Monday, February 26, 2007

Ethon cracks up laughing.....

The Bunny hopped home today to find his liver loving friend on the stoop laughing fit to be fried chicken. After the big bird chugged some refreshing bile and regained composure Eli asked whats up. Turns out that a mutual acquaintance has jumped the shark ( there is a blog for everything). Captain Renault** is shocked, shocked that governors have figured out that climate change in driven by people doing stuff like burning a lot of fossil fuel. He is distressed, distressed to hear that a politician believes there may be problems because of this. He is disgusted, disgusted that a public official has heard of the IPCC report and further that same do not accept State Climatologists acting as if they are speaking for the State while saying it ain't so. The only worse thing that could happen is a scientist (scare italics) doin' it.

The latest to attempt the Kaine shuffle is Govenor Ruth Minner of Delaware. The good Captain harumphed on a line in the first paragraph of her letter to David Legates:

Your views on climate change, as I understand them, are not aligned with those of my my administration.
But, as all readers of Rabett Run know, ya gotta RTWholeFR (linked to by the Good Captain), which goes on:
In light of my position and due to the confusion surrounding your role with the State, I am directing you to offer any future statements on this or other public policy matters only on behalf of yourself or the University of Delaware and not as State Climatologist. I believe that your responsibilities as State Climatologist do not include representing the views of Delaware's Executive Branch, and I understand that you have not provided your opinions as such.

It is my sincere hope that you do not view this as an affront to your professional credibility but rather as an attempt to assure that the public better understands the role of the State Climatologist and the distinction between the State Climate Office and Delaware's executive agencies.
Now this ain't we're gonna can your ass if you don't shut up, but it does say that from now on when you speak, make it clear you don't speak for me. Of course, the University of Delaware might have something to say on the matter in addition.

There is the usual invocation of what if NASA told Jim Hansen to not speak for NASA. Which of course is why Hansen is careful to always say such things as:
Of course, although I am a government employee, these are just my opinions as a private citizen. They do not represent government policy. Thank you.
Eli is sure that Legates can learn that tune. Yet, our concerned, concerned Captain persists
If the concern is really procedural -- that is, who gets to speak what information under what designation -- then the response should be focused on improving those procedures. The selective focus on certain individuals and certain perspectives instead makes these complaints about the "politicization of science" themselves politicized. While this might work to the short-term advantage of certain agendas in political debate, what won't be addressed by this approach are those processes that foster the pathological politicization of science.
Which kind of makes you wonder what rock he has been hiding under. People who work for governments and universities have a pretty good idea of who speaks for the institution and which body part they are going to lose if they try it. On the other hand, if you speak for yourself and make that clear, the rules are a lot loser (assuming you are not too high in management, e.g. Bill Happer) . The big difference this decade is that this administration has shoved its public affairs apparatchiks a lot lower into the agencies, so the concern is how the rules have changed in the past 6 years. But we can pretend that none of this ever happened can we not o' mice of mine.

Still, let us not go away without looking at the memorandum of understanding appointing Legates (signed 2005 by Minner):
The Delaware State Climate Office has demonstrated adequate support from the Northeast Regional Climate Center, the National Weather Service, the State of Delaware and the University of Delaware.....

This memorandum of agreement supersedes all previous agreements between NCDC and State Climate Offices for the State of Delaware. Either party may, in writing, request a formal review of or prepare amendments to this agreement at any time. changes will become effective upon written consent of all parties. This agreement may be terminated by either party with 90 days written notification or sooner by mutual consent.
Hmm, 90 days, either party, termination. Now THAT is a threat.

**Casablanca, a story of loss and redemption, but Eli seriously doubts a beautiful friendship is in the offing. One has to confront the issues raised by Andrew Freedman on Capital Weather about AMS certified meteorologists, (paraphrased): with the designation as State Climatologist comes a responsibility to understand and communicate scientific information as generally accepted in the field. A deviation from such a position requires warning the public that the opinion is personal and does not represent what is generally considered best science. Where the State Climatologist's opinion departs from the policy of the appointing body, the three general options are discussion, resignation or speaking on those matters as a private person.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

"... foster the pathological politicization of science ..."

Why, _why_ can't I read this without hearing it as said by Elmer Fudd?

Anonymous said...

Yes, yes, yes, more dissembling by Republican favorite, Roger Pielke Jr. I wonder if the Delaware governore will ask Legates to turn over any and all records of payments he might have received to publicize of publish his views o climate change? That would be interesting to see.

We know already that Roger Pielke Jr. got a small chunk of change for writing for Cato's Regulation magazine.

Too bad, Pielke Jr. All of your friends are disappearing or being exposed.

Anonymous said...

In at least one regard, Roger Pielke is like two different people.

Sometimes he indicates that politicizing science is bad ("pathological politicization of science") and at other times, he replies to those complaining about politicization by Republicans: "everyone does it", as if to say "It's just part of the process, so get over it."

Anonymous said...

Has anyone tracked how often Pielke Jr. gets his name in the papers.

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/outreach/news.html

He's a mental midget but he gets more media play than Jim Hansen.


Mus musculus

Anonymous said...

Oh boy....Roger "I don't talk about the science, just the policy" Pielke Jr. is talking about....the science!

Who would have ever guessed.

http://sciencepolicy.colorado.edu/prometheus/archives/science_politics/001131spinning_science.html

Only this time, he's criticizing not just a new study and the University that supported it, but also the National Science Foundation.

The boy has an enormous ego....

EliRabett said...

Roger and Chip are seriously distorting or are just mis-informed about the process by which NSF press releases are generated. It starts with the PI of a grant sending a short description of the "interesting research result", which forms the basis of the press release. You do get to look at the final product before it is released also.