Whitewashing to engineer climate by increasing albedo

Some of the initial impacts of the climate research scandal are beginning to appear. The CRU was first in suggestions that all was OK because of a statute of limitations. Now Penn State has offered a preliminary report on their Professor Mann and the IPCC has responded to its use of alarmist advocacy groups as resources for its claims. These initial responses attempt to whitewash the problems uncovered. In climate terms, white increases albedo and that should tend to cool things down. The climate research community may well hope that this scandal will cool down and they have a good deal of inertia and many powerful friends in high places to help them.

Christopher Horner takes a look at the Penn State report in Climategate: Penn State Moves to Protect Its Own:

My takeaway is that the panel revealed most of what we need to know about the ability of this internal inquiry to credibly assess charges of misfeasance. They limited their evidentiary pursuit — outside of select blogs and media reports — to speaking with Mann, aided by a supportive NAS report (to the exclusion of the Wegman Committee report, inexplicable including for a factor cited, below) and one panel member interviewing ex parte two Mann supporters.

In the points raised, there is note of the labeling of the CRU emails as “purloined” which is an indicator mentioned in the blog earlier. There is also note about ignoring certain behavior, the use of selected resources, and very careful definition of scope and parsing of terms. In other words, it is similar to earlier examinations of Mann’s hockey stick in dancing around the truth by concentrating on minutia and avoiding fundamental flaws.

The same kind of whitewashing can be seen in the IPCC claiming it followed appropriate procedures despite the revelations about its exaggerated or even false claims regarding glacial ice or tropical deforestation. Where is the concern in these reports?

Sadly, the panel’s express focus, the only one among the relevant issues which troubles them for further inquiry, “questions in the public’s mind about Dr. Mann’s conduct of his research activity, given that this may be undermining confidence in his findings as a scientist, and given that it may be undermining public trust in science in general and climate science specifically.” (P. 9) This is likely to be viewed in hindsight as having revealed a driving desire of dispelling questions and rehabilitating Mann, “science” and/or the University, not into fairly exploring the substance.

In conclusion, these points all remind us of the frequent need for and widespread use of independent inquiry when seeking to truly discern the meaning and importance of credibly alleged misfeasance. Penn State is heading toward concluding that this is all a big misperception, a matter of appearances more than substance. Something similar can be said about their initial assessment. Appearances matter, and this doesn’t appear good.

In other words, it is all a misperception that is draining the trust needed to be able to continue as-is: What needs to be addressed is changing the message and getting past all these unpleasant revelations and questions. The problem here, as can be seen in Great Britain regarding the CRU, is that whitewash tends to be a thin cover without much longevity. If the revelations and questions have merit, they will continue to chip away at efforts to ignore or dismiss them. The inappropriate behaviors involved in climate research will continue to raise problems if they are indeed inappropriate and it is that which will set the path for the future.

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