Dick and I recently attended another Cato event, this one in Naples, Florida, Ritz Carlton. If you’ve not been to one of these events, you need to. They are extremely well run, entertaining and informative. The featured speaker this year was John Stossel, host of Stossel, Fox Business Network, whose low-key, fireside-chat manner gave the impression that you were sitting in his study discussing our problems in Washington.
Mr. Stossel’s lack of hype was the antithesis of what Patrick J. Michaels, Cato’s director, Center for the Study of Science, explained about what is going on in the scientific community. He spoke to the audience of nearly 500 on the unconscionable overselling of scientific forecasting. In order to get published in prestigious journals, many scientists are leaning toward trendy topics and flashy research, which in turn leads to Armageddon-style headlines. Politicians and universities often make their funding and tenure decisions based on the research published in these journals. Mr. Michaels writes here of his concern that the hyping of global warming and the proliferation of scientific errors will lead to a new scientific Dark Age.
Will the overselling of climate change lead to a new scientific dark age? That’s the question being posed in the latest issue of an Australian literary journal, Quadrant, by Garth Paltridge, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric scientists.
Paltridge was a Chief Research Scientist with the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization (CSIRO). The latter is Australia’s equivalent of the National Science Foundation, our massive Federal Laboratory network, and all the governmental agency science branches rolled into one.
Paltridge lays out the well-known uncertainties in climate forecasting. These include our inability to properly simulate clouds that are anything like what we see in the real world, the embarrassing lack of average surface warming now in its 17th year, and the fumbling (and contradictory) attempts to explain it away.