11 November 2009

Wolfgang Knorr on Uncomfortable Research

At the University of Bristol, Wolfgang Knorr has a new paper out in GRL that finds that the airborne fraction of carbon dioxide has increased lockstep not changed with increasing emissions, suggesting that the Earth system may have a greater capacity to take up carbon than previously thought. However, this post is not about the details of the study or its significance, which are important, but rather Professor Knorr's admirable response when pressed about whether his research gives support to the "deniers."

On radio 106.5 in Bristol Knoor was interviewed by Marin Jones who repeatedly asked about whether Knorr was concerned that his research would help the cause of the "deniers." Here is Jones' second effort to elicit a response, which I transcribed from the audio stream:
Is there any sense of trepidation at putting out research like this? People who do want to deny the reality of climate change and the reality that it is caused by human beings can jump on this as an excuse and use it to suggest doing nothing or very little.
Knorr's response is responsible and measured:
We have had a lot of research that could be interpreted that way. I believe science has to be open and fair and we should not hide any of the results. Climate critics will always find something, no matter what the results are. It's not an indication not to do anything and you can always misinterpret results. But I think that kind of misinformation dies out quickly, I don't see a problem.
Kudos to Professor Knorr.