The George C. Marshal Institute‘s 3rd edition of Climate Issues and Questions is a refreshing effort to provide a dispassionate evaluation of 29 major questions regarding the science of “climate change”, and to separate those from political agendas. Their method and effort is well worth considering in light of the current debate over origins of biological systems and of the universe. In particular, consider their examination of how “scientific consensus” is achieved (vs political hegemony by special interests). Their observation that climate science is relatively new parallels the current developments in origin theories. Note particularly the current explosion of knowledge about the genome and the incredible information rich complexity of biochemical processes. Compare that to the paucity of scientific hypotheses (let alone theories) that predict that knowledge and complexity. ——————————————-
Climate Issues & Questions
The debate over the state of climate science and what it tells us about past and future climate has been going on for twenty years. It is not close to resolution, in spite of assertions to the contrary. What is often referred to as a “consensus” is anything but. In many cases, this consensus represents the “expert judgment” of a handful of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) authors, which other researchers can and do disagree with. For many, especially those engaged in advocacy, the claim of consensus is a device used to advance their agenda.
Although humanity has been interested in climate since prehistoric times, climate science is, in fact, a relatively new field. It is only since the 1970s, when models were developed to connect atmospheric and oceanic climate processes, that scientists have had the tools to study climate as a system. Also, it is only since the 1970s that satellites have been available to provide global climate data. While the 1970s may seem like a long time ago, it is too short a period to provide a comprehensive understanding of the climate system, which includes processes, such as the 60-80 year North Atlantic Oscillation, that occur over many decades. It can also take many years to detect and correct errors in the climate data base, such as the recently announced correction of NASA’s surface temperature data for the U.S., and previous announcements of corrections to global satellite temperature data.
Concerns about either the potential impacts of climate change or the economic impact of ill-conceived policies result in some scientists entering the policy debate. Others, unfortunately, have entered the debate to advance political or economic agendas, gain funding for research, or enhance their personal reputations. To the extent that the debate is carried out in the public policy arena or media, the rigors of the scientific process are short-circuited.
This state of affairs creates misunderstandings and confusion over what we know about the climate system, past climate changes and their causes, human impacts on the climate system and how human activities may affect future climate. Policy needs are better served by clarity and accuracy.
See full 60 pg report Climate Issues and Questions
e.g. on Question 1:
Science is not a consensus activity. The accuracy of a scientific statement does not depend on the agreement of experts; it depends on verification, either through experimentation or observation.