Tuesday, 13 January 2009

Questioning the climate researchers

Physicist William Happer is another global warming sceptic. He has recently joined the more than 600 scientists on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee list who deny anthropomorphic global warming, although he has been a sceptic for longer. He makes an interesting comment about a time when he was managing a $3 billion energy research fund.
Happer said he felt compelled to make sure it was being spent properly. “I would have [researchers] come in, and they would brief me on their topics,” Happer explained. “They would show up. Shiny faces, presentation ready to go. I would ask them questions, and they would be just delighted when you asked. That was true of almost every group that came in.”

The exceptions were climate change scientists, he said.

“They would give me a briefing. It was a completely different experience. I remember one speaker who asked why I wanted to know, why I asked that question. So I said, you know I always ask questions at these briefings … I often get a much better view of [things] in the interchange with the speaker,” Happer said. “This guy looked at me and said, ‘What answer would you like?’ I knew I was in trouble then. This was a community even in the early 1990s that was being turned political. [The attitude was] ‘Give me all this money, and I’ll get the answer you like.’ ”

People are excited when you are interested in something they find fascinating. They often want to tell you about it and explain how they see it. A stand-offish attitude is an unusual response, especially if it applies to a group with a shared interest rather than a single quirky individual.

Not wanting to answer questions about climate change, or offering to find the answer you desire in advance does not disprove the theory of global warming. It does however raise suspicions about the persons involved in the research. Their integrity is questionable*.

One could say, "It is not the theory I question, it is my trust in the theorists that is lacking."


*This does not necessarily apply to every global warming insister. Several may be happy to explain the theory, offer a reasoned defence of it, and share their data. Further, deniers who do what I am condemning are just as wrong. However this is less likely for deniers in the current environment because the deniers are challenging the accepted dogma. The reigning paradigm is accepted as the default position.

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