• Judith Curry

CFAN's President testifies at House Science Committee Hearing

On March 28, The House Committee on Science, Space and Technology held a Hearing on Climate Science: Assumptions, Policy Implications and Scientific Method

In his opening statement Committee Chair Lamar Smith stated:

“Today we will examine the scientific method as it relates to climate change. We must ensure that the underlying science that informs policy decisions is based on credible scientific methodology.”

“Before we impose costly government regulations, we should evaluate scientific uncertainties and ascertain the extent to which they make it difficult to quantify humans’ contribution to climate change.”

The full text of Judith Curry’s written testimony is found here [link]

Curry’s testimony articulated the following major points:

  • Scientific progress is driven by the creative tension spurred by disagreement, uncertainty and ignorance.

  • Progress in understanding the climate system is being hampered by an institutionalized effort to stifle this creative tension, in the name of a ‘consensus’ that humans have caused recent climate change.

  • Motivated by the mandate from the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), the climate community has prematurely elevated a scientific hypothesis on human-caused climate change to a ruling theory through claims of a consensus.

  • Premature theories enforced by an explicit consensus building process harm scientific progress because of the questions that don’t get asked and the investigations that aren’t undertaken. As a result, we lack the kinds of information to more broadly understand climate variability and societal vulnerabilities.

  • Challenges to climate research have been exacerbated by:

o Unreasonable expectations from policy makers o Scientists who are playing power politics with their expertise and trying to silence scientific disagreement through denigrating scientist who do not agree with them o Professional societies that oversee peer review in professional journals are writing policy statements endorsing the consensus and advocating for specific policies

  • Policymakers bear the responsibility of the mandate that they give to panels of scientific experts. The UNFCCC framed the climate change problem too narrowly and demanded of the IPCC too much precision – where complexity, chaos, disagreement and the level of current understanding resists such precision.

  • A more disciplined logic is needed in the climate change assessment process that identifies the most important uncertainties and introduces a more objective assessment of confidence levels.

  • Expert panels with diverse perspectives can handle controversies and uncertainties by assessing what we know, what we don’t know, and where the major areas of disagreement and uncertainties lie.

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