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Thread: Republicans Intimidating Climate Change Scientists, Reminiscent Of "McArthyism"

  1. #1
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    Republicans Intimidating Climate Change Scientists, Reminiscent Of "McArthyism"

    Republicans accused of witch-hunt against climate change scientists

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,38...103681,00.html

    Paul Brown, environment correspondent
    Tuesday August 30, 2005

    Some of America's leading scientists have accused Republican politicians of intimidating climate-change experts by placing them under unprecedented scrutiny.

    A far-reaching inquiry into the careers of three of the US's most senior climate specialists has been launched by Joe Barton, the chairman of the House of Representatives committee on energy and commerce. He has demanded details of all their sources of funding, methods and everything they have ever published.

    Mr Barton, a Texan closely associated with the fossil-fuel lobby, has spent his 11 years as chairman opposing every piece of legislation designed to combat climate change.

    He is using the wide powers of his committee to force the scientists to produce great quantities of material after alleging flaws and lack of transparency in their research. He is working with Ed Whitfield, the chairman of the sub-committee on oversight and investigations.

    The scientific work they are investigating was important in establishing that man-made carbon emissions were at least partly responsible for global warming, and formed part of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which convinced most world leaders - George Bush was a notable exception - that urgent action was needed to curb greenhouse gases.

    The demands in letters sent to the scientists have been compared by some US media commentators to the anti-communist "witch-hunts" pursued by Joe McCarthy in the 1950s.

    The three US climate scientists - Michael Mann, the director of the Earth System Science Centre at Pennsylvania State University; Raymond Bradley, the director of the Climate System Research Centre at the University of Massachusetts; and Malcolm Hughes, the former director of the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research at the University of Arizona - have been told to send large volumes of material.

    A letter demanding information on the three and their work has also gone to Arden Bement, the director of the US National Science Foundation.

    Mr Barton's inquiry was launched after an article in the Wall Street Journal quoted an economist and a statistician, neither of them from a climate science background, saying there were methodological flaws and data errors in the three scientists' calculations. It accused the trio of refusing to make their original material available to be cross-checked.

    Mr Barton then asked for everything the scientists had ever published and all baseline data. He said the information was necessary because Congress was going to make policy decisions drawing on their work, and his committee needed to check its validity.

    There followed a demand for details of everything they had done since their careers began, funding received and procedures for data disclosure.

    The inquiry has sent shockwaves through the US scientific establishment, already under pressure from the Bush administration, which links funding to policy objectives.

    Eighteen of the country's most influential scientists from Princeton and Harvard have written to Mr Barton and Mr Whitfield expressing "deep concern". Their letter says much of the information requested is unrelated to climate science.

    It says: "Requests to provide all working materials related to hundreds of publications stretching back decades can be seen as intimidation - intentional or not - and thereby risks compromising the independence of scientific opinion that is vital to the pre-eminence of American science as well as to the flow of objective science to the government."

    Alan Leshner protested on behalf of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, expressing "deep concern" about the inquiry, which appeared to be "a search for a basis to discredit the particular scientists rather than a search for understanding".

    Political reaction has been stronger. Henry Waxman, a senior Californian Democrat, wrote complaining that this was a "dubious" inquiry which many viewed as a "transparent effort to bully and harass climate-change experts who have reached conclusions with which you disagree".

    But the strongest language came from another Republican, Sherwood Boehlert, the chairman of the house science committee. He wrote to "express my strenuous objections to what I see as the misguided and illegitimate investigation".

    He said it was pernicious to substitute political review for scientific peer review and the precedent was "truly chilling". He said the inquiry "seeks to erase the line between science and politics" and should be reconsidered.

    A spokeswoman for Mr Barton said yesterday that all the required written evidence had been collected.

    "The committee will review everything we have and decided how best to proceed. No decision has yet been made whether to have public hearings to investigate the validity of the scientists' findings, but that could be the next step for this autumn," she said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  2. #2
    jetsetlemming Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    Mr Barton's inquiry was launched after an article in the Wall Street Journal quoted an economist and a statistician, neither of them from a climate science background, saying there were methodological flaws and data errors in the three scientists' calculations. It accused the trio of refusing to make their original material available to be cross-checked.
    Whats wrong with them not being climate scientists? The accusations they had had nothing to do with the acual science and focused on the method and calculations of the scientist in the experiments that they base their conclusions on. Implying that they can't say anything about it would be like saying you can't annouce problems with the Bush administration because you aren't a politician.
    I personally have some problems with the global warming crowd:
    In 1970, they were saying that the same problems that the are attributing global warming today would cause a "global cooling", saying that "by 2000, the world temp. would fall 11 degrees, twice enough to cause a new ice age"
    Four percent of the world's pollution is man-made. Your average large volcano eruption puts more pollution into the air then all of human history combined.
    Ozone is naturally occuring, created by the sun's rays. Any holes in the ozone layer (which are supposed to poison us by letting through the sun's radiation) fix themselves naturally. Also, the same enviromental crowd is saying that a) we should stop pollution to prevent depletion of the ozone layer, as to properly block the sun's radiation, and that we should stop pollution, which causes "green house gasses", which cause the sun's radiation to be unable to bounce out of earth. Ozone is a green house gas, and radiation doesn't bounce off earth, it's absorbed. The earth itself absorbs radiation, and the ozone layer does, too (creating more ozone).

    I'm not saying it isn't possible, but there ARE some obvious holes.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by jetsetlemming
    Whats wrong with them not being climate scientists? The accusations they had had nothing to do with the actual science and focused on the method and calculations of the scientist in the experiments that they base their conclusions on. Implying that they can't say anything about it would be like saying you can't announce problems with the Bush administration because you aren't a politician.

    It didn't say they weren't climate scientists, it said, "neither of them from a climate science background" which means they know absolutely nothing about climate science. The better analogy would be me trying to do rocket science.

    I personally have some problems with the global warming crowd:
    In 1970, they were saying that the same problems that they are attributing global warming today would cause a "global cooling", saying that "by 2000, the world temp. would fall 11 degrees, twice enough to cause a new ice age"

    There was a group just yesterday who made a $10,000 bet with climatologists making the very same claim. Regardless of what you believe or don't believe, the fact that climate change, in some areas drastically, is taking place, can't be disputed.

    Four percent of the world's pollution is man-made. Your average large volcano eruption puts more pollution into the air then all of human history combined.

    "The US contains 4% of the world's population but produces about 25% of all carbon dioxide emissions. By comparison, Britain emits 3% - about the same as India which has 15 times as many people."

    Ozone is naturally occuring, created by the sun's rays. Any holes in the ozone layer (which are supposed to poison us by letting through the sun's radiation) fix themselves naturally. Also, the same enviromental crowd is saying that a) we should stop pollution to prevent depletion of the ozone layer, as to properly block the sun's radiation, and that we should stop pollution, which causes "green house gasses", which cause the sun's radiation to be unable to bounce out of earth. Ozone is a green house gas, and radiation doesn't bounce off earth, it's absorbed. The earth itself absorbs radiation, and the ozone layer does, too (creating more ozone).

    "Until recently, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were used widely in industry and elsewhere as refrigerants, insulating foams, and solvents. Strong winds carry CFCs into the stratosphere in a process that can take as long as 2 to 5 years. When CFCs break down in the stratosphere, they release chlorine, which attacks ozone. Each chlorine atom acts as a catalyst, repeatedly combining with and breaking apart as many as 100,000 ozone molecules during its stratospheric life.

    Other ozone-depleting substances include pesticides such as methyl bromide, halons used in fire extinguishers, and methyl chloroform used in industrial processes.
    "


    I'm not saying it isn't possible, but there ARE some obvious holes.
    I'm not saying you're wrong, and I'm not saying I'm right. There is evidence that shows man has released carbon dioxide into the air over the last 150 years equivalent to that of the Earth over the last 20 million years.

    The article is about the Republican tactics to get their way...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  4. #4
    jetsetlemming Guest
    Whats wrong with them not being climate scientists? The accusations they had had nothing to do with the actual science and focused on the method and calculations of the scientist in the experiments that they base their conclusions on. Implying that they can't say anything about it would be like saying you can't announce problems with the Bush administration because you aren't a politician.

    It didn't say they weren't climate scientists, it said, "neither of them from a climate science background" which means they know absolutely nothing about climate science. The better analogy would be me trying to do rocket science.
    I'm going to have to be a dick about this one: they were chalanged on "methodological flaws and data errors in the three scientists' calculations", none of which you would need a backround in their field to know about. An accountant could find those problems. Other scientists from other fields could notice those problems, just like anyone that knows how America works examining a politician's policy (such as Bush's) could find problems like that.

  5. #5
    jetsetlemming Guest
    Oh, and not being from a enviromental backround doesn't mean they know nothing on the topic. Neither of us are (I don't think you are, at least), and we both know some.

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    Quote Originally Posted by jetsetlemming
    Oh, and not being from a enviromental backround doesn't mean they know nothing on the topic. Neither of us are (I don't think you are, at least), and we both know some.
    Read the entire paragraph.

    "Mr Barton's inquiry was launched after an article in the Wall Street Journal quoted an economist and a statistician, neither of them from a climate science background, saying there were methodological flaws and data errors in the three scientists' calculations. It accused the trio of refusing to make their original material available to be cross-checked."

    This says they had no climate science background, and that the original three scientists refused to make their material available.

    Doesn't that seem as though they may have been targetted because of their views? In order to stymie the views of the scientists?
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  7. #7
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    And again, the article is about the Republican tactics...
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  8. #8
    pcteaser Guest
    I think their tactics are a bit overbearing. But... I think any scientist should be willing and able to back up their theories as well.

    As for global warming, global cooling, whatever, I'll just say this. Climate changes based on human's interaction with the earth's environment, whether by emissions, forest clearing, concrete paving entire cities, etc., has to have had some kind of effect. Hell, I can see it here where I live in just the way the weather patterns have changed in the last 40 years.

    I don't have a problem with these 3 having to back up their claims, but it could have been handled a bit more delicately.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by pcteaser
    I think their tactics are a bit overbearing. But... I think any scientist should be willing and able to back up their theories as well.

    As for global warming, global cooling, whatever, I'll just say this. Climate changes based on human's interaction with the earth's environment, whether by emissions, forest clearing, concrete paving entire cities, etc., has to have had some kind of effect. Hell, I can see it here where I live in just the way the weather patterns have changed in the last 40 years.

    I don't have a problem with these 3 having to back up their claims, but it could have been handled a bit more delicately.
    FINE
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG


  10. #10
    jetsetlemming Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Gold9472
    Read the entire paragraph.

    "Mr Barton's inquiry was launched after an article in the Wall Street Journal quoted an economist and a statistician, neither of them from a climate science background, saying there were methodological flaws and data errors in the three scientists' calculations. It accused the trio of refusing to make their original material available to be cross-checked."

    This says they had no climate science background, and that the original three scientists refused to make their material available.

    Doesn't that seem as though they may have been targetted because of their views? In order to stymie the views of the scientists?
    I did read the entire paragraph, as well as the entire story. And it makes me think that the Barton got suspicious after the scientists refused to give out information that, if they were correct, would prove them so, and demanded the info. Sounds like a decision I would have to agree with, instead of pussy footing around feeling sorry for scientists for having to prove they are right, instead of assuming they are.

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