Sunday, 2 June 2013

‘My scientists made me shrink your car’

Patrick J. Michaels is an American climatologist. Michaels is a senior research fellow for Research and Economic Development at George Mason University, and a senior fellow in environmental studies at the Cato Institute. Until 2007 he was research professor of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, where he had worked from 1980.A self-described skeptic on the issue of global warming, he is a past president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

 He has written a number of books and papers on climate change, including Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming (1992), The Satanic Gases (2000), and Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians, and the Media (2004) and is the co-author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don't Want You to Know (2009) Wikipedia

Patrick has written a piece for the Washington Times (link) titled

My scientists made me shrink your car’

and subtitled

How government scientists plunder the till in the name of science

He begins by mentioning how he ran into former Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd:
We exchanged pleasantries, but before long, our conversation became unpleasant. 
Since climate science is my field, I felt compelled to point out that Mr. Rudd’s support for a cap-and-trade policy for carbon emissions had recently helped cost him his job as prime minister. 
“Well, what should I have done?” he replied. “My scientists, I say, my scientists, told me this is an important problem.”
Michaels pointed out (although not with these words) what this blog has pointed out before (eg link and link):
"Your scientists said exactly what you paid them to tell you.”
Patrick continues: (link)
That brief interaction with Mr. Rudd is indicative of a widespread problem: The government of Australia, and pretty much every other nation, funds research scientists and then relies on them for policy guidance. It is in the best interest of these government-funded scientists to ensure their fields — and therefore their jobs — are deemed of great importance. 
The problem is particularly costly when it comes to environmental science.
Patrick then talks of the U.S. 13-agency behemoth with multibillion-dollar annual funding. Australia also has a behemoth.

Would these agencies, whether the U.S. behemoth or the down-under Australian behemoth, consider that the warming has stalled?
The perils of science-by-government-funded-committee became apparent in their first assessment in 2000. The models they used were worse than no forecast at all.
Michaels reports that "Later this year, the U.S. Global Change Research Program is scheduled to publish its quadrennial replacement."
The main problem is that the new draft ignores the spate of science since 2010 detailing the long-predicted (at least, by some of us) lowering of temperature projections.
Oh dear! Why, oh why has science corrupted itself for the mega-dollar grant?

Michaels concludes:
In Big Science, money is power. Money is publications. Money is promotion and tenure, television time, awards, rewards and a permanent ticket out of coach. There’s simply no incentive for scientists to do anything but perpetuate their issues.