Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Sanity at last

The UK Government’s chief scientific advisor, Professor John Beddington, has courageously called for climate change sceptics to be taken seriously. In a remarkably candid outburst, the professor admitted that some climate change scientists had exaggerated claims about man-made global warming and intimated that they had not helped their cause by refusing to share some of the data on which their more cataclysmic forecasts were based. He called for more honesty from the climate change science community.

Thank heavens for a shred of sanity in this whole climate change debate. Let’s remember that the world has only been industrialised for 250 years, and even then it was a slow start. We don’t know the full extent of the impact human activity has made on the world and it’s vital that the science is conducted in a scrupulous manner. If we are responsible for catastrophic climate change in the future then it’s vital that something is done. It’s too important to get wrong or to allow a bunch of freaks to over egg the climate change pudding.

On the other hand, if climate change has been wildly exaggerated, we may all be about to wreck our economies and consign ourselves back to the Middle Ages because someone decided to get overexcited.

There was a time when scientists investigated, carried out experiments and then published results. Unfortunately, scientists seem to be confusing their function and turning into advocates for change and getting involved in politics. This partisan activity, especially when it’s based on exaggerated or uncertain evidence, gives science a bad name and could end up causing more harm than good.


  1. Is'nt it a case that the more doomsday publicity the bigger the grant for the department?

  2. I think you're right. Big money is polluting science. There's too much at stake now for some scientists to take a detached and rational approach.It's very sad as bad science is bad for all of us. We need to know we can trust science and that there aren't conflicts of interest. If science is tainted, it will become as discredited as religion. That would be a shame.

  3. It's pretty much about survival (unfortunately of the scientists and not so much of science itself). There's less and less public money available for research, so in order to get a research grant you have to exaggerate the importance of your research. Or you have to try to get your research privately funded (for example in the case of medicine by drug companies). In either case in order to obtain further grants you have to have results that please the people who fund you. Science is in the process of losing it's independence, it's pretty frightening ...

  4. Just look at how big business acts with regard to the pharmaceutical industry, especially in the USA, to see what influences large corporations can have when they become involved in research funding.

  5. Not related to the above, but something that I am sure will interest you, and maybe form a basis for a future blog. This is from the Sydney Morning Herald of Jan 28.
    "'Reliable' worker ad discriminates against the unreliable January 28, 2010 - 10:14AM .
    A Job centre in England refused to accept an advertisement for a "reliable" worker because it discriminated against unreliable people.

    Nicole Mamo, who runs a recruitment company, posted a request for a domestic cleaner on her local Jobcentre Plus website.

    It asked little of applicants other than that they have a good command of English and "must be very reliable and hard-working".

    However, when she contacted Jobcentre Plus in Thetford, Norfolk, a member of staff told her the advert would not be displayed in-store in case unreliable workers sued for discrimination.

    "I laughed because I thought that was crazy," said Miss Mamo, whose company also supplies NHS staff.

    "We are taking people off the dole so not displaying the advert just seems absolutely ridiculous to me."

    A spokesman for the Department for Work and Pensions would not comment on why the advert was turned down but said it was accepted eventually.

    "We welcome ads seeking reliable applicants," she said.

    The Telegraph, London"

  6. Slightly off topic: I visited a few sick peaople today in our local hospital and I saw their dinner: They got half a smoked trout each, an icecream-ball sized scoop of whipped cream mixed with cranberry preserve, a hard boiled egg sliced in two halves, a few lettuce leaves, two slices of fresh tomato and one of fresh lemon, several slices of fresh sweet pepper of the green kind turning orange, a 10 g packet of butter and four slices of dark whole grain bread. Herb tea as much as they wanted. Plus sour cream soup, which is a traditonal dish, and some dessert a bit similar I think to creme brulee). Private patients and public health care patients had the same, provided their conditions allowed it. Best wishes from Styria! Barbara

  7. You're making me hungry, Barbara. That's how hospital food should be. And the same for everybody.

  8. Lazy hacks in the media have to stop giving the "alarmists "a free ride and start questioning their claims.The alarmist doctrine is now taught in schools,promoted by a lazy press,and used as a marketing tool by big business to enhance profits on everything from soap to nuts.If the public want to help the environment,they should educate themselves and never stop questioning the science.

  9. Scientists are always complaining that they are running out of funds and that they are indeed underfunded to start with... so scientists who can as they say "work there ticket" by giving government what they want... wether its true or not, are ensuring that they do get the funding they need... even if that means changing the story for the following government.
    Science is not perfect, and niether are scientists... just as others have done before them and others in the future will continue to do... they will try to bleed the system for what they can for whatever project they want to investigate... if the facts tell them that global warming is not mans fault and government do not want to hear that, then the scientist will say what hes paid to say... or see his funding go out the window.

  10. I don't think it matters what label is put on what ails our planet. We HAVE got a big pollution problem, we ARE running out of fossil fuels and our population IS becoming larger than the planet can support. Solutions need to be found for these problems and THAT is where our tax money should be going. It's no bloody use spending money on schemes fr trading emissions (which to my mind will only make the same old, same old bastards richer while we pay through the nose to exist), we need to cut them and find alternative ways of powering our industries.

    Now climbing off soapbox to say I'm glad you are making progress with your recovery XTM, keep up the good work :-)

  11. I think you're right, Sharon. It makes sense to preserve fossil fuels as they're too valuable just to burn. Likewise, population is a problem although I haven't a clue how we're going to deal with that one. As for carbon permits, it seems to be the new Monopoly. The whole global warming debate has been muddied by bad science, vested interests, money grabbers and just about every charlatan on earth. It's too important a subject to be doing that with.

  12. If you think the credit crisis that started last years financial meltdown was a catastrophy wait til the carbon credit bubble breaks.Billions of dollars being moved around various trading houses with no real commodites involved is a recipe for disaster.The same financial institutions that caused the last meltdown can't wait to get in on the carbon credit scam.

  13. Oh no, friend TM, please don't join that gang.

  14. Sharon...we do have a pollution problem,so lets clean it up. CO2 is not a pollutant.Without it we would not have any plant life on the planet. Co2 is a minute persentage of the atmosphere.Man made CO2 is a minute fraction of that.We are not running out of fossil fuels,it's just that the reserves we have left, are harder to access, and so, are more expensive. Question the science.
    PS...I,too,am pleased at the T Mans progress.