Climate scientists feeling the heat; Scientists fear they've oversold global warming. Such a disconcerting headline. Could it be that global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? (All emphases below are mine):
In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.So I'm sure there's plenty of quotes from "a few" climate scientists to this effect in the article:
Gerald North, professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas A&M University, dismisses the notion of widespread tension among climate scientists on the course of the public debate. ...What the article shows us is that two climate scientists, Roger Pielke Jr and Kevin Vranes hold an opinion that climate science is misrepresented in the media. Everyone else interviewed for the article isn't entirely on board with that. But hey, Eric Berger probably spent a lot of time coming up with that title and didn't want to change it.
Like North, [Judith] Curry says she doubts there is undue tension among climate scientists but says Vranes could be sensing a scientific community reaction to some of the more alarmist claims in the public debate. ...
Shaman says some junior scientists may feel uncomfortable when they see older scientists making claims about the future climate, but he's not sure how widespread that sentiment may be.... The question, he says, is whether it's any worse in climate science.
Roger and Kevin coincidentally have a blog and have been proponents of the "non-skeptic heretic" opinion of what to do about climate change. This view bascially amounts to admitting that it's happening and that we might need to do something in reponse. But we really shouldn't be doing that. "That" being whatever the response du jour happens to be. They also criticize the media for being dirty hippies when it comes to reporting climate science. So how does an article in which only two people are cited as representing a small yet growing consensus get represented on their blog?
Are we risking our credibility? The point I'm trying to get across is that as a community we might not be giving the public and policy makers enough credit. We are shying away from giving them the details, perhaps worried that if they have the details they might not see climate change as a big threat, and might not be compelled to address the risk. This is C.P. Snow's two-cultures tension. Have we in the climate sciences internalized C.P. Snow's lessons yet? I think not.
Second, it is interesting to see Judy Curry, a frequent commenter here, offering some support for Kevin Vranes’ views about their being some tension in the community. Of course, she is well positioned to know given that the hurricane community has seen more than its fair share of such tensions.Imagine how an article using only two sources to describing an opinion held by "climate scientist," which is linked to by a major blog and aped by numerous minor blogs would have been treated by Prometheus posters.
The general idea that coverage of climate science needs to be as accurate as possible--also described on Eric's blog--is a good one. But as can be seen today, stating that scientists are somehow spending sleepless nights worried that the public is too alarmed by the prospects of a changeing climate often leads to greater inaccuracy in public perception. On the other hand, it did just start snowing here in Boston. Maybe global warming really is over!