Monday, August 30, 2010

Hans von Storch on IAC's report on IPCC

The Interacademy Council has published its Review of the processes and procedures of  the IPCC (press release)

And now for something completely different

I would like to post 4 diagrams concerning scientists’ perceptions of some aspects of the state of climate science. The data was collected in 2008. Three lists were employed in constructing the sample. List one included a list of authors, affiliations and email addresses drawn from climate journals with the 10 highest ISI impact ratings for the last 10 years. These are authors of climate related papers in peer reviewed climate related journals. The second list was the list of authors who contributed to Oreskes’ (2004) published conclusions concerning consensus in the climate change issue. A third list was drawn from readily available email lists on institute web sites (i.e. NCAR, MPI, AMS, etc.). Duplicates in the three lists were removed before distribution. The combined invitation list numbered a potential 2677 respondents; defunct email addresses reduced the valid mail out to 2059. Invitations to participate in the survey were distributed by email, providing a link to the on-line survey. Provisions were made so that should someone submit a duplicate form the form identifier resulted in the original being over written. Consequently, for each invitation it was only possible to have one completed survey written to the data set. The response rate for ISI authors list was approximately 27%, for Oreskes’ list, approximately 10%, and from the Institute list, approximately 19%, for a combined response rate of 18% (375 responses). (The full survey will shortly be available on-line as a GKSS report)

The diagrams are presented without comment or interpretation and the results are open for discussion.   

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Marcel Severijnen reports about adaptive nature policies in NL

This week the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) in cooperation with Wageningen University announced in a press release a study on adaptive nature policies: ”Adaptatiestrategie voor een klimaatbestendige natuur” Official English versions of neither the press releyase nor the report are available, so my short summary may be of some help:

Friday, August 27, 2010

Neitzschean Deconstruction and Quantum Mechanics: The Solution to Global Warming

OK. The fun is over. (It was fun though!) Science sometimes has to be serious. And what more serious than the global warming issue. And I believe there may be a solution. And, after eating many helpings of humble pie, I have to say that the answer might lay in post modern methodology. (Yes, today it is post-modern, not post-normal, or could it now be post-normal-post-modern analysis.  Ah, enough - like I said, this is a serious matter.)

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Post Normal Science or Post Normal Scientists?

This started out as a response to Roger Pielke’s comment about my comment about post-normal science. My response got a little lengthy so I decided to turn it into a posting.

I basically asked just what is a post normal ‘situation’. Roger was not clear on the distinction between situation and science. Here’s Rogers reponse: ‘According to Funtowicz and Ravetz a post-normal situation (science) occurs when "facts are uncertain, values in dispute, stakes high and decisions urgent." Normal science would thus be when fact are certain or values in agreement or the decision stakes are low. I'd elaborate this to say it is not simply the presence of uncertainty, but the managability of uncertainty and the presence of ignorance (where uncertainties themselves are ‘uncertain).Building an airplane or developing a vaccine is normal science. An oil spill is not,’

I know 'THE' definition of post-normal science. But, as Roger demonstrates, lately science and situation seem to have become interchangeable.  And,  just for the record, building an airplane is technology and an oil spill is an accident (in this case) not science.  Developing a vaccine I would have thought contained all of the necessary qualities, especially during times of impending epidemics.
Bet’s first take a look at his criteria for post normal whatever:

Monday, August 23, 2010

A post-normal situation: Gulf oil spill revisited

To find out the truth about the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico should be simple compared to the question of anthropogenic climate change. Just send some scientists over there, and they will find out. Far from that: according to a commentary in the New York Times, we have a situation familiar to us from our climate discussions. It is a post-normal situation: locals and the public need to know what is at stake in the Gulf; politics asks science, science comes up with contradictory answers; there is interest from the oil industry, of course, and  the media pressure politics to send more experts to clarify the situation.... just another day in the reality of the 21st century. Muddy waters, stinking fish, and clueless politicians.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Lomborg versus Schellnhuber & Co

The world will go down or it won't - in any case, the stories are always structured in the same way. After having discussed Schellnhuber's Spiegel- and Latif's BILD  interviews, here now a commentary with the opposite message written by Lomborg and published in several newspapers (here in German) . On the one hand, I am more sympathetic to Lomborg's message - raising fear permanently is counter-productive, and the apocalyptic rhetoric tends to be oversold. On the other hand, there are striking similarities to the alarmist rhetoric in the way Lomborg builds his own argument. The way he comes to his conclusion is as speculative as Latif's and Schellnhuber's conclusions.  In my opinion, the main problem is how these narratives on climate change are presented. Alarmist or not - I argue that this kind of story telling is oversold.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

H.J. Schellnhuber Interview in English translation

Today, spiegel online published an English translation of the interview.  Great service! (thanks, Harold, for the link).

Monday, August 16, 2010

Schellnhuber im SPIEGEL

Im SPIEGEL 33/2010, S. 110-113, findet sich ein ausführliches Interview mit Hans-Joachim Schellnhuber. Ein bemerkenswertes Interview; u.a. statt 2 Grad kann es auch der 2-3 Grad Korridor sein; 10% der Parlamentsitze könnten für Ombudsleute reserviert bleiben, die nur den Interessen zukünftiger Generationen vepflichtet sind; und Geoengineering, zum langfristigen Herunterkühlen auf die Jungsteinzeit, sollte in das Instrumentarium der Möglichkeiten.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Aufenvenne: Klimadeterminismus

Phillip Aufenvenne hat in seiner Diplomarbeit Im Schatten des Klimadeterminismus - Eine Analyse der Wahrnehmung und Interpretation des Klimawandels unter Studenten der Geographie am Geographischen Institut der Universität Osnabrück "die Wahrnehmung und Bewertung des Klimawandels durch Studenten der Geographie" in den Blick genommen.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

An analysis of climate politics and science in The Netherlands

The Dutch Rathenau Institute has published the report "Room for Climate Debate: perspectives on the interaction between climate politics, science and the media" by Jeroen van der Sluijs, Rinie van Est and Monique Riphagen. The report can be downloaded from:

The coauthor Monique Riphagen has supplied us with this summary.

   Since the establishment of the IPCC, national and international climate politics have leaned heavily on the scientific assessments of the IPCC. Politicians legitimate their climate politics by pointing to science: the IPCC tells us which political goals should be set. Climate politics is based on the linear model of science: knowledge is the basis of decision-making and more science will lead to more knowledge and less uncertainty. As is shown in the Netherlands, this has left politics with little space for political debate, causing this debate to move to science and thus politicising science.
   The weakness of the linear model is the underexposure of dissent, which is reflected in the consensus model of the IPCC. The recent review of the IPCC is mainly focussed on evaluating processes and procedures of the IPCC. Of course strengthening these procedures can prevent future mistakes and will make the fifth report more authoritative. However, a mere focus on this will not lead to less criticism and more faith in climate science. To depoliticise science and offer more room for the political debate, more space should be given to dissent opinions, sceptic as well as alarmistic. More openness about uncertainties in scientific knowledge and more room for these dissent scientific views in the IPCC reports would restore the political debate and enhance societies’ capacity to deal with this uncertainty.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Silke Beck in Das Parlament

Unter dem Titel Vertrauen geschmolzen? Zur Glaubwürdigkeit der Klimaforschung hat Silke Beck eine interessante Analyse veröffentlicht in der Beilage "Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte" der Zeitschrift Parlament.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Mojib Latif in der BILD

„Das alles ist nur ein Vorgeschmack ...“:
Klimaforscher Mojib Latif sieht einen Zusammenhang zwischen der Hitzehölle in Russland und dem weltweiten Wetterchaos

Friday, August 6, 2010

Sustainable ... science?

Doing science, creating new knowledge, in German: Wissen schaffen, is a social activity. As all social activities, it can be done sustainably. Or not.

Krauss in nature geoscience

Werner Krauss had the comment Rooted in society in Nature Geoscience 3, 513 - 514 (2010) doi:10.1038/ngeo927 - unfortunately the internet-access goes with a fee ... but many institutions will have arranged for a free access for its staff. Werner summarizes his article like this:

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Geden now also in English: Beyond the Two Degree Target

Oliver Geden, from the German Institute for International and Security Affairs has now published his theses "What Comes after the Two Degree Target? The EU's Climate Policy Should Advocate for Flexible Benchmarks" in English.

'Das ist eine Verrohung des intellektuellen Niveaus'

Here the interview with Hans von Storch on zeit-online. Useful information about recent weather events; a polemical statement why skeptics and alarmists resemble each other;  Hans' contribution to the IPCC working group, and the role of climate science after climategate.

Merkwürdig: Wie werten wir das Fehlen römischer Kondensationsheizungen?

, der diese Mail bekam, unaufgefordert, mit Namensangabe, aber ohne vorherigen Kontakt:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Inquiry about the purpose of re-doing the construction of past temperature variations based on thermometer reports.

who got this inquiry:
"As a general science enthusiast with a particular interest in public controversies about scientific subjects, I've been trying to get myself informed on the science of climate change. I realise you must be very busy, and that you probably get questions like these all the time from laymen, but I would really appreciate your response.
       In a recent article in Der Spiegel, you were quoted as advocating an independent reconstruction of surface temperatures. I can certainly see how this may be necessary for regaining public trust after the past few months. However, a somewhat more skeptical friend of mine has inferred from this that you have significant doubts about the basic conclusions of the temperature analyses (i.e. that we are currently still in a long term warming trend, and have been for the past several decades), and that you expect substantial differences to result from a new analysis. I did not get this impression from the article, but as the original version was in German and my German is quite rusty, my impression may be mistaken. Is my friend correct in making this inference - that is, do you expect significant changes in these basic conclusions from an independent analysis?"

which Hans von Storch answered with: "Your friend is NOT right. I would not expect significant changes in a new analysis, but instead would expect that the thermometer-based temperature results (as opposed to tree-ring estimates) published so far would be almost completely reconfirmed. But when this additional exercise would be done by independent people, the trust in the result, and climate science as a whole, would be significantly increased. Thus, the measure would be needed for public communication, not for purely scientific reasons.
See also our statement in nature online, 18 December 2010".