30 September 2011

Sport Break

Blogging here will be light for the next week or so as I am off presenting a paper on FIFA reform and also blogging the Play the Game conference in Cologne (which those interested can follow along with here).

One of my interests in sport is that it provides a wonderfully rich laboratory for research in the social and decision sciences. Might the cartoon above have another tagline besides "all sports commentary"?  Please enter your suggestions in the comments ;-)

29 September 2011

Selective Importance of Science Integrity Guidelines

The EPA Inspector General has found that the agency failed to comply with the Administration's requirements for peer review in the preparation of its endangerment finding with respect to carbon dioxide (report can be found here in PDF).

The IG report has no direct bearing on climate policy either in EPA or beyond. What has been interesting has been to see various statements by observers about the significance of the IG report.  I'd speculate that these observers would have had different reactions had this report been requested by Henry Waxman in 2006 about the last administration's EPA.

For instance, Andrew Dessler, a climate scientist, finds the worry about process a distraction:
This is a battle of lawyer versus lawyer. The issues here are not scientific. If we start taking scientific advice from lawyers, we are in deep trouble.
 Kevin Trenberth, another climate scientist, thinks that the concern about process is all political:
"This has nothing to do with the science that justifies the endangerment finding and everything to do with politics," Trenberth said, adding that the IG's criticisms focused only on process and not the quality of science EPA is using. "There is nothing here that undermines the EPA's way forward."
Francisca Grifo of the Union of Concerned Scientists explains that the breakdown in process is not a big deal:
The process matters, but the science matters more and in this endangerment finding, the science is accurate.
Of course, during the Bush Administration concern about processes to ensure scientific integrity were all the rage. At that time it was generally understood that process matters, not simply because it helps to improve the quality of scientific assessments, but also because it helps to establish their legitimacy in the political process.  One sneers at process at some risk.

Of course, had the EPA endangerment finding gone through a more rigorous peer review, misleading and sloppy arguments might have been identified and corrected -- such as found in this example.

Well That Settles It

From the Guardian, Al Gore updates us on the state of the science of extreme event attribution (emphasis added):
In a near hour-long speech to the Scottish low-carbon investment conference, Gore said the evidence from the floods in Pakistan, China, South Korea and Columbia was so compelling that the case for urgent action by world leaders to combat carbon emissions was now overwhelming, Gore said.

"Observations in the real world make it clear that it's happening now, it's real, it's with us," he said. Failing to take action meant the world would face a catastrophe.

He added that nearly every climate scientist actively publishing on the subject now agreed there was a causal link between carbon emissions and the sharp increase in intense and extreme weather events seen across the globe.
I have been asked by email for my response:

Further elaboration here.

27 September 2011

The Zombie Climate Wedges

The Socolow/Pacala "wedges" are back.  Andy Revkin has a round-up of views (here and here) on a new paper by Robert Socolow which is oddly titled "Wedges Reaffirmed."  I say that the title is odd because the wedge analysis was analytically wrong when first published and just as wrong today, which is the general view of the responses collected by Revkin as well.

You can see that the wedges were wrong in the new diagram provided by Socolow with his new paper.  Here it is:
Notice how the slope of the line under the "Then" is greater than the slope under the "Now" or the hypotenuse of the green triangle. The reason for that is that the growth in emissions has been considerably faster than the BAU assumptions of the "wedges" analysis, which serves to assume away many more "wedges" of emissions reduction that are actually necessary to hold emissions to present-day levels. Readers of The Climate Fix will find the graph above affirming, but perhaps not in the same way implied by Socolow.

Another interesting note:  it appears that in the new analysis Socolow has actually reduced his projected emissions growth from the 1.5% per year used in the 2004 paper with Pacala to closer to 1.3% per year illustrated in the graph above. At this rate of increase in spontaneous decarbonization emissions will be stabilized by the 8th iteration of the wedges analysis ;-)

Along with several others -- including Ken Caldeira, Chris Green, Michael Levi, David Victor -- I have some extensive comments on the new paper from a Revkin email exchange which Revkin reproduces at his blog here.

26 September 2011

Gatekeeping at GRL? You be the Judge

So imagine that you are an editor at Geophysical Research Letters, a middle tier scientific journal.  Let us further suppose that you receive a very straightforward analysis of trends in tropical cyclone landfalls around the world which finds no upwards trends. As editor you decide to send the paper our for peer review and you get the following responses from two reviewers, both of whom find the paper publishable (emphases added):
Reviewer #1

This paper presents a global database of hurricane-force, landfalling tropical cyclones. Construction of such a database is of significant importance and publication is recommended for this paper after consideration of some relatively minor issues, which are detailed below.

Reviewer #2

The work seems essentially sound and useful to the community but lacks in-depth analysis and illustration. It does confront the issue of continued misrepresentation by some of the impact of “climate change” on presently experienced insurance and other losses from tropical cyclones. For that reason it is perhaps (just) publishable but claims of a new homogeneous database (based on JTWC outside of the US) are grossly over-stated as there is much work needed before that can be genuinely claimed. This is especially so in regard to intensity, which the authors treat fairly simplistically in any case. I would like to see that aspect down-played and perhaps the title adjusted to read “Towards a homogeneous database …” or some such.
Both sets of general comments were followed by about a dozen or so minor recommendations on typographical errors, requests for small points of clarification and word emphasis changes.

So you have two reviews that find the paper publishable, one recommending publication and the other coming down on the side of finding the paper "publishable" but certainly not enthusiastically.

As the editor what would you do?
A) Provisionally accept the paper pending a revision that meets the editor's judgment of responsiveness
B) Provisionally accept the paper pending re-review by the two reviewers
C) Reject the paper
D) Reject the paper and tell the authors that any reconsideration of the paper would have to be accompanied by a detailed response to the two reviewers followed by selection of new reviewers and a restart of the review process
If you picked (D) then you too can be an editor at GRL.  Here is what our editor, Noah Diffenbaugh at Stanford, said about our paper in rejecting it:
Thank you for submitting the manuscript "A homogeneous database of global landfalling tropical cyclones" (2011GL049419) to Geophysical Research Letters. Based on the review, I believe that the article requires a major revision, and therefore I cannot accept this version of the manuscript for publication (please see Editorial Policies for major revisions at http://www.agu.org/pubs/pdf/Editorial_GRL.pdf).

You will see that the review (comments enclosed below) found promise in the manuscript, and indicates that a revised manuscript might indeed meet GRL criteria.
Diffenbaugh explains that he "believes" that the paper needs a "major revision" but did not explain what he meant by that.  Further, Diffenbaugh has chosen not to respond to my emails asking for clarification as to what he sees as needing "major revision." However, the chief editor for GRL, Eric Calais of Purdue University, was very responsive when I contacted him and agreed to take a look at this case.  Here is what I sent to him (I fixed a typo, and emphasis added):
Here for ease of access are the reviews to our paper (below and attached).

The first reviewer says: "publication is recommended for this paper after consideration of some relatively minor issues" -- clearly no "major issues" there. The second reviewer asks for a change in the title and then offers 13 specific suggestions for punctuation, wording or emphasis. Nothing has been raised remotely in line with the GRL criteria for "major revision" by either reviewer.

The editor, Noah Diffenbaugh, mischaracterizes the reviews in his letter to us as follows: "You will see that the review (comments enclosed below) found promise in the manuscript, and indicates that a revised manuscript might indeed meet GRL criteria."  This is incorrect in two ways -- First, there are two reviews not a single review, and second, neither review says anything close to his statement "that a revised manuscript might indeed meet GRL criteria."  To the contrary, both reviews found the paper publishable.

Having served for many years one the editorial board of various journals, I am aware that editors can make mistakes for many simple reasons. In this case an error seems to have been made, and I ask that you take a close look at the details of this situation and provide me with your independent judgment -- not on the general GRL process, but on the substance of the matter, and specifically the editor's invocation of the notion of "major revisions" to reject a paper that received two judgments of publishable from the reviewers and only minor suggestions for changes.

Many thanks from Boulder,

 Calais explained the decision to me as follows:
Dear Roger,

I reviewed in detail the editorial process your paper went through and found that the process went according to GRL policies. The editor's decision was to reject your paper with encouragement to resubmit it, after revisions that account for the reviewers' comments. GRL has not been using "major revisions" for several years now, please read our 2010 EOS editorial at http://www.agu.org/pubs/pdf/Editorial_GRL.pdf. Also, the decision letter you received from the editor is the standard one we send to all authors for similar decisions.

Thank you for your interest in GRL.

I responded to his suggestion that our paper was rejected based on a need for "major revisions" by asking for specific clarification on this point, as I could identify no such recommendation from the two reviewers, nor did the editor tell us what such revisions might entail (emphasis added):

Many thanks for your prompt reply ...  but I remain confused.

The EOS editorial that you point to explains a major revision as "if the reviews point to a need for additional analyses, simulations, or other significant changes to support purported high-impact results or implications."  No such requests were made of our paper by the reviewers.  The paper was in fact judged publishable by both reviewers who together recommended only very minor changes, yet it was rejected anyway.

As I explained to Noah, responding to the reviews would take about a day (and perhaps even less time).  He did not provide any guidance to us whatsoever on what "major revisions" he would expect from us based on the reviews.

Can you specifically point  to the "major revision" that GRL sees as necessary based on the reviews?  We will be in a better position to understand what is meant by a "major revision" if you would specifically point to which of the reviewers' recommendations qualify as "major."

Many thanks,

Calais once again promptly responded to my request.  His response however was a bit odd.  He cited the reviewers request that we change the title by adding "Toward" to it as the basis for rejecting the paper as needing major revisions.  After reciting part of Reviewer #2's comments Calais explains to me:
After consulting again with my editor for Climate, I believe that the additional work needed to address the reviewer's comments are beyond minor revisions. Given the significant changes expected, a revised version of your paper would need to be reviewed again. Hence the decision to reject and encourage resubmission. Again, this is a fairly common procedure at GRL.
I responded as follows:
Thanks Eric,

The reviewer suggested in the context of this comment that we change our title by adding "Toward ..." at the beginning.  Not so major ...  A far more appropriate response given the reviews would have been a provisional acceptance pending a re-review by the two reviewers.

In any case, we shall take our work elsewhere, as I have lost all confidence in GRL as a scientific journal. Just FYI, in the interest of transparency, I shall soon publish the reviews and your several responses to my concerns on my blog so that this sort of behavior can get a broad airing.

Thanks again for your prompt responses,

Calais responded:
You are most welcome, Roger.

We will of course be submitting our paper elsewhere, and I suppose I won't be invited to any more AGU meetings ;-)  Here is the abstract of our paper.  If you'd like a copy, just send me an email:
A homogeneous database of global landfalling tropical cyclones

Jessica Weinkle* and Roger Pielke, Jr.
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Colorado, 1333 Grandview Ave, Campus Box 488, Boulder, Colorado 80309

In recent decades, economic damage from tropical cyclones (TCs) around the world has increased dramatically. Scientific literature published to date is strongly suggestive that the increase in losses can be explained entirely by increasing wealth in locations prone to tropical cyclone landfalls. However, no homogenized dataset of tropical cyclone landfalls has been created. We have constructed such a homogenized global landfall TC database. We find no long-term global trends in the frequency or intensity of landfalling TCs for the period with reliable data, providing very strong support for the conclusion that increasing damage around the world over the period(s) of record can be explained entirely by increasing wealth in locations prone to TC landfalls, and adding confidence in the fidelity of economic normalization analyses.

23 September 2011

Friday Round Up and Music Video

It has been a busy week here in Boulder, so blogging has been light.  Above is a music video to help your weekend off to a fine start and below are a few items that crossed my desk that I thought interesting, enjoy!

21 September 2011

Understanding the Politicization of Science by Scientists

Many scientists spend a lot of time criticizing the public and policy makers for their flawed understanding of science. Such criticized invariably implicates the media for not properly educating the public and giving voice to certain undesired voices. But what if such views that scientists hold about the public, policy makers and the media are themselves flawed? And even more importantly, what if the actions that scientists take justified by these views actually exacerbate the politicization of science and diminish its role in decision making?

John Besley and Matt Nisbet have a new paper out (PDF) and a lengthy blog post summary in which they synthesize literature on how scientists in the US and UK view the public, the media and the political process.  They end their review with a number of provocative hypotheses.  On the skewed political self-identification of the US scientific community (skewed in relation to the broader public and as represented by the membership of the AAAS):

In the US data, for example, given the strong left-leaning political identity of scientists in
the AAAS sample, moderates and conservatives among their ranks may feel reluctant to express political views, policy proposals or preferred public engagement approaches that are perceived as different from the preferences of their liberal counterparts. 
My personal experience over the past decade or so in the climate debate provides much first-hand evidence in support of this hypothesis. I provide a few examples in The Climate Fix of the strong professional pressure to not challenge certain views or institutions, based on political views or perceptions of political reception. (And a few juicy stories didn't make the cut;-)

Such pressure exhibits itself in less direct ways as well.
With an ever-increasing reliance on  blogs, Facebook and personalized news, the tendency among scientists to consume, discuss and  refer to self-confirming information sources is only likely to intensify, as will in turn the criticism directed at those who dissent from conventional views on policy or public engagement strategy.  Moreover, if perceptions of bias and political identity do indeed strongly influence the participation of scientists in communication outreach via blogs, the media or public forums, there is the  likelihood that the most visible scientists across these contexts are also likely to be among the most partisan and ideological.
There is ample anecdotal evidence for such assertions, but it would be great to see some systematic studies. In particular, certainly worthy of further study is the way in which scientists and members of the public establish informal collaborations via social media such as blogs to intimidate or make uncomfortable those who would express challenging views. As is the case with respect to the public, the media and the political process most attention has been paid on how these groups affect the work of scientists (e.g., the entire issue of "scientific integrity" is about outside interference in the work of government scientists), which is certainly a very important topic. By contrast, very little scholarly attention (that I am aware of) has been focused on how scientists engage with the public, the media and the political process in an effort to enforce within the scientific community a particular political agenda (or a view of science perceived to be consistent with that agenda).

Besley and Nisbet summarize empirical analyses which provide for the arguments that I made in The Honest Broker, specifically, that as the scientific community has become more deeply engaged in policy issues that are debated among the public, there has been a tendency to see this engagement as a means of advocating for the special political interests of scientists. They write:
When it comes to policy debates, scientists recognize that they have a role to play in supporting public debate but emphasize a need to educate the public so that non-experts will make  policy choices in line with the preferences of scientists.
The scientific community thus has expressed some mixed and even conflicting views about their role in democratic systems (emphasis added):
Scientists seem to walk a difficult line both in recognizing the right of citizens to play a role in
decision-making while having reservations about the public’s capacity to do so. One study spoke  of a scientist’s need to have the public provide “legitimacy and validation” (Young and Matthews,  2007: 140). This position appeared to be operationalized as a duty to empower citizens to make good decisions. However, a good decision was understood as one that was consistent with scientists’ point of view, and empowerment was understood as education (Davies, 2008). In the end, scientists report feeling frustrated when they believe their views receive inadequate attention  (Gamble and Kassardjian, 2008; Stilgoe, 2007).
As I have long argued, the best way for the scientific community to deal with the tide of politicization that it has been caught up in is not to try to remove itself from political debates, but rather to become more closely engaged -- but to do so intelligently.  Understanding options for such intelligent engagement is the central challenge discussed in The Honest Broker.

20 September 2011

The Climate Fix Paperback Edition

The paperback edition of The Climate Fix will be out December 6, 2011 -- just in time for use in spring classes ;-) Available at Amazon and elsewhere.  If you are using the book, and would like to schedule a virtual classroom visit just send me an email -- I am dong several such visits this week.

17 September 2011

UK to Miss Carbon Targets

In February 2009 the BBC covered a talk I gave at Aston University in Birmingham in which I first presented a policy analysis of the UK Climate Change Act, which has just passed into law several months earlier.  Here is what the BBC said at the time of my talk:
The UK's plans to cut emissions by 80% by 2050 are fundamentally flawed and almost certain to fail, according to a US academic.

Roger Pielke Jr, a science policy expert, said the UK government had underestimated the magnitude of the task to curb greenhouse gas emissions.
My analysis focused much more on the 2018-2022 near-term target rather than the aspirational 2050 target, but otherwise the BBC article got it pretty much correct.  From certain quarters the reaction to my analysis was swift and damning (emphasis added):
Professor Pielke's intervention was rejected by economist Terry Barker, a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

"Pielke's analysis does not tell us how fast an economy can de-carbonise, just how much it has done so in the past when there has been a weak carbon price," he said.

"[His] proposals are diversionary; they fail to emphasise the scale of the no-regrets options available to reduce emissions at net benefit and they do not include potential changes in regulations on vehicles and power stations that could lead to rapid de-carbonisation."
It was thus very interesting to see in the news yesterday coverage of a new report that shows that the UK is going to miss its emissions targets:
Britain will miss government carbon targets by increasingly wide margins over the next 20 years unless it introduces radical policy measures, a report warned on Thursday.
I especially like this bit at the end of the article (emphasis added):
"On existing policies, included those inherited, endorsed and shortly to be put into effect by the coalition, the UK is set to miss the carbon budget targets in the first two budget periods (2008-2012 and 2013-2017) but by a wider margin in the third (2018- 2022) and especially the fourth (2023-2027)," argues the consultancy, a private company owned by a charity and chaired by the Cambridge University academic, Terry Barker.
My 2009 analysis of the UK Climate Change Act can be found here.

15 September 2011

Somebody Send Paul Nurse a Copy of The Honest Broker, Fast!

In a commentary in New Scientist, Paul Nurse, Nobel laureate and President of the Royal Society, illustrates that he is well behind the curve on understanding science and politics:
One problem is treating scientific discussion as if it were political debate. When some politicians try to sway public opinion, they employ the tricks of the debating chamber: cherry-picking data, ignoring the consensus opinions of experts, adept use of a sneer or a misplaced comparison, reliance on the power of rhetoric rather than argument. They can often get away with this because the media rely too much on confrontational debate in place of reasoned discussion.

It is essential, in public issues, to separate science from politics and ideology. Get the science right first, then discuss the political implications.
Note to Dr. Nurse: Politicians do engage in "political debate" and not "scientific discussion" hence they often employ the "tricks of the debating chamber," and the linear model of science is so 1945 . . .

14 September 2011

Jobs and The Great Doubling

This week's Economist has a (ultimately somewhat disappointing) special report on the future of jobs.  It includes the figure above which is really provocative -- the world has added 800 million jobs over the past 20 years.  That is a lot,  of course, but the world (or more accurately, large parts of it) is presently seeing high rates of unemployment.

I thought that it would be useful to compare the growth in jobs to the growth in global GDP over the same period and here is that data:
The data shows that using either MER or PPP global GDP data, growth in the global economy has far outstripped the growth in jobs by a large amount.  This indicates that at the global level, the world economy has become far more productive at generating wealth and the make up of the global economy has shifted to less job-intensive wealth generation. While both of these factors have strong positives (increasing global wealth foremost among them) they have also had the effect of leaving some people behind.

In an important essay, Harvard labor economist Richard B. Freeman explains trends in employment in recent decades as the "great doubling," a reference to the doubling of the global workforce in the 1990s.  He writes (here in PDF):
What impact might the doubling of the global workforce have on workers? To answer this question, imagine what would happen if through some cloning experiment a mad economist doubled the size of the U.S. workforce. Twice as many workers would seek employment from the same businesses. You do not need an economics Ph.D. to see that this would be good for employers but terrible for workers. Wages would fall. Unemployment would rise. But if the nation’s capital stock doubled at the same time, demand for labor would rise commensurately, and workers would maintain their economic position. In the simplest economic analysis, the impact of China, India, and the former Soviet bloc joining the global economy depends on how their entry affects the ratio of capital to labor in the world. This in turn depends on how much capital they brought with them when they entered the global system. Over the long run, it depends on their rates of savings and future capital formation.
He backs up this analysis with the following data (graph from here in PDF) that shows the ratio of capital to labor before and after the "great doubling":
 Freeman explains:
[I]t will take about three decades to restore the global capital/ labor ratio to what it had been before China, India, and the former Soviet bloc entered the world economy, and even longer to bring it to where it might have been absent their entry. For the foreseeable future the United States and other countries will have to adjust to a relative shortfall of capital per worker and to the power this gives to firms in bargaining with workers. This will affect workers in different parts of the world differently.
For the United States and other "advanced countries" Freeman explains that the new context means that a competitive advantage in skilled labor is no longer assured:
The model that economists use to analyze trading patterns between advanced countries and developing countries assumes that the advanced countries have highly educated workers who enable them to monopolize cutting-edge innovative sectors while the developing countries lack the technology and skilled workforce to produce anything beyond lower-tech products. In this model, American workers benefit from the monopoly the United States has in the newest high-tech innovations. The greater the rate of technological advance and the slower the spread of new technology to low-wage countries, the higher paid are U.S. workers compared with workers in the developing countries.

But the spread of higher education and modem technology to low-wage countries can reduce advanced countries’ comparative advantage in high-tech products and adversely affect workers in the advanced countries. In 2004, when many engineers and computer specialists were troubled by the offshore transfer of skilled work,

Paul Samuelson reminded economists that a country with a comparative advantage in a sector can suffer economic loss when another country competes successfully in that sector. The new competitor increases supplies, and this reduces the price of those goods on world markets and the income of the original exporter. Workers have to shift to less desirable sectors—those with lower chance for productivity growth, with fewer good jobs, and so on. Some trade specialists reacted negatively to Samuelson’s reminder. What he said was well-known to them but irrelevant. In the real world it would never happen.

Samuelson is right, and his critics are wrong. The assumption that only advanced countries have the educated workforce necessary for innovation and production of high-tech products is no longer true.
And this returns us back to the issue of what constitutes an "educated workforce" and hints at the role of the workforce in innovation and competition. In his piece, Freeman falls back on the well worn call for more scientists, engineers and basic research from US universities. It is my view that conventional call for more science and engineering this is not enough (indeed, Juan Lucena documents how calls for more science and engineering education have been the received solution to every major national problem since at least Sputnik).

As this post is getting on in length, I will return to Freeman's essay in a subsequent post, and critique his good and bad scenarios.

Don't Count Carbon, Count Carbon Free Energy Supply Instead

In case you wanted more evidence that policies based on accounting for carbon dioxide emissions are hopeless, the NYT reports that a scientific advisory body to the EU is going to soon issue a report that undercuts the carbon accounting of the UN FCCC and its Kyoto protocol as well as a host of EU biofuels policies:
The European Union is overestimating the reductions in greenhouse gas emissions achieved through reliance on biofuels as a result of a “serious accounting error,” according to a draft opinion by an influential committee of 19 scientists and academics.

The European Environment Agency Scientific Committee writes that the role of energy from crops like biofuels in curbing warming gases should be measured by how much additional carbon dioxide such crops absorb beyond what would have been absorbed anyway by existing fields, forests and grasslands.

Instead, the European Union has been “double counting” some of the savings, according to the draft opinion, which was prepared by the committee in May and viewed this week by The International Herald Tribune and The New York Times

The committee said that the error had crept into European Union regulations because of a “misapplication of the original guidance” under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

“The potential consequences of this bioenergy accounting error are immense since it assumes that all burning of biomass does not add carbon to the air,” the committee wrote.
Problems with biofuels accounting have been long recognized by academics and advocacy groups, but has taken a while to get fully considered in formal processes of governance. Even after the EEA Scientific Comittee reports, it is unclear what the EU response will be, as there is considerable political and economic momentum already built into EU biofuels policies.Stay tuned.

If we shouldn't be using carbon dioxide molecules as the unit of focus, what then should we be looking at?  Easy -- the proportion of energy consumption from carbon-free sources, as I discussed a while back:
To achieve stabilization of carbon dioxide concentrations at a low level the proportion of primary energy consumption from conventional fossil alternatives will have to increase from 13.9% to above 90% (which in round numbers means the equivalent deployment of a nuclear plant per day of carbon-free energy).  I suspect, but do not know, that 2010 will see this ratio decrease (i.e., go the wrong way) from 2008.  Who is tracking this data?
All the attention to counting carbon has led us to take our eye off the ball.

13 September 2011

Good Work if You Can Get It

Thanks to the Student Union at Washington University in St. Louis we get a window into current market rates for a few on-campus speakers:

$145,000 - Al Gore
$127,000 - Bill Maher
$92,000 - Fareed Zakaria
$72,400 - Gary Kasparov
$69,493 - John Legend
$60,000 - David Brooks
$57,300 - Sanjay Gupta

Let me extend an offer to the students at Washington University -- I will be happy to provide a far more accurate and pragmatic talk on climate change than Al Gore for, oh, less than half of what he is asking;-)

Climate Science and Politics: Still One Way Traffic

In The Hartwell Paper (PDF), written in 2010 soon after the Copenhagen conference and the release of the East Anglia emails, we wrote about how climate scientists encourage a mapping of political perspectives onto climate science:
From the outset, these [climate] scientists also brought their preferred solutions to the table in US Congressional hearings and other policy forums, all bundled. The proposition that ‘science’ somehow dictated particular policy responses, encouraged – indeed instructed – those who found those particular strategies unattractive to argue about the science.36 So, a distinctive characteristic of the climate change debate has been of scientists claiming with the authority of their position that their results dictated particular policies; of policy makers claiming that their preferred choices were dictated by science, and both acting as if ‘science’ and ‘policy’ were simply and rigidly linked as if it were a matter of escaping from the path of an oncoming tornado.
I just came across an interview by NPR with the latest climate scientist to get his 15 minutes of fame in the climate wars, and it shows just how little has been learned by this community since 2009.  Andrew Dessler, currently a minor celebrity in the blog battles between climate scientists and their skeptical opponents, explains that those who reject his views of the science are politically motivated:
"People who discount the science of climate change don't do it because they've read the science," he says. "The science of climate change is a proxy for views on the role of government. From what I understand, Perry's position is that he doesn't want government to interfere in private lives or industry. That means climate change — which calls for a government solution; there's no way for the free market to address climate change by itself — that doesn't fit anywhere with his political values. So he shoots the messenger."
Really? Does "climate change" call for a "government solution"?  Or is it more complicated than that? And if the "science of climate change is a proxy for views on the role of government" (which I agree with), does this apply only to opponents to action?

In a recent essay Mike Hulme presents six different ways that the issue of "climate change" might be framed in terms of its policy implications.  He writes of a recent letter calling for action on climate change signed by 87 Australian scientists to illustrate that any connection of climate science with proposed action is inevitably a selective, political act:
This open letter boldly states its framing narrative: “The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by natural causes. Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now.”

Fact. Nothing to challenge there.

But how about this alternative?

“The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions, land use changes and aerosol pollution are all contributing to regional and global climate changes, which exacerbate the changes and variability in climates brought about by natural causes. Because humans are contributing to climate change, it is happening now and in the future for a much more complex set of reasons than in previous human history.”

I’m confident too that none of my climate science colleagues would find anything to challenge in this statement.

And yet these two different provocations – two different framings of climate change – open up the possibility of very different forms of public and policy engagement with the issue. They shape the response.

The latter framing, for example, emphasises that human influences on climate are not just about greenhouse gas emissions (and hence that climate change is not just about fossil energy use), but also result from land use changes (emissions and albedo effects) and from aerosols (dust, sulphates and soot).

It emphasises that these human effects on climate are as much regional as they are global. And it emphasises that the interplay between human and natural effects on climate are complex and that this complexity is novel.

The frame offered by the 87 Australian academics who signed the “open letter” is more partial than mine and also, I suggest, is one which is (perhaps deliberately) more provocative.

It may work well if their intention is to reinforce the polarisation of opinion that exists around climate change science or if they are using scientific claims to justify a particular set of policy interventions.
Last week Hulme visited my graduate seminar to discuss he excellent book, Why We Disagree About Climate Change.  One of the students asked him about the reaction to his book.  Hulme replied that the reaction has been largely positive and engaged, with one notable exception -- the climate science community, which has largely ignored his work. 

12 September 2011

Risk and Reinsurance

Bloomberg Businessweek has an article on the global reinsurance industry, tied to the 9/11 anniversary.  It has this interesting passage:
In 1888 the city of Sundsvall in Sweden, built of wood, burned to the ground. A group of reinsurers, Swiss Re among them, let Sweden’s insurers know there was going to be a limit in the future on losses from wooden houses, and it was going to be low. Sweden began building with stone. Reinsurance is a product, but also a carrot in the negotiation between culture and reality; it lets societies know what habits are unsustainable.

More recently, the company has been working with McKinsey & Co., the European Commission, and several environmental groups to develop a methodology it calls the “economics of climate adaptation,” a way to encourage city planners to build in a way that will be insurable in the future. A study of the U.K. port of Hull looks at potential losses by 2030 under several different climate scenarios. Even under the most extreme, losses were expected to grow by $17 million due to climate change and by $23 million due to economic growth. How Hull builds in the next two decades matters more to it than the levels of carbon dioxide in the air. A similar study for Entergy (ETR), a New Orleans-based utility, concluded that adaptations on the Gulf Coast—such as tightening building codes, restoring wetlands and barrier islands, building levees around chemical plants, and requiring that new homes in high-risk areas be elevated—could almost completely offset the predicted cost of 100-year storms happening every 40 years.

As with Sweden’s stone houses, all of these adaptations cost more money in the short run, but reinsurers must take the long view, and they can drag development along with them. The public, whom the reinsurers refer to as “the original insured,” should be concerned by these hints. Even when they are forced to sign all-perils covers, reinsurers are writing more known risks out of their treaties. Swiss Re publishes an annual report on catastrophe losses; since the 1970s losses have been increasing exponentially. It’s this graph that gives reinsurers pause. The God clause includes less each year because every loss event—every catastrophe—reminds them of the hubris of thinking God doesn’t have any surprises left.
The fact that projected societal changes increase projected losses by more than projected changes in climate is not going to be surprising to readers here.  I was unaware of the Hull and Gulf case studies, which add to a now overwhelming literature on this topic.

The article also suggests that reinsurers would have a hard time in trying to exaggerate or underplay perceived risks:
Reinsurers, however, have no incentive to mislead. Their choices on risk, with billions of dollars at stake, are necessarily aligned with the pursuit of truth. If a reinsurer is more scared of a risk than it should be, its shareholders will punish it. If it is less scared than it should be, the world, eventually, will break it. There are rewards for politicians, corporations, think tanks, and activists who dissemble about risk. There are none for reinsurers.
While I think that in the abstract this claim is right, I don't think that it recognizes the challenges associated with a diversity of knowledge about risk.  On many topics of risk there are a wide range of legitimate points of view which collectively span a large range, and there is benefit for companies to selectively interpreting such risks in a way that is beneficial to their bottom line. It would only be surprising if it were otherwise. On the other hand, there are other players in the re/insurance market place for whom incentives line up a bit differently.

08 September 2011

The Skilled Labor Gap

This posting continues a discussion of the role of education and training in helping to create a skilled workforce -- earlier discussions can be found here and here. Policies to foster skilled labor are a central element of innovation policy.

My position -- still being formulated -- is that a problem exists for the simple reason that companies cannot find skilled workers and yet the ranks of the unemployed is high.  Part of the reason for this skilled labor gap is that we in the educational community (yes, I'm part of the problem) are not paying enough attention to the real world skills that employers want and need. Instead we are either focused on creating idealized "knowledge workers" or implementing some theoretical conception of a good education (usually where skills are devalued as compared to the sorts of knowledge that professors have).

Have a look at this article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal on the skilled labor gap.  Here are a few excerpts:
Even as thousands of Wisconsin manufacturing workers remain unemployed, companies are worried about a lack of skilled labor. Some manufacturers say they've lost business or face stagnant growth because they can't find qualified help.

Often there's a disconnect between people who are out of work and companies struggling to fill factory jobs that require advanced skills such as reading blueprints and programming computer-controlled machines.

"I worry more about that than I worry about competition from China," Rauscher said.

Statewide, 31,000 job openings were posted at Department of Workforce Development employment centers last month, including thousands of openings at manufacturing plants. Yet the state's unemployment rate remains stubbornly high at 7.8% as of July.
Manufacturers are finding it difficult to find workers with even the most basic of skills:
Availability of skilled workers is a top concern of manufacturers. With Indiana, Wisconsin has the highest concentration of workers in the manufacturing sector in the nation, according to the Center on Wisconsin Strategy.

While he was at Bucyrus, now owned by Caterpillar Inc., Sullivan moved about 125 welding jobs to Texas because he couldn't find enough people locally with the necessary skills. Show up with the right credentials, and companies such as Karl Schmidt Unisia Inc. could offer you a job on the spot, according to the Marinette maker of engine parts.

"We don't need rocket scientists. We need people with basic technical skills who know how to use tools, work with their hands and make something happen," said Ron Kadlubowski, director of machining technology at Karl Schmidt Unisia.

The company has grown from 250 employees in 1985 to more than 900 now. Currently, Kadlubowski said, it has dozens of openings for skilled machine operators.

"We have so many openings now, it's amazing," he said. "If you come in with a basic skill set, and you don't have some rotten work history, you are going to get hired. And other companies in the area are hiring people left and right. The hard part is finding someone who looks encouraging."

One problem in addressing the skills crisis is a lack of basic math skills, manufacturers say.

Many job applicants can't answer the question "what is one half of one half," Rauscher said, and they can't measure something to a fraction of an inch.

"How are you going to get a workforce together when people lack those basic skills? It's pretty pathetic," he said.
What about more vocational training in public schools?  Here it seems that employers and university educators have different views:

Some blame the public schools for not preparing students for manufacturing careers.

Sullivan favors restoring a "dual enrollment" program that Wisconsin had years ago, where high school students could take classes at technical colleges and get credit toward their high school diploma as well as technical school.

"It's not a jobs crisis that we have, in my opinion. It's an education crisis," he said.

There's a huge gap between high schools and the world of work, Golembeski said. "Young people aren't getting work experience early on. The jobs they used to do are now automated or have been taken by older workers."

Often, schools can't afford to create workshops that have factory machines costing hundreds of thousands of dollars.

And some schools place almost no emphasis on manufacturing-career skills.

"Students come out of high school with no technical training and no practical skills, including how to measure something with a caliper scale," Kadlubowski said.

Vocational education has its critics, including Robert Lowe, a professor in the department of educational policy and leadership at Marquette University.

Historical data shows that students who took vocational education classes often ended up in jobs they didn't train for, and it didn't give them an advantage in their career earnings, according to Lowe.

"When you insert vocational education into a high school, you are basically saying that is going to be the destiny for a certain sector of the population. And it just doesn't fit all that well. There's been a mismatch that goes all the way back almost a century," he said.
The skilled labor gap is a national problem.  Here is another example from Dayton, Ohio:
. . . Rob Baker, manager of Behr Thermal Products’ Dayton plant. He said he needed 55 production workers immediately, but was having trouble finding candidates who could pass a drug test, read at an 8th-grade level or were willing to work eight hours a day on their feet.
The Behr jobs available are unskilled positions with starting hourly wages of $11.65, he said.

“We really need to have a conversation with businesses,” said Steven Johnson, president of Sinclair, which since 2009 has served 4,600 workers who lost their jobs in the recession.

“We’ve basically given up on finding skilled workers,” said Steve Staub of Vandalia’s Staub Manufacturing Solutions. He said he has taken to hiring former auto technicians from Walmart who are reliable and are willing to train to perform his company’s work.

He said he tries to follow the advice of Iams founder and area benefactor Clay Mathile: “Hire for attitude and train for skill.”

Bill Linesch, human resources vice president for Premier Health Partners, said Premier has 500 openings for a wide ranges of jobs and a hunger for reliable workers.

“Our No. 1 reason for termination is absenteeism,” Linesch said.

Derek Maddox, a deputy for operations at SAIC’s local offices, said he has 50 openings in computer science and engineering and hardware engineering. But as a defense contractor, he has additional requirements that make finding the right people even tougher.

“All of my employees must be U.S. citizens and they must be eligible for a security clearance,” he said.

The problem isn’t getting easier, said John McCormick, a senior principal with Heapy Engineering, a Kettering mechanical engineering firm.

“As technology advances, we require more and more skilled workers,” he said.
The skilled labor gap raises some difficult questions about public education, the government's role in supporting (or even undertaking) skills training and even immigration policies.  From where I sit such a conversation has not yet been fully engaged, particularly in the modern university, where we remain blissfully ignorant of the skilled labor gap.

07 September 2011

Martin Wolf: Listen to the Markets

As President Obama prepares for his big jobs speech, Martin Wolf, an economist and columnist for the Financial Times, cogently makes the case for government investment based not on political ideology but the empirical evidence of what the markets are saying.  He writes:
What is to be done? To find an answer, listen to the markets. They are saying: borrow and spend, please. Yet those who profess faith in the magic of the markets are most determined to ignore the cry. The fiscal skies are falling, they insist.
The markets are saying "borrow" in the form of extremely low interest rates.  Of course, borrowing for borrowing sake makes no sense, but borrowing for investment makes a lot of sense, especially when the rate of return exceeds the interest on debt.  Wolf explains:
[U]se cheap funds to raise future wealth and so improve the fiscal position in the long run. It is inconceivable that creditworthy governments would be unable to earn a return well above their negligible costs of borrowing, by investing in physical and human assets, on their own or together with the private sector. Equally, it is inconceivable that government borrowings designed to accelerate a reduction in the overhang of private debt, recapitalise banks and forestall an immediate collapse in spending cannot earn a return far above costs.
From this perspective, the focus on austerity and short-term fiscal contraction among many governments is misplaced. It reflects more than just political ideology against government, but a complete lack of faith in society to create returns on investment justified by negligible costs of borrowing. Where might society invest to generate returns above the cost of borrowing?  I can think of a few areas in addition to those mentioned by Wolf -- infrastructure, energy, skills and education.

An economic policy based on short-term investment when money is cheap coupled with a long-term plan for reigning in debt makes the most policy sense, as enhancing today's growth makes reining in tomorrow's debt that much easier.  However, political realities may simply make such a policy impossible, meaning that we will get neither a boost to short-term growth nor the benefits of investment, which means a less wealthy society in years to come, reducing political prospects for getting a handle on long-term debt.

The great irony here is that those who profess the most allegiance to market fundamentalism abandon that view when the markets are saying to governments that it is time to borrow and spend.

The Iron Law in Action Down Under

The image above is a screen grab from the website of the Australian government promoting it's proposed carbon tax. It clearly shows that the government is promoting the carbon tax in terms of economics and wealth distribution.  You could not find a better illustration of the iron law of climate policy.  (For those new to the idea, you might have a look at this excerpt from The Climate Fix.)

(Thanks BB)

04 September 2011

Faith-Based Education and a Return to Shop Class

Today's NYT has a lengthy front page article that wonders why investments in classroom technology do not lead to better educational outcomes among students:
To be sure, test scores can go up or down for many reasons. But to many education experts, something is not adding up — here and across the country. In a nutshell: schools are spending billions on technology, even as they cut budgets and lay off teachers, with little proof that this approach is improving basic learning.
In 2008 Dick Nelson and Dan Sarewitz had a commentary in Nature (here in PDF) that eloquently summarized why it is that we should not expect technology in the classroom to reault in better educational outcomes as they suggest we should in the case of a tehcnology like vaccines.

They introduce three rules for technological fixes as follows:
For some social problems, scientific research and technological innovation deliver significant progress, while for others, such activities lead to little if any improvement. Remarkable advances have been made in disease reduction through vaccination efforts, for example. But the story for literacy is different. In the United States, nearly a half century of research, application of new technologies and development of new methods and policies has failed to translate into improved reading abilities for the nation’s children1.

Although vaccinating children and teaching them to read may seem so different as\ to make them incommensurable, they are similar in several important respects. Both are carried out by trained professionals in a\ controlled environment using the standard tools of their respective trades. Notably, each has been, and continues to be, the subject of considerable research. But the reasons why progress has been so uneven point to three simple rules for anticipating when more research and development (R&D) could help to yield rapid social progress. In a world of limited resources, the trick is distinguishing problems amenable to technological fixes from those that are not. Our rules provide guidance\ in making this distinction . . .

Both vaccinating and teaching involve skilfully produced artefacts. But unlike vaccines, the textbooks and software used in education do not embody the essence of what needs to be done. That is, they don’t provide the basic ‘go’ of teaching and learning. That depends on the skills of teachers and on the attributes of classrooms and students. Most importantly, the effectiveness of a vaccine is largely independent of who gives or receives it, and of the setting in which it is given. A health-care practitioner (unlike a teacher) doesn’t usually have to figure out what will work on a case-by- case basis — no matter if the child is rich or poor, if he or she speaks English or Mandarin. The vaccine captures the basic go in a technological artefact, distinguishing it from the teaching of reading.
The three rules for a technological fix proposed by Sarewitz and Nelson are:
I. The technology must largely embody the cause–effect relationship connecting problem to solution.
II. The effects of the technological fix must be assessable using relatively unambiguous or uncontroversial criteria.
III. Research and development is most likely to contribute decisively to solving a social problem when it focuses on improving a standardized technical core that already exists.
Obviously technology in the classroom fails with respect to each of the three criteria: (a) technology is not a causal factor in learning in the sense that more technology means more learning, (b) assessment of educational outcome sis itself difficult and contested, much less disentangling various causal factors, and (c) the lack of evidence that technology leads to improved educational outcomes means that there is no such standardized technological core.

The NY Times reports:
This conundrum calls into question one of the most significant contemporary educational movements. Advocates for giving schools a major technological upgrade — which include powerful educators, Silicon Valley titans and White House appointees — say digital devices let students learn at their own pace, teach skills needed in a modern economy and hold the attention of a generation weaned on gadgets.

Some backers of this idea say standardized tests, the most widely used measure of student performance, don’t capture the breadth of skills that computers can help develop. But they also concede that for now there is no better way to gauge the educational value of expensive technology investments.

“The data is pretty weak. It’s very difficult when we’re pressed to come up with convincing data,” said Tom Vander Ark, the former executive director for education at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and an investor in educational technology companies. When it comes to showing results, he said, “We better put up or shut up.”

And yet, in virtually the same breath, he said change of a historic magnitude is inevitably coming to classrooms this decade: “It’s one of the three or four biggest things happening in the world today.”

Critics counter that, absent clear proof, schools are being motivated by a blind faith in technology and an overemphasis on digital skills — like using PowerPoint and multimedia tools — at the expense of math, reading and writing fundamentals. They say the technology advocates have it backward when they press to upgrade first and ask questions later.
In this case, the evidence would seem to show fairly conclusively that the critics are right. Yet, despite the lack of evidence for the efficacy of technology in the classroom, the lack of data has not been an obstacle to developing a long-term love affair with the promise of technology.
In 1997, a science and technology committee assembled by President Clinton issued an urgent call about the need to equip schools with technology.

If such spending was not increased by billions of dollars, American competitiveness could suffer, according to the committee, whose members included educators like Charles M. Vest, then president of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and business executives like John A. Young, the former chief executive of Hewlett-Packard.

To support its conclusion, the committee’s report cited the successes of individual schools that embraced computers and saw test scores rise or dropout rates fall. But while acknowledging that the research on technology’s impact was inadequate, the committee urged schools to adopt it anyhow.

The report’s final sentence read: “The panel does not, however, recommend that the deployment of technology within America’s schools be deferred pending the completion of such research.”
A 2010 review by the US Department of Education (here in PDF) found very few systematic studies of the role of technology in K-12 education.  WHat this means is that the advocates of technology in the classroom as a means of improving educational outcomes are basing their advocacy on little more than faith -- faith that technology will make outcomes better, despite a lack of evidence to support that faith.

This sort of faith-based education will have consequences, consider this vignette from the Arizona school at the center of the NYT story:
“We have Smart Boards in every classroom but not enough money to buy copy paper, pencils and hand sanitizer,” said Nicole Cates, a co-president of the Parent Teacher Organization at Kyrene de la Colina, an elementary school . . .

But she loves the fact that her two children, a fourth-grader and first-grader, are learning technology, including PowerPoint and educational games.
The love affair with technology reflects a deeper problem in education, hinted at in this week's Economist:
[D]emand for educated labour is being reconfigured by technology, in much the same way that the demand for agricultural labour was reconfigured in the 19th century and that for factory labour in the 20th. Computers can not only perform repetitive mental tasks much faster than human beings. They can also empower amateurs to do what professionals once did: why hire a flesh-and-blood accountant to complete your tax return when Turbotax (a software package) will do the job at a fraction of the cost? And the variety of jobs that computers can do is multiplying as programmers teach them to deal with tone and linguistic ambiguity.

Several economists, including Paul Krugman, have begun to argue that post-industrial societies will be characterised not by a relentless rise in demand for the educated but by a great “hollowing out”, as mid-level jobs are destroyed by smart machines and high-level job growth slows. David Autor, of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), points out that the main effect of automation in the computer era is not that it destroys blue-collar jobs but that it destroys any job that can be reduced to a routine. Alan Blinder, of Princeton University, argues that the jobs graduates have traditionally performed are if anything more “offshorable” than low-wage ones. A plumber or lorry-driver’s job cannot be outsourced to India.
So by all means lets have more technology in our education system -- such as technologies of operating machine tools, agricultural equipment, power systems and even food old-fashioned shop class.

02 September 2011

Energy Efficiency and Carbon Emissions: Class Assignment

Here is the assignment I gave my students in my graduate seminar on energy efficiency, motivated by this well done article:
Here is an optional exercise for you to contemplate over the holiday weekend.  (It might make for a good final exam question, hint, hint).

1. The world consumes about 500 quads of energy today
2. Projections are that the world will consume 700 quads by 2030
3. Energy efficiency (EE) can be thought of as the inverse of energy intensity (EI) -- that is GDP/TE rather than TE/GDP -- so an increase in energy efficiency is equivalent to a decrease in energy intensity.
4. In the Kaya Identity CO2/GDP equals the product of energy intensity and carbon intensity -- CO2/GDP = TE/GDP * CO2/TE
5. Using your new-found appreciation of Excel and exponential growth equations, please calculate the rate of efficiency gains necessary to offset the projected increase in energy consumption by 2030 (#2 above)
6. Do the same thing for a 30% reduction in energy consumption from 2011
7. If the world consumed 355 quads in 1990, how do your projected rates of efficiency gain compare with reductions in EI from 1990-2011?
8. Convert your numbers in #5 and #6 into (a) carbon dioxide emissions and (b) nuclear power plants equivalent
9. What does this math say about the potential for efficiency to contribute to emissions reduction goals? If not efficiency, then what? (Hint look at the Kaya Identity)
10. BTW, the numbers in #1 and #2 leave 1.5 billion people in the dark with no energy access.  So redo the exercise assuming (a) these people gain energy access at 20% of today's per capita US level (i.e., add 100 quads to #2), (b) these people gain energy access at 50% of the 2011 US level (i.e., add 250 quads to #2).

Understanding these numbers is, I think, a prerequisite to having a complete understanding of the role of efficiency gains in the debate over emissions.

To be clear on my views -- from TCF and the magazine article that I shared with you will know that I think that (a) energy efficiency is a very good thing and should be pursued, and (b) it is very limited in its potential to contribute to goals for emissions reductions.  The math exercise above will help you to understand why I have come to this conclusion.

Retraction, Remote Sensing and Due Process

[UPDATE 9/6: Gavin Schmidt explains that "Wagner's resignation is a recognition that he should have done a better job to prevent that [i.e., "the politicisation of the situation"].  There in a nutshell is the disease that afflicts climate science -- the view that scientific work in the peer review process should be evaluated according to expectations of political impact.]

[UPDATE 9/4: A reader writes in to remind me of my own related posts here and here and here.]

[UPDATE 9/4: Pielke Sr. has some thoughtful comments here.]

[UPDATE 9/3: The circus continues:
Kevin Trenberth received a personal note of apology from both the editor-in-chief and the publisher of Remote Sensing.
Why in the world would Trenberth need to be apologized to? Simply bizarre.]

The blogosphere is all atwitter over the news that the editor of the journal Remote Sensing has resigned to atone for what he believes to be a failure of his oversight of the journal by allowing what he asserts is a fatally flawed paper by climate skeptics to pass peer review and to be published.

The editor explains in an editorial published today that the paper in question "is most likely problematic" with respect to "fundamental methodological errors" and "false claims" and consequently "should therefore not have been published."

I am in no position to evaluate the substantive claims of errors and false claims in the paper, but I do agree with the folks over at RetractionWatch who call the resignation "curious" and ask if the editor feels as he does, "why not simply retract it?" In fact, if a paper has "errors" and "false claims" then a journal editor has an obligation to retract a paper (while of course giving the authors proper due process). In this case, the fact that the editor is unwilling or unable to retract the paper suggests that his resignation is probably the best course of action.

It is important for the new editor and editorial board of remote sensing to initiate retraction proceedings for the paper in question -- in other words the charges levied by the resigning editor need to be properly adjudicated. This is both in fairness to the authors (and the rest of us observers) but also good for science.

If the charges of "error" and "false claims" are upheld the paper should certainly be retracted.  If the charges are not upheld then the authors have every right to have such a judgment announced publicly.

Absent such an adjudication we are left with climate science played out as political theater in the media and on blogs -- with each side claiming the righteousness of their views, while everyone else just sees the peer review process in climate science getting another black eye.