Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Red team and blue team may be a good next step to fix the U.S. climatology

The EPA chief – the U.S. minister of environment – Scott Pruitt wants to return some healthy exchange and validation of ideas to the U.S. climate science. So he has sketched his "red team-blue team" paradigm. Two groups of people should interact according to the principles of dialectics and exchange evidence and decide what's right and what's wrong, what's known and what's unknown when it comes to the climate change.

Recall that in Matrix, the red (Republican) pill gives you knowledge, freedom, and the truth of reality. The blue (Democratic) pill gives you falsehood, security, and the blissful ignorance of illusion.

Pruitt has chosen Steve Koonin, a physicist and an Obama DOE bureaucrat, as the head of the alarmist team. They call it the "red team" but I guess Koonin's should be called the Democratic "blue team". While he says that the climate change is a problem, Koonin has shown some signs of reality years ago – at least, he recognized that the likes of Richard Lindzen and Judith Curry have been unfairly targeted by the alarmist movement.

Needless to say, I think that Pruitt's plan seems promising. It would formalize and beautify a situation that has informally existed for many years, anyway. The situation is that when it comes to the climate debate, there exist two comparably powerful and numerous groups of researchers who dislike each other. They can talk to each other within each group and members of each group often peer review the work of their colleagues but there are problems when they try to interact with members of the other groups.

On one hand, you have the alarmists who have enjoyed the protective hand of the governments, politicians, and the media and that allowed them to conquer most of the official institutions and channels, especially their decisive chairs.

On the other hand, you have the skeptics who actually know the science, how it works, who do their work carefully and impartially, and whose top thinkers dramatically trump the alarmists when it comes to the intelligence and the agreement of their theories with the observations.

Both groups think that the people on the other side are idiots and/or corrupt.

For many years, the alarmists would enjoy the political protection of the U.N. and most governments in the world – not only the likes of Mugabe but also the U.S. government. Thankfully, things changed a bit in the U.S. last November.

You may see how insanely unfairly the two groups were treated in the past. For example, Fred Singer led the NIPCC, the non-governmental international panel for climate change. I was honored to be listed as a co-author of its 880-page-long 2009 report. Most people haven't heard of the NIPCC, unlike the IPCC, despite the fact that the folks behind the NIPCC have achieved much more in climatology than the leaders of the IPCC. For example, Fred Singer was the main guy who sent the first satellites monitoring the Earth's atmosphere to the orbit.

The alarmists' counterparts of folks like Fred Singer and Richard Lindzen are folks like John Holdren, a pseudo-intellectual harbored by Harvard whose only well-known publications in science are papers written with Paul Ehrlich in the 1970s that predicted the mankind would mostly starve to death by the year 2000 and similar junk.

OK, this John Holdren has been saying nothing else than demonstrable rubbish throughout his life but that couldn't prevent the Boston Globe from publishing his text
The perversity of the climate science kangaroo court.
He says that the red team-blue team idea is "perverse" because instead of such an interaction, you should trust fake scientists such as himself who have successfully hijacked most of the political institutions on the boundary of the institutionalized science that he proudly enumerates. The arrogance of these comments is utterly disgusting. But let me copy a paragraph about Holdren's understanding of the scientific process because it's rather good:
All of science works through the continuous application of the skeptical scrutiny of key findings by essentially everybody working in a given field. This happens in part through the peer-review process that findings must survive before being published in a scientific journal. It happens far more widely through the scrutiny of the wider community of experts in any given field once the findings have been published. That scrutiny is intense, not least because scientists make their reputations in substantial part by providing corrections and refinements to the published findings of others. This is the essence of the cumulative and self-correcting nature of the scientific enterprise as a whole.
Right, this is basically accurate. And it's the reason why the climate change movement is not science – it has failed to follow basically every single principle that Holdren has enumerated, and many more.

So in the climate change science, skeptical scrutiny of the key findings has been prohibited for several decades. Authors of papers that are known to be completely wrong to everyone who follows what's going on – e.g. Michael Mann, the lead author of the utterly discredited hockey stick papers – have been promoted whenever they were politically convenient; all the researchers who were actually scrutinizing the results and theories critically were harassed and sometimes fired simply because a critical scrutiny of the key findings was always found inconvenient by the true masters of this non-science, the alarmists with the pre-decided conclusions.

In 2009, the Climategate leaked e-mails have provided us with the most detailed insight into the corrupt mechanisms that were controlling the field at that time. The Climategate gave us 100+1 proofs that the climate change community didn't respect the "rules of science" as summarized by John Holdren himself.

Instead of a scrutiny of the findings, we were constantly witnessing a "scrutiny" of all those who dared to question any statement that sounded alarmist. It's not just some abstract accusation or a conspiracy theory saying that everything was happening covertly. All these things were happening – and to some extent, they are still happening – overtly. People are constantly fed the lie that the debate is over, it is prohibited, 97% of some people agree with something so no one is allowed to say anything that would contradict or even question any alarmist statement.

What a majority of the visible climate scientists and especially journalists, politicians, and other non-scientists connected to them have been doing in recent decades obviously wasn't an example of the scientific process and everyone who says that it was an example of a scientific process is either a brainwashed moron unable to see even the most visible things, or a liar and a demagogue, or both. For example, John Holdren is both.

Climatology used to be and should be another field of the Earth science that actually follows the scientific protocol, where hypotheses may be proposed and tested without threats, where the evidence for or against one statement or another is being weighed and evaluated meritocratically, impartially, honestly, and without any pressure from the politicians or NGOs. This situation needs to be restored in the climate science.

Richard Lindzen proposes to slash the funding of the field by 80-90 percent, to return it to comparable funding levels to where it was before the collusion with the alarmist politicians started to worsen exponentially (not doubly exponentially, thank God). But even if that happens, and I think that it should happen, the reduction wouldn't guarantee that the surviving portion of climatology will be honest, healthy, and respectful towards the principles of the scientific method as well as the actual results that have withstood the validation.

It was mostly the self-described skeptics who have found many problems with many papers, statements etc. Some – less scientifically literate – skeptics are criticizing things that are actually correct. While every sane person knows that there's a lot of lies and nonsense out there, e.g. in the media, the boundary isn't quite clear to many people, including the relative insiders. A blue team and a red team that would be capable of speaking to each other could make the situation better.

With a sensible choice of the people in both teams, it should be trivial because I am confident that scientifically literate people will surely agree with the correct alarmist-like statements – like "the greenhouse effect exists in principle" – as well as with the correct skeptic-like statements – "a degree of warming isn't expected to triple the number of hurricanes". I actually think that the scientists' views about the well-defined scientific questions will unavoidably be close to each other even if they disagree about the optimal policies and/or about the political ideology.

A real problem could be that when the two teams are chosen in this constructive way, there will be people on both sides, especially on the alarmist side, who will denounce both teams. It seems likely to me that for the hardcore climate holy warriors, even Steve Koonin is already a heretic and they won't recognize him as a representative of their side. Everyone would be dismissed as a heretic by these people if he ever said anything that could prevent the evolution of the "consensus" in the ever more hysterical direction.

So I don't expect that the alarmists will completely cease to exist. But it's desirable to unmask the giant amount of misinformation that's been spread by both sides, especially the alarmist side, and the two-team exercise could be helpful to bring some order to the havoc.

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