Sunday, December 6, 2009

The cartell

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Her is the English version, so far unpublished: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.


Jason said...

"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."

I have heard a great deal about this group. But I wonder, do they really exist, or are they just a myth?

The leading skeptical sites (the Pielkes, McIntyre, etc.) are run by people who accept the basic physics of the situation and categorically reject the idea that AGW is some sort of hoax.

So I'd like to know who you are referring to when you talk about this "other group".

Aside from Senator Inhofe and his former aide, is anyone influential seriously babbling about a climate hoax?

Anonymous said...

How about the middle middle between alarmism and ultra-skepticism as explained by Robert Murphy in this post at MasterResource:

Hoi Polloi said...

My deep respect goes out to both scientists Von Storch and Zorita for their integrety in the midth of the current scientific corruption.
Hopefully their brave example will find many followers between other scientists who still have some decency left.
Gratuliere Hans and Eduardo!

Green Research and Dev Manager said...

We can be green without being extreme. I am without a doubt a "denier" about C02 driven AGW. I also think that man impacts the environment in both heating and cooling ways that we do not fully undestand. Being more clean and more efficient is just common sense. Forcing massive changes to reduce consumption based upon "carbon" is silly and seems to be driven by a world view that has existed for centuries going back to Malthus. So I respectfully disagree with Dr. von Storch that deniers want to do nothing. I just want to avoid foolish actions where the cure is much worse than the not understood disease. We can continue to be green while not being foolishly extreme.

Thank you to the owners and whom ever leaked this information. The scientific method faithfully applied is a thing of beauty. What the AGW advocates have done is an insult to all of us on all sides of the debate.

Rich said...

Sceptics favour also just one course of action – doing nothing.

While appreciating your attempt to be even-handed this is simply wrong. Many who are sceptical of alarmist AGW theories want many things done including more efficient, less polluting energy sources.

Sven said...

Agree with the former comments. Most "sceptics" I know favours energy efficiency, additional alternative for energy production, the advance of technology regarding important environmental problems etc.. However planned econymy action based on manipulated science (or shall we say science based on unpublished data) does not serve this cause. The experiece from the 20th century is that market economy handles this vastly better. I react against the AGW matter as it manipulates science in order to build a "we and them" fealing among large groups of citizens around the world. Which is exploited by politiciens, green lobbyist organisations and companies.

Hans Erren said...

Most sceptics I know favour nuclear energy.
This has a lot of benefits: stable power generation, independence of middle east and russian gas, infrastructure for future fusion generation, cheap, clean. And if Co2 were really that dangerous, which indeed most sceptics doubt, a very substantial reduction in emissions. Only 16GW would make every dutch household gas free.

But "nuclear" is a banned word in Copenhagen.

Anonymous said...

Dr von Storch, we would like to publish the English version of this at Pajamas Media. Please contact me at chasrmartin (at) gmail (dot) com.