which would give the results authority.
In a sense, both groups are rather similar in their distorted view of the world, in their ruthless usage of science subordinate to preconceived "good" policies. They are damaging the independence of science, they damage the democratic process.
What type of science does society need? Not a science, which is politics in disguise, a think-tank dedicated to fulfil the needs of value-based political agendas. It needs a science which helps society to sort out problems, to understand phenomena, to discuss options. But doing so, it helps society to arrive at decisions without actually favouring specific decisions, which are the privilege of the democratic society. But, admittedly, there is a tendency among activist scientists to question the wisdom of our democratic system.
To understand phenomena, sort out options, advantages and disadvantages science is answering "what-if questions" – what happens to temperature, sea level and mountain frogs, for instance, when we continue to emit a growing amount of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere? How much less will temperature grow, if the global emissions are reduced by 80% until 2080?
Science has not the competence to tell humankind that it must adopt the 2 degree goal, but it can work out what would be needed to do so. Society, and its democratic system, are empowered to decide that it should be the 2 degree goal. And indeed, society has arrived at the decision that we do not want to have significant man-made climate change. This is a social agreement, not a scientific truth. And global society very probably will strengthen this agreement in Copenhagen.
To support society in its decision making, science needs to do a cold, an impassionate analysis about the options – all options. About mitigation in the form of reducing emissions, mitigation in the form of global and local geo-engineering (e.g., un-doing urban warming) and ubiquitous adaptation to the risks of present and of in future changing climate.
Unfortunately, the climate cartel has worked to limit the debate in the scientific arena, and to limit the range of options to just one option, in accord to their worldview – reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. Sceptics favour also just one course of action – doing nothing.
Reducing greenhouses gas emissions is certainly a key element to reach the socially agreed goal of limited man-made climate change, but there are other avenues which need to be examined.