25 June 2010

Peter Webster on PNAS Paper: "Very Likely Disgusted"

Peter Webster, a climate scientist at Georgia Tech, weighs in on the PNAS paper that segregates scientists into two categories, good guys and bad guys. Webster is listed as one of the "good guys" on the PNAS list:
All of this is new to me as I have just returned from Asia where I was happily oblivious to the PNAS paper and, forgive me, engaged in science. It has come something of a shock to find myself pigeon-holed, classified and lined up!

I do require one clarification and perhaps you can help. Which is the black list: those who agree with the IPCC as defined by PNAS, or the skeptics? By the PNAS classification, I ended up as a supporter of the IPCC, since I signed the Bali 2007 document. I am trying to remember why I did so. That was 3 years ago and I had not thought too much about IPCC and etc. and it was before the latest assessment. Since then I have become more involved with climate change research and more critical of process and perhaps more questioning of the attribution of warming simply because the IPCC performed poorly in distinguishing between natural variability and anthropogenic effects or hardly considered the issue at all.

Sorry PNAS, but I have evolved, since 2007! But at least my view of the science is not determined by orthodoxy. I imagine Roger Sr. feels the same way.

Re the PNAS paper, it is rather louche. What is the point of this paper? Are the arguments so old and stale that it has to rely on past statements to substantiate a point of view? Death rattle come to mind. Perhaps we are seeing the death throes of the old guard. Perhaps out of these ashes will emerge a more solid scientific view on climate and global change, free of orthodoxy and invigorated by debate.

Finally, in case the PNAS paper comes out in a second edition. I should state my position on attribution. Very Likely? Likely? Well maybe!

Actually, I would like to form a new subgroup, “very likely disgusted.” I suspect its membership may be rather large.