So, what is out there in the great blogosphere. Well, a couple of things which deserve a lot more attention. First of all Rick Piltz of Climate Science Watch reports on the House Science Committee's one last rational climate science hearing. Rick's problem is that he is grown up and so he doesn't get a tenth of the readership he deserved. His report (and he was in the audience) is a complete one, and you can get an idea of Rick's skill from this excerpt.
and he tells you where the meaty parts of the hearing video are.
The second panel was enlivened by a high point of the hearing – a sort of verbal boxing match between Ben Santer and Pat Michaels that the chairman allowed to go on for about four rounds of exchanges (from 1:56:30 to 2:12:00). Michaels, in his customary style, put up a custom-made, non-peer-reviewed data graph that purported to show that the IPCC concluded incorrectly that most of the observed global warming during the past 50 years is due to human activity. Santer came right back at him, telling the members that Michaels’ analysis was just plain “wrong” – and taking it apart point by point. Michaels is no slouch in the debating department and returned fire. Back and forth they went, Michaels the contrarian and Santer jumping on every Michaels statement to carry an argument more widely accepted by the leading climate scientists. Finally the chairman decided to move on. (Santer’s written testimony; Michaels’s written testimony.)
It’s not clear what the members get out of such an exchange. Some members have a tendency when listening to scientists giving opposing views at congresssional hearings to say something like “good, let’s hear the evidence, let’s examine both sides of the debate, and decide for ourselves.” As if a congressional hearing were an appropriate venue to study scientific issues, and as if the members (or any other non-specialists) were qualified to draw conclusions about climate science. Mostly, such an occasion is not about science so much as it is about confirming one’s preconceptions. Some might be confirmed in the view that Michaels is an outlier and provocateur, others that there is a big debate in the science community that precludes meaningful policymaking. But watching Santer have an opportunity to go after Michaels “on the record” was quite a moment to see live (from our vantage point in a back corner of the standing-room-only audience at the hearing).
Next, Eli has stumbled upon a newish blog, Idiot Tracker, where some interesting meta things are being said. An interesting place to start is a discussion of the "lukewarmers" and how they have positioned themselves between the science and the hard place
There is a half-full glass here, which is that a number of people who clearly identify emotionally and politically with the denialist movement have taken major steps towards the scientific consensus in order to maintain their credibility. While sharing the denialosphere's loathing of "activists" and its demonization of scientists like Hansen and Mann (whose unforgivable sin was to establish beyond a reasoned doubt that humans are causing a rapid and substantially unprecedented warming of the earth's climate) the lukewarmers avoid three major pitfalls of denialism:but
1. They do not have to deny the basic physical laws which dictate that greenhouse gases cause warming.
2. They do not have to refute the massive physical evidence that the climate is warming.
3. They do not have to pretend that the vast majority of scientists who accept the theory of AGW are participating in a vast conspiracy to hide the truth about (1) and (2).
The lukewarmist position also allows one to position oneself as a moderate threading the needle between two extremes.
The real contrast here is not between "activists" and "skeptics" but between deniers and everybody else – between the science and the right-wing lunacy. But lukewarmers are exploiting the shift in the Overton window brought about by voluble climate deniers to position their radical views as a sane middle ground.Eli is quite fond of the Overton window, esp. as he thinks that the Rabett introduced it to the climate discussion. In a continuation, Idiot Tracker discusses the limits of lukewarmerism, or the fact that even if they choose an unreasonably low central limit for climate sensitivity, they have to pick a confidence interval, except that for reasons made clear at the Tracker site, they can't, not and remain lukewarm.
Here's the problem. Lukewarmism doesn't get its adherents where they want to go – because even if we accept at face value their claims, the world would still require intense efforts to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases in order to stave off disaster.
But, but, dear bunnies, we do have to have something off color. You know the sort of thing that brings a little dinner up with the disgust, and friend Lubos provides it with a full blown rant on Tawanda Johnson, the APS Press Secretary who responded to his emertius Hal Lewis . Now true, Steve Milloy has reposted it. And true, Lubos' post is, is well, kinda early Strom Thurmond, and true, it makes no sense, but it will be very useful the next time Keith and Judy start tutting which Ethon reminds Eli is now.