Friday, December 04, 2009

BBC PM, 4th December. EAU hack.

Brilliant interview with Prof Andrew Watson a few minutes ago. This is how journalism should be done. The interviewer was calm, and did not interrupt. The Prof was calm, clear and rational. He communicated.

From my notes of the interview, in italic. They are not verbatim records, gist only.

My comments are in normal type :

Andrew Watson: People will have less trust in climate science.

RL: We need to explain the science to the people, so they understand what is happening, and what we have to do.

AW: There was no fudging of the fundamental data.
The Phil Jones' "trick" was in the presentation of diagrams for the front of a report to reconcile different tree records to make the graph look better.

I think I remember seeing this diagram, before and after. [memo: find diagram]

This is vital. If true, it destroys one of the two greatest shadows that these emails have cast over the climatic science community.

The other one is the "Hide the decline" clause. Give us the context for that.

Hide the Decline referred to tree ring data.

This is a fiercely complicated issue, but my understanding is that the inner rings in a cut tree give pretty accurate accounts of climatic conditions, but the outer rings do not. Using simple proportionality, all of these trees will tell you that the weather recently has been getting cooler. If it is this "decline" that Price was trying to hide, then there is no problem.

Except in the minds of the sceptics, who will continue to try to milk this for all it is worth.

My experience is that the central tactic of the AGW sceptic* lobby is to seize on any and each an every detail that can be seized upon, and exaggerate it into the Final Incontrovertible Proof of their case, which is that Nothing Should Be Done to Reduce Carbon Emissions.

The net result is that they slow up progress on global warming, because the more doubt they can sow in the minds of the people, the less courageous will be the actions of the politicians.

There is clearly a massive ideological clash taking place in the minds and hearts of humankind.
The clash is between the Individualists, who are rooted in the idea of the absolute Self, and the Greens, who are rooted in the idea that our health is dependent on a healthy relationship with the planet we live on.

*I have been asked by a colleague to refrain from the use of "Deniers" because it is a bit provocative. They say it puts them alongside Holocaust deniers. I use the term as a psychiatrist, because I think the uninformed ones are indeed in denial. Maybe some of the real scientists are genuinely sceptical in a good sense, legitimately critical, I'm not sure.

Oh. Well, if it helps keep the peace OK.
(Eppur si muove).



Rob said...

*I have been asked by a colleague to refrain from the use of "Deniers" because it is a bit provocative."
Johann Hari comments on this
"That's why I won't use the word "sceptic" to describe the people who deny the link between releasing warming gases and the planet getting warmer. I am a sceptic. I have looked at the evidence highly critically, desperate for flaws. The overwhelming majority of scientists are sceptics: the whole nature of scientific endeavour is to check and check and check again for a flaw in your theory or your evidence. Any properly sceptical analysis leads to the conclusion that man-made global warming is real. Denial is something different: it is when no evidence, no matter how overwhelming, could convince you. It is a faith-based position."
I agree with him ,the evidence is so overwhelming and the basic theory so simple, despite the claims that it is not, that I cannot see how any sceptical rational person can deny climate change and the reason for that change.

DocRichard said...

Rob, I agree with you. See this blog:

They are very sensitive on the issue, although on the Mail debate they rely 99% on ad hominem attacks.

Thanks for commenting. Feel free to join the fun on the Daily Mail Debate.