I won’t bore you by recounting the various, glaring missteps the climate change science community has made recently. I think those discrepancies have been broadly covered, dismissed by the believers and slavered over by the uber-skeptics. Indeed the pundit shit flinging merrily continues unabated months after the breaking of “Climategate,” especially excited by a series of winter storms that put snow on the grounds of 49 American states on the same day.
I will say that the clannish, arrogant nature of the scientists engaged in monitoring and explaining climatology to the world has been their undoing. Proclamations of fact in a science heavily reliant on hypothetical, seemingly malleable computer simulated projections along with a lack of transparency, a rather unscientific element of advocacy and the poisonous nature of their handling of skeptics have lent the concept of climate change an identity more closely related to religious orthodoxy than actual science. The message came to be more important than the method.
It was on the matter of method that the Institute of Physics in the UK addressed the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee’s inquiry. I believe this is the first time a scientific organization has weighed in in such a critical fashion. A snippet:
<blockquote>1. The Institute is concerned that, unless the disclosed e-mails are proved to be forgeries or adaptations, worrying implications arise for the integrity of scientific research in this field and for the credibility of the scientific method as practised in this context.
2. The CRU e-mails as published on the internet provide prima facie evidence of determined and co-ordinated refusals to comply with honourable scientific traditions and freedom of information law. The principle that scientists should be willing to expose their ideas and results to independent testing and replication by others, which requires the open exchange of data, procedures and materials, is vital. The lack of compliance has been confirmed by the findings of the Information Commissioner. This extends well beyond the CRU itself – most of the e-mails were exchanged with researchers in a number of other international institutions who are also involved in the formulation of the IPCC’s conclusions on climate change.</blockquote>
I’ve chosen the first two statements purposefully so as to avoid “cherry picking.” There are additional observations a bit more damning of the CRU’s methods and I’d encourage a full read of the statement. It’ll be interesting to watch where both the science (assuming it’s reformed accordingly) and the politics regarding climate change head in the near future. It’ll also be interesting to see, if transparency and independent review are allowed, how long the current consensus holds together.