Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Latest IPCC Report on Climate Change

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has released its latest report, which of course has been all over the headlines. This report, already obsolete since it couldn't include the most recently published research, states more strongly than ever that humans have clearly contributed to global warming. We're reaching the point where professional scientists who continue to deny this are at risk of crossing the border into crank territory. As an inducement to make that border crossing, the American Enterprise Institute has offered $10,000 to several scientists to write critical essays of the IPCC's latest work.

I'm not suggesting anything negative about the recipients of this letter - yet. I have no idea how they responded. You can find the full text of the letter here on a site defending the AEI. No, the AEI is not asking these scientists change their mind for a bribe - they would be writing what they already believe. But read the letter and see how the AEI knocks the intergrity of the IPCC while telling the letter's recipient that "From our earlier discussions of climate modeling..., I developed considerable respect for the integrity with which your lab approaches the characterization of climate modeling data." Make of the letter what you will, but I certainly wouldn't go whoring away my scientific credibility by taking a $10,000 honorarium for an oil company-funded attack on climate change. It smells a lot like earlier tobacco-funded attacks on the link between smoking and cancer. Check out Cosmic Variance for some more commentary.

The well-funded and widely echoed opposition to climate change science in the US can make it hard to find scientifically reliable news sources amid the media coverage that tends gives equal time to unequally substantiated viewpoints. One place to look is the climate change feature on Nature's News site (some articles are free, some require a subscription). For a running commentary by people who are actually doing some of the relevant research, check out the Real Climate blog.

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