Judith Curry has wandered into ethics, without much of an understanding about such things. She enjoys going on about how she is the protector of research integrity, without really understanding scientific ethics, perhaps first investigated by Max Weber, although Eli is sure that Willard may know of earlier sources. There are many interesting things about this, first, that scientific ethics as distinct from ethics could not have been a subject much earlier, because science as a stand along thing really only blossomed at about the same time as global instrumental temperature measurements started in the late 1900s.
Second, that separating ethical behavior as a scientist from ethical behavior in general is not something that your average bunny in the street holds in high regard and is one reason that many people distrust science and scientists, as in Godless Scientists, etc. which is really a belief that science and scientists would gladly sell everybunny down the river for a Nature pub.
Be that as it may, Weber pointed out that the distinction must be between facts and value judgements. Since as has been mentioned here a few times, we have no data from the future, value judgements about the future must condition our views of how what we are doing now will affect the future. Stephan Gardiner explains how this can easily lead to moral corruption
In conclusion, the presence of the problem of moral corruption reveals another sense in which climate change may be a perfect moral storm. This is that its complexity may turn out to be perfectly convenient for us, the current generation, and indeed for each successor generation as it comes to occupy our position. For one thing, it provides each generation with the cover under which it can seem to be taking the issue seriously – by negotiating weak and largely substanceless global accords, for example, and then heralding them as great achievements – when really it is simply exploiting its temporal position. For another, all of this can occur without the exploitative generation actually having to acknowledge that this is what it is doing. By avoiding overtly selfish behaviour, earlier generations can take advantage of the future without the unpleasantness of admitting it – either to others, or, perhaps more importantly, to itselfIn discussing the House of Parliament Committee on Energy and Climate Change report Judith Curry shows how only valuing the things of today leads to such corruption
If people are concerned about the adverse impacts of extreme weather events, reducing CO2 emissions are not going to have any impact on policy relevant time scales, even if you accept the IPCC analyses. Resources expended on energy policy are in direct conflict with reducing vulnerability to extreme events.Oh yeah, that and as Gardiner call out, the full Lomborg, that you can't spend resources on both.
The first is the threat of a false dichotomy. Arguments from opportunity cost crucially rely on the idea that if a given project is chosen, then that choice forecloses some other option. But this is not the case in Lomborg's version. Helping the poor and mitigating climate change are not obviously mutually exclusive. . .The good Lord protect the future from the defender of research integrity.
Second it is not clear even that the two projects are independent of each other, in the sense that they are fully separable opportunities rather than necessarily linked and perhaps mutually supporting policies. . . .
Third, it is not clear that the opportunity that Lomborg wants to emphasize is really available.
Tip of the ears to Matt at the Weasel's for pointing to this