Friday, February 04, 2011

Sloop Says

Rabett Run needs some content on the Bacalao BunnyFest and Sloop, down in the comments to another posting, was nice enough to help out

The Workshop’s statement of purpose “Reconciliation in the Climate Change Debate” is an embarrassingly muddled essay that proposes an inappropriate (to the degree it’s even characterized) conflict resolution process to resolve a conflict itself fallaciously characterized. Both its articulation of the conflict and the proposed conflict resolution process are of little to no value IMHO to anyone responsible for advising elected or executive government leaders on CC and AGW. Although devoting time to deconstructing this turgid turd of an essay is tempting just for the blogo-sport of it, it is not worth my effort to do so, nor your time to read it.
Still, it is Friday and we have time to waste waiting for the weekend to arrive so Eli will provide the link, who will provide the Fisk Sauce?

Suffice it to say that conflict resolution strategies and techniques (including mediation, facilitation, negotiation) used to address public policy disputes are minimally applicable to natural science debate and knowledge development.

As to the preceding PNS/PoMo discussion, there are areas of social science where it is essential to explore the values, norms, and beliefs of the observer in order to understand usefully what and how they observe, particularly social science disciplines that stem from or are relevant to public policy processes.

IF the CG Foundation and the Lisbon and Joint Rsch Centre were anything more than a oil-saturated cadre of concern trolls, they’d be proposing to facilitate a risk analysis and management discussion to help public, and private, decision makers formulate and pursue AGW mitigation and adaptation policies and actions. That’s the model of structured dialogue where exploration of how human values and histories determine individual and collective perception and interpretation of empirical facts can be accomplished in a valid, insightful manner

The folks and orgs trumpeting this workshop are just pitiful.

Well yes, and some, not Eli to be sure, would point this out.


Sloop said...

Thanks Eli for the post-up. I am flattered to be so acknowledged in this rabbit warren. I am not in principle disposed to writing biting, angry critiques, but in perusing this workshop's statement of purpose something in me snapped. First, the muddy thinking made my teeth grind. Allow me to indulge in a few examples.

The statement stumbles badly out of the gate by stating that the IPCC is the "key science-policy institute". Does that mean it is a science policy institute? Or an institute that pulls scientists and policy makers together to come up with consensual statements about the state of the science? Is either possible meaning valid? The first definitely not and I’m dubious about the second.

Second paragraph: what's the "current internal dispute" in the science community they reference? The whining of a few outliers about the consensus and concern re: CC among most scientists? Build that strawman higher. If it only had a brain.

Fourth paragraph: Mediation and conflict resolution generally require exactly what they state is not required: acceptance of the “integrity and competence of the other side.”

Opening paragraphs refer repeatedly to the notion that there are two sides in “the dispute”, but later they state there are not two sides but "a spectrum of positions, perhaps on several dimensions". Make up your mind! And what the heck does "perhaps on several dimensions" mean? More pseudointellectual speak.

Finally, this excretion: "Judith Curry and her colleagues agreed to debate in a nonviolent way in the aftermath of hurricane Katrina and of the dearth of the expected immediate successors." Debate in a 'non-violent way'? Does that mean no rock-throwing allowed? Does Dr. Curry feel continuing criticisms of her rhetoric and views are violent, or just too mean? Sounds awfully thin-skinned.

And then the pseudoscience phrase: "dearth of expected immediate successors" to Katrina? This seems to line up with Pielke Jr's shiny-on-the-surface-but-crumbly-in-the-middle arguments about how the relatively few N American landfalls since ’05 calls into question still imprecise predictions about variations in N. Atl. hurricane intensities and frequencies based upon recent climatology and hurricane research. Why are landfalls in US and Accumulated Cyclone Energy index variations seized on as key indicators to track CC impacts on storm intensity and frquency? Again, seems compelling on the surface but pops like a soap bubble when probed a bit.

But aside from the muddy rhetoric and hay-baling of this workshop’s statement of purpose, what really sent me over the edge is that we absolutely do need government agency reps, legislators, diplomats, scientists, and fossil-fuel energy executives sitting down together committed to arriving at shared agreement on the extraordinary problems we face with regard to ocean/atmosphere/climate change, on solutions that will be effective in turning downward GHG emission rates (and land-use and deforestation and soot/black carbon); solutions that are pareto-optimal, fair to the world’s poor and starving, and uphold our ethical responsibilities to future sentient beings.

Anything that slows or prevents the eventual attainment of this ideal of pluralistic, negotiated governance, such as this recent gathering of publicity hounds, requires our vigorous condemnation.

dhogaza said...

Bacalhau, actually ...


Oh, well, accidently placing Lisboa in Spain isn't as bad as Cheney placing Spain in Latin America :)

Anonymous said...

The whole notion of conflict resolution is completely inappropriate here, as Sloop said. Conflict resolution or mediation is in the arena of something like a neighborhood objecting to say a big box store. In that case. recognition of the legitimacy of say property rights of a landowner vs. the interests of the neighbors in a livable neighborhood--that's an arena where "conflict resolution' may help reach an better outcome--it's not a zero-sum, or may not have to be.
But that case has nothing whatsoever to an issue like the science of climate change. Period. To think it does is to embark on a fool's errand to the warming Iberian Peninsula. As they say in Portugal--put a cork in it!

Planned Obfuscation Mouse

Anonymous said...

Ohhh, that essay is setting a pretty high standard for bad writing and even worse thinking. There is that Bulwer-Lytton Prize for writing turgid Victorian fiction ( What shall we name the prize this one takes--the Curry--McIntyre--Piltdown?

Hunting of the Snarky Mouse

dhogaza said...

First sentence of the third paragraph pretty much undermines the entire effort:

"Can these current disputes in the scientific sphere be settled by normal scientific

The entire essay's built on a strawman, exactly the strawman characterization that contributed towards Gavin's declining to attend ...

John mashey said...

I've spent much time chasing funding flows, i.e., see CCC.

In the absence of evidence of patterns of activity on part of Gulbenkian foundation, I wouldn't get too carried away. He died in 1955, long before this was an issue, and it seems mostly focused on the arts. Some oil connections really are coincidences, and as best as I can tell, this one is, although I haven't looked too hard.

But this quite easily could happen where people get an idea for a conference,sell the idea to Gulbenkian foundation, and on paper it might sound good, especially since they don't seem to be generally in this turf. They were probably told a bunch of good climate scientists would be invited, and ti certainly would have been funded before the attendee list was known.

Martin Vermeer said...


These folks would resolve the "flat Earth controversy" by proposing that the Earth is a cylinder, with a radius of 3189 km. Best of both worlds, everybody happy: the Earth is round with the right total curvature, but Gaussian curvature is still zero :-)

Anonymous said...

Snow Bunny says:
I think I'd have trashed the invitation when I saw "etc." in the first paragraph. I know I would have by the time I saw " 'ice' ".

I don't know why Schmidt didn't write a "unable to attend" decline in about 2 sentences.

Also, Chatham House Rules! You would take away information from this august gathering which you can repeat, but not attribute! Why? Is this ever used in science? Did anybody here ever here of it?