Global warming hotheads freeze out science's sceptics
Paltridge gives a crisp summary of the physics and economics of climate change, but I want to focus here on his account of the new green religion. "Perhaps the most interesting question in all this business is how it can be that the scientific community has become so over-the-top in support of its own propaganda about the seriousness and certainty of upcoming drastic climate change. Scientists after all are supposed to be unbiased in their assessment of a problem and are expected to tell it as it is. Over the centuries they have built up the capital of their reputation on just that supposition. And for the last couple of decades they have put that capital very publicly on the line in support of a cause which, to say the least, is overhung by an enormous amount of doubt. So how is it that the rest of the scientific community, uncomfortable as it is with both the science of global warming and the way its politics is being played, continues to let the reputation of science in general be put at considerable risk because of the way the dangers of climate change are being vastly oversold?"
Part of the answer lies in the way institutions find ways to silence their employees. Paltridge himself was involved in setting up the Antarctic research centre in the early 90s with the CSIRO. As he recalls: "I made the error at the time of mentioning in a media interview -- reported extensively in The Australian on a slow Easter Sunday -- that there were still lots of doubts about the disaster potential of global warming. Suffice it to say that within a couple of days it was made clear to me from the highest levels of CSIRO that, should I make such public comments again, then it would pull out of the process of forming the new centre." The CSIRO, it turned out, was in the process of trying to extract many millions of dollars for further climate research at the time.
Read it here.