I don’t want to write these words, but I have to. The Guardian newspaper, for me, has ceased to be trustworthy on Climate Change Science and the culture of Climate Change Science :-
Here, the editorial seeks to establish a position as an arbiter over the Climategate pseudo-scandal, that was only ever a scandal because of Media overreaction to the theft and malicious interpretation of e-mails from the Climatic Research Unit (CRU).
The Guardian takes the position of judge, jury and prison guard, without seeming to be adequately informed on the subject under discussion.
The editorial accuses the University of East Anglia (UEA) of “scientific stupidity” and “excessive secrecy”, which would be laughable if it were not so biased, in my view.
“This failure runs far further than a bit too much secrecy. There was an attempt to restrict debate, denying access to raw data and peer-reviewed journals to outsiders and the unqualified. In a sense, climate change scientists began to ape the obsessive culture of their sceptical critics.”
Climate Change Science “critics” don’t have a valid position, so how is it possible to have a proper “debate” with them ? Only those whose motivations, agendas and missions are to advance the Science should be allowed into the debating chamber of the published research process.
The “unqualified” have been wrong in thousands of cases when discussing “raw data”, which, contrary to The Guardian’s statement, is frequently freely available to anyone. Why should those whose aim is to deliberately cause obstruction be included in the Science community ?
There have been a number of research articles that have been published in peer-reviewed journals in the past that have created huge controversy, and subsequently found to be faulty.
It would be a good thing to impose a much stronger peer review processes on published research, in fact, to prevent red herrings and dead alleys in the advancement of the Science.
As for “aping the obsessive culture of their sceptical critics”, that, I feel, is an accusation too far.
“There was a clash between the traditional academic scientific process – closed, small and by its nature uncertain – and the new political demands imposed by climate change – confrontational, in search of absolutes and intolerant of any uncertainty. One can understand why the scientists behaved as they did. But this does not make it right.”
Scientific progress needs to be protected from poor interpretation and unfactual attacks.
One can understand how The Guardian has been swayed by the Climategate affair. But this does not make their position right.
The “political demands imposed by climate change” include the obligation to get truly unbiased reporting and accuracy from the Media on Climate Change Science.
It is essential to stress the seriousness and urgency of Climate Change. Scientists who become “activists”, who advocate for the Science to be taken more seriously in decision-making places, are not “confrontational”, and are not attempting to impose certainties where there are uncertainties.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report makes crystal-clear what results are reliable from Climate Change Science and where the uncertainties are.
The “robust findings” should be enough to keep the general public awake, and it is the duty of the Media to communicate that continued concern, not join in the the parlour game of “blame the scientists”.