Wednesday, December 17, 2003

Global warming debate 

Bad things happen to people who question the validity of global warming. For example, if you're an editor in a scientific journal who decided to publish a paper questioning the theory that the earth is now at its warmest in a thousand years, you could get fired. Or, if you write a book about it, you can get accused of dishonesty by your own government, even though the ruling against you lack any documentation or elaboration on any specific points. Luckily, Bjørn Lomborg was cleared of dishonesty charges today:

17. December 2003

The Danish Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation has today repudiated findings by the Danish Committees on Scientific Dishonesty (DSCD) that Bjørn Lomborg's book "The Skeptical Environmentalist" was "objectively dishonest" or "clearly contrary to the standards of good scientific practice".

The Ministry, which is responsible for the DSCD, has today released a critical assessment of the Committee's January 6 ruling. The Ministry finds that the DCSD judgment was not backed up by documentation, and was "completely void of argumentation" for the claims of dishonesty and lack of good scientific practice.

The Ministry characterises the DCSD's treatment of the case as "dissatisfactory", "deserving criticism" and "emotional" and points out a number of significant errors. The DSCD's verdict has consequently been remitted.
The first article, written by a scientist who supports the global warming theory, goes into more detail on the heart of the dispute over global warming. Contrary to conventional wisdom, it is not true that all of the scientific evidence currently available supports the theory.

At the heart of the dispute is a chart showing that there has been a spike in global temperature in the last century. Some scientists believe that the chart is wrong and that there was a period in the Middle Ages that was as warm as it is now. Since reliable thermostats were not invented until 1724 and reliable records of temperatures were not kept before the last century, scientists have had to guess the temperature of previous periods by extrapolating from other data. The methods by which the two sides reach their conclusions are too complicated for anyone not familiar with advanced statistics to understand, but basically, if you look at the data one way, you get one result; if you look at it another way, you get another result.

The scientist at the end asks the public not to be so hasty in reaching a conclusion (and takes a shot a Bush on something unrelated), which I think is good advice.
Comments: Post a Comment

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?