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Front line in the climate trenches

Posted By Joanne Nova On June 18, 2011 @ 3:29 am In Global Warming | Comments Disabled

The trenches in the climate war tonight have coalesced at Lynas’s blog and at Judith Curry’s. (I did say yesterday it was shaping up to be a Judith-Curry-moment didn’t I?)

The Greenpeace-gate moment is making waves.

It’s in the news: David Derbyshire, Daily Mail, Oliver Wright, The IndependentLorene Gunter, National Post, (h/t GWPF Benny Peiser)

Stefan Singer, Director for Energy Policy at WWF, has waded into the comments on Lynas’s formerly-quiet site. Bob Ward is also still at it. (Lynas is asking who exactly Bob Ward is — answer, a PR man for the Grantham Institute). Meanwhile the IPCC staff are rushing to reply to questions as written up by Andy Revkin.

The signs are excellent. As Lynas says:

If the ‘deniers’ are the only ones standing up for the integrity of the scientific process, and the independence of the IPCC, then I too am a ‘denier’. Indeed, McIntyre and I have formed an unlikely double-act, posing a series of questions – together with the New York Times’s Andy Revkin – to the IPCC report’s lead author Professor Ottmar Edenhofer, to which he has yet to respond.

What Mark Lynas wrote is apropos — and pointedly so.

Here’s the scenario. An Exxon-Mobil employee – admittedly an energy specialist with an engineering background – serves as a lead author on an important IPCC report looking into the future of fossil fuels. The Exxon guy and his fellow lead authors assess a whole variety of literature, but select for special treatment four particular papers – one produced by Exxon-Mobil. This paper heralds great things for the future of fossil fuels, suggesting they can supply 80% of the world’s energy in 2050, and this headline is the first sentence of the ensuing IPCC press release, which is picked up and repeated uncritically the world’s media. Pleased, the Exxon employee issues a self-congratulatory press release boasting that his paper had been central to the IPCC effort, and urging the world’s governments to get on with opening up new areas to oil drilling for the benefit of us all.

Well. You can imagine the furore this would cause at Greenpeace. The IPCC would be discredited forever as an independent voice….

Missiles from friends

I wrote about how well it works for us when a passive skeptic asks a sensible point and gets the over-the-top Firey Grand Overreaction. When it comes to changing viewpoints, the missiles from friends are as effective as the polite notes from former enemies. Before this, the rational (but naive) soul thought that the response from friends to the bleeding obvious might be “yes, fair point. We’ll have to do better.” But instead, The Team turns on their former friend: “What the &#*& are you thinking?!” It’s at about this point when the naive get wise, and realize after years of thinking they were free to speak, they were really only free to agree with the establishment message. Their speech, all along, had been bound by invisible ties to the politically correct dictum.

That said, there is a long way to go. Mark still defends Working Group I absolutely: “no one has found a mistake”. But gently, gently I say, give the man a chance. Then we can start pointing out the gaping hole in the empirical evidence for any warming above 1.2 degrees. “Dear Mark, it’s not that there is a mistake, so much as there is a vacuum. It’s that the whole basis for the working group is an assumption that 28 million radiosondes blew away.” Let’s not overwhelm him.

Commenters wish Mark well (as do I), and Rick Bradford sums  it up:

Mark,

If you didn’t know before what happens to people who leave a cult, you’re about to find out.

Best of luck.

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