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Censorship Science

Expert Wants to Decertify Global Warming Skeptics 926

Penguinisto writes "Apparently in the Senate, at least one scientist wants to put a permanent stop to any arguments over Global Warming. The Weather Channel's most prominent climatologist is advocating that broadcast meteorologists be stripped of their scientific certification if they express skepticism about predictions of manmade catastrophic global warming."
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Expert Wants to Decertify Global Warming Skeptics

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  • Censorship (Score:4, Interesting)

    by it0 ( 567968 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:47AM (#17660290)
    How can a scientist be al for censoring?? That said, all the manipulation, lobbying ,etc against known facts should be stopped. So I guess they want to fight corruption with censorship... only in the USA...
  • Weatherchannel (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr. Cody ( 554864 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:48AM (#17660296)
    Where exactly in the meterologist pecking order does the "Weather Channel's most prominent so-on and so-forth" go?
  • So what? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by davFr ( 679391 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:48AM (#17660300)
    2006 was the warmest year ever, and in Europe the snow level in ski stations is close to the lowest level (a.k.a. nada/nichts/nothing/rien!).
    You can raise doubt about how much more degrees we will have in 2050, but I would certainly remove certification to people who still claim there is no problem with the evolution of climat.
  • by DescentToCocytus ( 1004224 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @04:50AM (#17660310)
    I thought there still was quite a bit of legitimate controversy on this issue. My understanding is that, while it is generally accepted that global warming is real, it is not nearly as accepted that the warming is "manmade" as the article puts it. The other leading claim is that it is merely part of the normal warming and cooling cycle of the earth, similar to what takes place at the end of each ice age. To strip meteorologists of their certifications is irresponsible abuse of power, and moreover highly damaging to the very basic fundaments of science.
  • by blazespinnaker ( 967724 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:19AM (#17660536)
    Marc Morano (the Senate blog poster) http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Marc_Mo rano [sourcewatch.org] , is an outspoken right wing aide to republican senator. He is complaining, clearly, about the anchor at the weather channel, certainly not encouraging her. This is *not* coming from the Senate, but rather from the Weather Channel.
  • by martin-boundary ( 547041 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @05:59AM (#17660770)
    I have no problem with people discussing anything they like, anywhere.

    I think it's ridiculous to believe that sort of thing advances science. It doesn't. There's exactly one place where scientific discussion advances, and it's in peer reviewed scientific journals. Period.

    If the weather guys (or anybody) have something to contribute to the scientific discussion, they should write a paper and have it published. Otherwise, they don't count.

    What you're talking about is educating the masses on science. That's fine too, but whoever wants to do that has no business mixing in their own personal views, or pretending that by doing so they're advancing scientific debate.

  • by Arker ( 91948 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @06:13AM (#17660868) Homepage
    There are several problems with this argument. For one thing, if the 'consensus' view is indeed wrong then the actions that are being urged to avoid disaster could easily wind up *causing* a different disaster. At best it would mean a collosal waste of scarce resources for no good reason.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:31AM (#17661328)
    The person writing that inflammatory straw man blog did PR work for Exxon.

    "2 November, 2002
    Wrote an article entitled "Greens Praise ExxonMobil for Efforts to Save Tiger," which highlighted ExxonMobil's donations to tiger conservation efforts.
    Source: CNSNews.com"

    http://www.exxonsecrets.org/html/personfactsheet.p hp?id=1126 [exxonsecrets.org]

    Exxon currently has a PR campaign going to refute global warming, they are worried that energy efficiency schemes will reduce their profits.

    http://www.prwatch.org/node/5642 [prwatch.org]

    So he's just a shill, trying to exaggerate statements made by a weather channel presenter in order to denigrate the science of climate change.

  • Re:Wrong Way (Score:3, Interesting)

    by rahrens ( 939941 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @07:43AM (#17661392)
    "It is occasionally asserted..." - because people like the quoted poster remembers such articles. I remember them too. Neither the other poster nor I am asserting that the "scientific community" necessarily *believed* anything, merely that we remember being told by the popular press that such speculation was being made by members of that community. That is one reason why the general public was so skeptical at first about global warming - we'd already heard the scientists speculate about cooling, for Pete's sake. We all know how the press can take an idea that is somehow new or different or sensational and run with a story just to sell papers. (...and how other media can jump on that bandwagon!)

    We also know how scientists can also take advantage of that and try to use such publicity to garner additional funds for favored programs. Neither means that there is any consensus in that community on the ideas or theories being publicized, but the public can get the wrong idea about that very easily. Thus the "assertions" Wikipedia mentions pop up as people remember those articles.

    Doesn't mean anybody is making anything up.
  • Fine with me (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:08AM (#17661506)
    I think this would be fine, so long as it swings both ways. If someone so much as mentions global warming during my forecast, strip their certification.

    Really, I'm tired of hearing about it completely. It's fine to discuss such things, But I don't wanna hear it when I'm watching television. And scare-mongering will accomplish nothing. No one is gonna give up their easy daily life to give the planet ten or twenty more years.

    Just tell me if it's gonna friggin rain tomorrow or not.
  • by polar red ( 215081 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:13AM (#17661520)
    if greenland was truly icefree, then sea-levels should have been 7 meters higher than what we have now. Can you then explain why the Netherlands and the northern part of Belgium had cities in the medieval times, on places that are less than 5 meters above sea-level ? And, yes we have buildings here from the 11th century.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:14AM (#17661530)
    wonder from where the name "Greenland" came from.

    The prevailing view is that is was political spin by the guy who ran the place to attract more settlers to a fairly marginally inhabitable place. It wasn't actually a tropical paradise, even in the middle ages.
  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Aladrin ( 926209 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @08:27AM (#17661598)
    If we decertified everyone that held a view we thought was 'potentially very dangerous' we'll be right back to thinking the world is flat or other now-obviously-false things.

    I've seen enough lately about global warming to think that we may actually have considerably less effect on the environment than we think. The Earth goes through hot-cold cycles constantly and we have probably sped up this cycle. That's not a good thing. But if you look at the long view... We're about to run out of oil anyhow. They keep predicting 10 years, but they'd done that for 5 or 10 years already. So let's assume it'll stretch out to 30 years. In 30 years, we won't be ABLE to make the pollution that we have been. Nature put built-in limits on it. So we'll have polluted for a few hundred years at the most, then calm down on it whether we like it or not. A hundred years later, I bet we won't even be able to tell anything changed.

    It's a fact that the planet is heating up. We know that. But correlation is not the same as causation. We can't separate exactly how much the planet heated up because of things humans have done, and if we can't do that, we can't PROVE that 'global warming' is an issue.

    They want to decertify people over a subject that they can't prove.

    So, either admit that the earth is flat and God never intended people to fly, or live with the fact that there are people who don't believe what is 'common sense' and fight the system. I kind of like those people.
  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:06AM (#17662680)
    Doctors are removed from the AMA if they as much as mention chiropractors. After an auto accident in 1976 when my doctor gave the the choice of drugs or surgery for my dislocated shoulder, I asked about chiropracty.

    "We're not even allowed to discuss it" he said. "The AMA doesn't recognise chiropracty." Clearly, the man had been muzzled.

  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Thundersnatch ( 671481 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:31AM (#17663066) Journal

    In many cases recycling isn't economical, or even environmentally friendly. For example, recycling laser-printed office paper isn't necessarily a good idea. [stanford.edu]

    Aluminum cans, on the other hand, make good sense for recycling in most cases.

    So instead of "recycle, recycle, recycle" how about "recycle something if that recycling doesn't cause more energy use and chemical pollution than making an new one".

    But wait, I forgot... there can be no dissent from the religion of environmentalism.

  • Re:Thoughtcrime (Score:2, Interesting)

    by sabre86 ( 730704 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:40AM (#17663200)
    My meteorologist friend -- she's a student at the moment -- is a senior in operational meteorology. As I understand it that's the science of predicting weather. The school also has a degree in broadcast meteorology, which focuses on being a TV meteorologist. The operational students seem to hold the broadcast students in a bit of contempt for not being "real" meteorologists. I understand the broadcast meteorology degree, while apparently becoming more science-like, has historically been more communications oriented. So a degree in meteorology, particularly if it's broadcast, does not necessarily imply a fair knowledge of sciences.

    Of course, the contempt may be just rivalry, I'm not entirely sure.

    Here's Mississippi State's (the school she attends) relevant websites: Broadcast Meteorology [msstate.edu] and Operational Meteorology [msstate.edu]. A quick perusal suggests that operational meteorology does have stronger science requirements than the vanilla broadcast meteorology degree (though not necessarily the professional broadcast meteorology degree). And yeah, I realize they're more concentrations than degrees.

  • Adapt or die (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:27PM (#17664808) Homepage Journal
    There is a range in predictions of the consequences of global warming and one should look at the high end in assesing risk. Even the high end may not be an adequate guide in some cases. For example, the risk of more powerful storms is predicted generally to come late in the game yet there is some evidence that an incease in the number of catagory 4 and 5 storms is already occuring. Could be a problem with the models.

    I think your second point is quite interesting. We are now adapting to global warming, and we a pretty good at it. Just as crop planting decisions are sometimes based on El Nino forecasts, we are in pretty good shape when it comes to making plans to adapt. The market is a help. Insurance companies are beginging to abandon coastal customers for example.

    While we may adapt in our activites (we're the best species in that game), other species may not have the time to adapt becuase they rely on evolutionary timescales and we are running the environmental change much faster than that. Species that are adapted to polar or upland habitats will simply run out of room and face extinction. Now, here's the rub, we actually depend on functioning ecosystems for our survival. If we change the conditions so rapidly that ecosystems can no longer function, we could be in very deep trouble, of the sort where our ability to adapt ourselves does not really matter anymore.

    Where I live, cherry trees were blooming in December. They usually do this in April. There were not a lot of bees out because they are a bit more sensible. So, the blooms were not pollenated. No matter, it is cold enough now that those blooms would not have born fruit anyway. But, will those trees bloom again in season? If they do, will the trees become diseased because they've expended too much energy and have become weakened. What about if this happens again next year?

    The webs of ecosystems are very resiliant, but they are not unbreakable. One needs to think about the broader implications of adaptation to gloabal warming when discussing the merits of adaptation vrs. prevention.
    Disclosure: I have a personal finacial interest in ending global warming (see my home page).
  • by benhocking ( 724439 ) <benjaminhocking@@@yahoo...com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @01:02PM (#17665384) Homepage Journal

    I do understand why intelligent, well-meaning, well-educated people (amongst others) will bring this up - especially if they lived through the 70's and were not involved with the climatology science itself (as very few were, of course). I would not be surprised, either, if you could find a small handful of climatologists (and possibly even journal articles) from the 70's who suggested this.

    However, The difference is that it was never accepted by mainstream climatology. Therefore, the global cooling "alarmists" have more in common with the global warming "deniers" of today than with the global warming "alarmists" (and I use both words loosely). That makes this comparison invalid when arguing against "consensus science".

    If you want to search journal articles form the 70's and 80's, you can always go here [scirus.com]. You may not be able to pull up the entire article, but you should be able to find the abstracts. (You might want to be selective in your "Information types" - unless you want to get home pages, too.)

  • by mdsolar ( 1045926 ) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:54PM (#17675738) Homepage Journal
    I think the question you're posing is "Is the human effect measurable against the background?"

    The answer is almost certainly yes. This is a different question from "Is the Earth warmer than it would be if we had not increased the CO2 concentration?" The answer to that is definately yes.

    The reason that this is definite is owing to basic conservation principles. Solar energy is retained by the atmosphere because it is more opaque at infrared wavelengths than at optical wavelengths. The Earth would be much colder if it did not have an atmosphere. The lunar surface (on average) is colder than the Earth's surface. The Moon (on average) is the same distance from the Sun as the Earth. The difference in temperature is mainly owing the the greenhouse effect provided by the Earth's atmosphere. Changing the composition of the atmosphere as we have changes the infrared opacity, increasing it, and thus boosts the greenhouse effect. There can't really be reasonable doubt about this.

    The increase in the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere is something we did. The Earth IS warmer than it would be otherwise. It is possible that the "otherwise" temperature would also be higher for other reasons, but for a part of the temperature increase, we are responsible.

    I don't think this is anything to feel egotistical about. We're the dominant megafauna. Buffalo remade the plains. It's not so suprising that we're remaking the Earth. We're just not being smart about how we're doing it. I think there is a better way. Take a look at the video on http://www.jointhesolution.com/mdsolar [jointhesolution.com] and see what you think.

The primary function of the design engineer is to make things difficult for the fabricator and impossible for the serviceman.