Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Interview Reiner Grundmann

1. Reiner, you have published the paper “’Climategate’ and The Scientific Ethos” in Science Technology & Human Values. I understand that this article had a long history of submissions and rejections. Would you mind telling us, what happened, and what you think why this happened?

I wrote the paper in the aftermath to Climategate, early in 2010. It took quite some effort to get it published. It was rejected by three journals (Social Studies of Science, Environmental Science & Policy, Sociology) before it was accepted by ST&HV. SSS and ST&HV are the two most important journals in the field of Science and Technology Studies (STS). In three cases two referees were involved, in one case where there were three. What struck me was that the referees with a negative verdict were much less well informed about the case than those who were favorable. An early positive review provided very detailed comments for improving the quality of the manuscript which were helpful for writing a revised version. However, this did nothing to convince several referees in the subsequent journal submission process.

Overall, the negative reviews were largely dismissive, taking issue with the fact that I was interested in an outdated debate (Merton and his critics), that I took the emails at face value, that I failed to see that norms in science are situational, contingent and constructed. One referee was especially put off by my remark that “scientific credibility has been lost in a short period of time.” The same referee could not see any warrant in the paper for my “breathtakingly sweeping recommendation” which reads as follows: “We have to establish processes that are open, transparent, and robust enough to avoid conflicts of interest to arise in the first place. And this should be the major focus for an institutional redesign of the scientific advisory process on climate change, post CRU scandal.” It is interesting that in the meantime several other publications and independent reviews have come to similar conclusions about lost credibility and institutional reform (and I incorporated the findings of these reviews in a later version of the paper).

One editor responsible for handling my manuscript was apologetic about the negative verdict, pointing out that the topic was too hot to handle for some referees in the field. He thought it was very difficult in the current situation to get such material published. I took this as a strong indication that the politicization of climate change had had an effect in STS scholarship, something which is not thematized sufficiently in the community.

In another case the editor rejected the paper despite the fact that the two reviews seemed to imply a “revise and resubmit” verdict. Both provided detailed comments and suggestions, many of minor importance (including acronym usage, and US/UK spelling), but also a few substantive comments (for example about the problem of data trimming in scientific research and its legitimacy). But they did not state a recommendation.

I was thus surprised by the editor’s decision and asked for the reasons. He replied he had received confidential comments by the referees which were negative on balance. This means that the referees did not dare to spell out what they really thought about the paper, only the editor was provided with this information, secretly. In fact, the reviews do not make the case for rejecting the paper.

What I take away from this experience is that the practice of journal editors soliciting confidential comments is not helpful, to put it mildly. Whenever I am invited to make such comments, I always refuse and point out that such practices should be abandoned. In my view, if a referee thinks a paper needs to be rejected, there is a duty to tell the author the reasons for rejection.

The editor commented my criticism as follows: “The system is not perfect, but if I as editor on a topic that is not necessarily my own domain of specialization do not go along with what the reviewers say, this would set an uncomfortable precedent. I prefer to have an unsatisfied author reacting to reviewers rather than having accusations of a non-objective publication process by the journal's editors.”

Another journal sent me two referee reports, one of which was six lines long, saying that the paper showed no awareness of the sociological problem posed by Climategate and that the scientific process _cannot_ match the idealised models (such as developed by Merton). Again, I find it quite worrying that editors can go along with such a superficial verdict, this time based on a complete lack of engagement with the paper’s content.

The fourth and final attempt was ST&HV where the paper eventually got accepted. I had incorporated several of the sensible suggestions from previous referees, especially the constructive comments in the first round. Nevertheless, the two referees for ST&HV made additional demands for improving the presentation (which is not surprising, someone will always find room for improvement)– but this time both referees were recommending publication. My sense was that they, contrary to most of the previous referees, agreed with the thrust of the analysis.

2. So what lessons are to be learnt from this experience?
My impression is that many STS scholars feel uncomfortable with the topic of climategate. They did not want to contribute to what they perceived to be a negative chorus of sceptical voices. So they largely refrained from investigating this problem and perhaps climate change more generally. Together with Nico Stehr I have published a paper on this very question (“Climate Change: What role for Sociology? A Response to Constance Lever-Tracy, Current Sociology 58(6): 897–910).

Much work has been done in Sociology and STS about numerous controversies, practices, and discourses in science and technology, but climate change received comparatively little attention. Yet it is arguably one of the most important issues in contemporary politics, science and society. So where does this reluctance come from? My hunch is that the dominance of the climate change discourse was too strong for a critical attitude to emerge. It is ironic that a field so deeply rooted in discourse analysis and critical thinking would neglect its professional principles and turn a blind eye to an exciting and important research area. Unfortunately, some sociologists have accepted the official narrative according to which science is the battleground for climate policy. And that one has to make a choice where to stand.

It seems as if some scholars in the field of STS and Sociology see the discussion of Mertonian Sociology of Science and a normative problematization of scientific practices as lying beyond the scope of proper sociological inquiry. By the way, both Merton’s defenders and latter day critics are agreed that during scientific controversies scientists do not follow the ethos of science. This leads to an uncomfortable position with regard to Climategate. Here is why: Mertonians would have little to moan because Climategate was part of a controversy. And their critics would not be able to see anything untoward—scientists are self-interested and try to bend the rules as everyone else in society. But if Climategate is perceived by others (journalists, bloggers, politicians) as problematic, undermining trust in climate science, then what? The answer has been to keep hammering on with the science, hoping that the credibility will restore itself.

At this point I probably ought to explain a principle at the heart of science studies, the methodological rule of studying knowledge claims symmetrically. This means not to assume a priori that one side is right and the other wrong and that we only need to find explanations for the “wrong” position (because the truth will out in the end and is in no need for explanation). Instead, we should analyze both sides (or more sides, if there are more) without committing to one of them on the level of cognitive validity or authority. Rather, the point of the whole analysis is to reconstruct the emergence of a dominant position (sometimes called “truth”) as an end result of scientific practice.

Unfortunately, this “principle of symmetry” was perceived to be too close to a similar principle which was allegedly at work in the mass media of the USA (as Max Boykoff claimed in a famous paper from 2004, “Balance as bias”). If the media in the US used a similar method as the STS community it looked like an embarrassing affinity. I could be wrong but I think some such thought control must have occurred in the early 2000s. Nobody in STS wanted to be seen close to President’s Bush’s repudiation of the Kyoto Protocol. And nobody wanted to be seen as providing fodder for the sceptical mills. I guess some STS practitioners felt a deep sympathy for that line in the CRU emails which said something similar.

3. There were other analyses of Climategate, think of Maybach or Ryghaug – could you summarize your and their positions, and discuss the differences?
I have actually written a review of other approaches which was published in WIREs Climate Change (The legacy of Climategate: revitalizing or undermining climate science and policy, Wiley’s Interdisciplinary Reviews Climate Change). There I commented on Ryghaug and Skjølsvold, coming to an ambivalent evaluation. I praise them for applying STS methods to Climategate, something which had not been done by other STS scholars. But I also criticize them for not going far enough. In the end, they tended to condone the practices of Climategate scientists.

Maybach et al. was the companion piece in the same WIREs issue and I did not have a chance to see it before publication. Having it read now, I am ambivalent on this piece as well. They rightly emphasize the US political culture which is polarized about climate change. Right wing politicians have chosen to make climate change a top policy issue, disagreeing with the Democrats and President Obama, in the hope to build political capital from it. Opinion poll data (partly provided by one of the authors, Leiserowitz) shows that right-leaning people have strong opinions (rejecting belief in man-made warming), and they have intrumentalized Climategate for their purposes. On the other hand Maybach et al do not look into the Climategate affair as such but emphasize that official investigations have concluded that the science is sound and no malpractice has happened. This is not going to impress people who are more critical. Again, there seems to be an extreme caution to investigate the substance of the allegations made after Climategate.

4. You got quite some flak by Klimazwiebel discussants bam and Andreas – what do you think their core criticism consists of, and to what extent is this critique warranted?
Unfortunately these critics did not engage with the argument of my papers. They were looking for excuses to dismiss the paper, using mainly the claim that my data base was biased, that I was quoting too heavily sources which were associated with the skeptical blogosphere. In some cases people thought that my analysis would be invalidated if it could be shown that some detail about the evolution of the hockey stick controversy was wrong or wrongly interpreted. The argument put forward in the ST&HV paper is far more complex and nuanced. Still, it raises the important question if one can speak about scientific misconduct. What is interesting is that both defenders of Climategate scientists and their critics agree that ethics are involved in this. This makes them very excited about the whole story. Both accuse each other of deceit, of data misrepresentation, fraud, or worse.

Compare this to the STS professionals and sociologists who rejected my paper and who maintain that ethical standards are not helpful in this case. One referee said “participants would concoct convenient stories to legitimate their activities (and scorn the practices of rivals)”. But to my knowledge this has not been done. Michael Mann in his book Climate Wars and in interviews has provided an account which tries to evoke sympathy but does not defend the incriminated activities. Clearly there are no issues for him. Perhaps I am wrong and Klimazwiebel readers will point me to discussions which I have overlooked.

But my suspicion is that STS scholars, too, believe that ethics is involved here, it is the ethics of not providing fodder for the wrong side. But I could wrong and we shall see how the paper will be received in the social science community.

5. What do you think is the bottom line of “Climategate”- does it represent a strengthening of climate research?
It is too early to tell. On the one hand we got some recommendations from review panels which should help fostering sound institutional rules for the conduct of contested research which enhances transparency and trust. On the other hand, what I call the “old script” still persists. This means that in climate research there are quite a few people active in defending the “official line”, taking a vigorous stance on “the science” and attacking anyone who does not sing from the same hymn sheet. What is worse is that the incriminated scientists have not come forward with clarifications about the disputed details of the controversy. They have appeared in official inquiries but not volunteered much beyond that. Phil Jones was prepared for this when he said in front of the UK Parliamentary hearing “I have written some awful emails…” but this was not taken up as an invitation to pursue the issue further.

Another aspect is that climate research will only be one voice among many in the climate debate and over the past years and decades it has been observed that actors from other parts of society become more visible (business, politics and NGOs). Climate policy is a matter for these social domains, not so much for science.

6. Has Climategate changed communication? Which role did it have for climate policy?
I think Climategate is less known to scholars, decision makers and citizens outside a small circle of climate science and policy aficionados. It always strikes me that people who are knowledgeable about climate change (either as citizens or as part of their professional life) know very little about the climategate affair.

Therefore I interpret your question with regard to climate science in the first instance. I think it has led several people away from the logic of the trenches where only the science argument will win the policy debate. This has become evident with people like Mike Hulme or Judith Curry. However, a group of die-hards persists with the old strategy which includes the constant attack on anything that deviates from the party line. Of course, they have their selected targets (Curry is among them, and the Pielkes, but apparently not Hulme or von Storch).

There are more and more voices (above all in the blogosphere) who embrace the term ‘climate sceptic’. Many of these have an idealized picture of how science works and were appalled by the revelations in the emails. So Climategate has provided a strengthening of this sceptical community. Perhaps this explains the vigor of some of the attacks by the ‘mainstream’, but will of course not change the sceptical mindset in the slightest. On the contrary, it will lead to the opposite effect of what is intended and we may see more scepticism.

Then we have the call for institutional reforms which have been made by the IAC, and the Muir Russell Review, to name but two important reviews. The IAC called for a reform of the management structure of the IPCC, the Muir Russell Review for a more transparent conduct in climate research. If these recommendations will be implemented remains to be seen. But these reforms have signaled to the policy world that not all is well in climate science.

Coming back to your question about policy impact I think there are changes underway. The old script is losing plausibility and we finally have got some fresh air which will help with efforts of experimentation with solutions without moralizing and demonizing.

7. Is Klimazwiebel useful for your work?
I find Klimazwiebel a very helpful communication platform for communicating ideas to a wider public (often with immediate responses). It is also great for experimenting with new ideas and for teasing out details of arguments, both made by myself and other commentators.

I guess the most important aspect is that the makers of the blog are diverse but united in some respect. This is an important ingredient in interdisciplinary work but applies to Klimazwiebel as well. This helps creating a stimulating intellectual environment.

Klimazwiebel is unique in that it develops an editorial ethos which is observed by and large. We do not moderate and do not censor. The rules are clear and participation is open. This is exploited by partisan fighters who come and provoke, often with strong language. Some of them do not show an interest in civil exchange of ideas and thus leave after their outbursts. We have to live with that of course.

Klimazwiebel makes use of the ‘honest broker’ metaphor. This is not unproblematic, as I (and others) often switch to the first person advocate when discussing things. But the blog as such (with all the different perspectives from the main contributors) tries to achieve this ideal of discussing the merit of arguments, the plausibility of solutions, the credibility of actions. Honest brokering should not be misunderstood as always occupying the middle position between two extremes.

I see blogging for Klimazwiebel as privilege and fun. It keeps me on the ball and makes me more attentive to ongoing developments. It helps focusing my writing as well. I think I have become more productive in terms of writing things up for publication. And the increased visibility leads to more requests for conference presentations, reviews, or invited papers.

The Zwiebel smells and makes you cry, it has many layers but no core—and yet it is energizing!

8. How do you link yourself to the understanding of physical climate science? There is a broad trench between your field of social science and natural sciences.
It is true that there is a different approach in the social and physical sciences with regard to climate change. Epistemologically, the physical scientists study the climate system but make observations about society as well. Social scientists either repeat what the physicists have to say or stay calm. They understand that no trespassing is allowed. So what they are limited to is an observation of science, culture, and society, what we social scientists call ‘the discourse’.

But the physical scientists do not respect the NO TRESPASSING sign. They are dominating the debate and many climate scientists think they have the prerogative to make political suggestions which society at large should take up because scientists always know best. And politicians and the media play along. Even some sociologists think we should suspend our critical faculties and leave our constructivist toolbox closed, and just “follow the climate scientists”. This is most unfortunate.

However, when it comes to practical solutions, climate science has little to offer. Social, political and cultural responses to the challenge of climate change are often determined by scientists and engineers who have no special knowledge base when it comes to making suggestions. Instead they theorize their own common sense about how they think society and politics operate. Often they are naive, wrong, or both. But social scientists have been colluding in this game by granting scientists the prerogative of defining the situation and offering solutions. So if one wanted expertise for climate policy, more social science would be needed. Having said that, no amount of expertise will solve the problem of climate change, which is a long term issue and requires public involvement and debate on a much larger scale than witnessed so far.

9. Would you consider yourself a classical leftist? What would a classical leftist think about the political dispute on climate change?
It depends what you mean by “classical leftist”. If you take it to mean the abolition of markets and private property as a solution to all social problems I would not count. I started my academic career with a book on Marxism and Ecology, a work which set out to defend Marx against ecological fundamentalism. Ecological fundamentalism was much more popular in the early 1990s than it is today. At the time I was criticized by some greens as being a dogmatic Marxist--which missed the point of my analysis completely. I developed an interpretation of Marx emphasizing the technological side of society’s exchange with nature, not the property relations (which is the classical Marxist, and perhaps leftist position).

Another element of a classical leftist position is the belief in the merit of more equality, democracy, freedom of speech, the need for environmental policies, public participation, being against power abuse, etc. which I share. I am no believer in de-regulation and neo-liberal solutions to social problems. But I don’t think the old formula of “overthrowing capitalism” as a means to solving social problems is convincing. This terminology is too crude (there are varieties of capitalism) and even a non-capitalist society would be a priori in no better position to prevent negative effects of climate change.

With regard to climate change (and a number of other social problems), welfare states do better than states with a history of privatization and neoliberal reforms. But there are other, more nuanced variables which have to be taken into account, such as the openness of the political system, and the history and culture of a country. One important factor is the element of civil society engagement and its representation at the political level. Political systems with a high degree of openness to such movements tend to be more progressive with regard to the social policy, and also with regard to progressive climate policies. In Germany there is now an elite consensus about the merit of climate protection policies and therefore this cannot be considered to be an item of a leftist agenda.

Classical leftists tend to prefer simple answers, such as state regulation, a ban on specific technologies, and heavy taxation to influence behaviour, etc. In the German political scene the Left Party is still dreaming of a 60% left-wing majority in parliament, and some leftist Social Democrats and Greens dream along. But even such a majority would not mean that we get effective climate policies, not in Germany and not internationally.


Mathis Hampel said...

Reiner, thanks for that. You say:

"the Muir Russell Review for a more transparent conduct in climate research. If these recommendations will be implemented remains to be seen".

Firstly, one needs to ask scientists if they would play along. For example, Myles Allen is highly sceptical following the German saying: 'Operation gelungen, Patient tot'. Why not trust that climate scientists have learned from climategate (for example, now that they know that their emails are not safe)?

Secondly, I assume that transparency shall restore trust. Yet why do we need to restore trust in climate science, (and is it really so low)? Imo, most scepticism and certainly denial is attributable to political ideologies (and ideologies of science) rather than mistrust in science.

And if only few people know about climategate, why care at all? Isn't this a 'battle' on the fringe?

Hans von Storch said...

Mathis, you state " most scepticism and certainly denial is attributable to political ideologies (and ideologies of science) rather than mistrust in science". Based on my experience with frequent encounters with lay but highly educated audiences, this is simply not true. While "denial" may indeed by guided by political world-views, the large number of skeptics are driven by mistrust against this particular science, not against science in general. This is supported by my surveys among lay people, the results of some have been published here on the Zwiebel - where about 1/3 declare themselves "skeptics".
Your claim represents a dismissal of the concern of many people, and I presume that the growth of this group is to some extent based on assertions like yours - which makes people not taken seriously.

Mathis Hampel said...

OK Hans, I agree, good point. But is this scepticism attributable to climategate or did it exist before? And to what degree did climategate turn 'believers' into 'sceptics'. And why climate science and not other sciences? Politics?

Hans von Storch said...

Mathis, "skeptogenesis" is under-researched. I guess ClimateGate may have contributed, but the wave of negative headlines will have emboldened others to say what they really mean (or doubt). Only, when the "normal" skeptics come out and voice their view, we will be able to deal with them. The aggressive claims by some, make them not change their minds but becoming hidden skeptics.
In our survey here on the Zwiebel, 1/3 of skeptics started their endeavor with climate science as "warmists", at least that is what they ticked off.

Anonymous said...

Reiner, my criticism of you was your use of a story line that was contradicted by the actual e-mail you cited, and which you concluded with a claim of "scientific misconduct". I provided you a link with the full quote, but you didn't like it. I asked you to explain how someone calling Briffa's reconstruction "warmer" fit with the divergence problem, which makes the reconstruction *colder*. You never answered.

So, now I make my last try:
What will you do if the person whose selective quotation you used, that would be Steve McIntyre, admits that the e-mail in question does *not* refer to the divergence problem?

1. You do nothing. You do not care if this part is factually correct, the story is more important
2. You correct this section of the article, even if it means you have to remove the claim of scientific misconduct
3. You retract the article

Your choice!

I do wish to point out that this is not a hypothetical situation. Steve McIntyre *has* admitted that the e-mail you cite as claiming that the divergence problem was a problem for the IPCC, in reality did *not* refer to the divergence problem. In fact, he did so on December 11, 2009, 2.5 years before you got your article published.


stan said...

I'm "shocked, shocked" to find that academics are unwilling to publish a paper that might be seen as supporting the wrong side.

That's game, set, match on the question of academic integrity in general and regarding climate science in particular. It proves there isn't any. And when there is no integrity, there is no value.

When the referees are crooked, the results of the game are meaningless.

Reiner Grundmann said...


You have raised your point before, drawing on the DeepClimate blog. When I pointed out how contested the interpretation on that blog was, you chose to evade the issue. Eduardo replied to you about the meaning of ‘warmer’ in the statistical proxy reconstructions, and again you chose to evade the issue. And here you go again, with the same excitement, apparently thinking my argument would be obsolete if you could show that one detail in my paper was flawed. This would be the case if my paper in ST&HV was akin to the famous 'house of cards'.
The challenge posed by Climategate has been widely accepted, but not by you it seems.

Anonymous said...

@ Bam

Ah, DeepClimate is a unreliable source, but McIntyre and Montford are ok. Maybe Wikipedia can provide some helpful insights?


Sceptic said...

You (severally) speculate about "sceptogenesis". I can only report my own experience.
I have several degrees including post-graduate studies in Science (Chemistry, with an undergraduate Physics major), a separate undergraduate degree in Economics, and an MBA. I was already, before Climategate, sceptical. I'd seen too much of the 'Ice Age' scare of the 70s, 'Nuclear Winter' of the 60s, Y2K, various 'flu' scares &c. Anyway, I am always suspicious of 'we must act now' arguments, especially when they cost trillions and re-order society. Also, it would help if the loudest mouths acted as if they believed. Yes, I lean right, but support GM crops, vaccination &c., so can hardly be called 'anti-science'.
'Climategate' to me only confirmed what I'd suspected - people can act badly in support of a cause. Noble cause corruption?

eduardo said...

Form my limited experience, which I do not want to generalize here, my impression is that mistrust in 'paleoclimatology' has taken a hit also in other disciplines. When I submit project applications for thematically wider calls, i.e. I compete with other disciplines, the critical responses of the reviewers could be interpreted as a critique of the whole field, like is possible at all to reconstruct past climate ?, arent the uncertainties so wide so as to make the whole study useless ? '

This does not necessarily apply to climate sciences in general. If this has to do with climategate, I cannot know, but I suspect that it has

hvw said...

This is just not fair!

Reiner has trouble to publish because of reviewers that are "anti-skeptic".

Eduardo has trouble getting funding because of reviewers that are "pro-skeptic".

This is consistent with my limited experience suggesting that one always runs into the wrong reviewers. Is this a general law? Research is needed!

Reiner Grundmann said...


Nice pun but I don't agree. There is always a risk of unfair reviewers but after some time in the business one knows the odds. I could give you a list of journals which I did not consider because less than favourable reviews were to be expected. I was surprised that the ones I chose were also negative.

The case of research funding is different.

hvw said...


more seriously, I enjoyed the peek into the review experience you provided. While some of this (6 lines reading "This is flawed and I don't like it") being considered a valid critique by an editor seems to just happen everywhere, I am shocked by the editor who considered a critique explicitly to be kept secret as a reason for rejection. This clashes head on with the very idea about what peer-review should accomplish. And what could be the reason, if the reviews are anonymous anyways? Someone ought to name journal end editor. I always thought the "confidential message to the editor" field was reserved for what I write there habitually: "Sorry for being late".

You write "..but after some time in the business one knows the odds [of getting through in that particular journal]." Is that a general statement (leaving aside CC related stuff) for your field, in the sense that you need to choose a journal that is sympathetic to your conclusions, which probably always have some philosophical, political, or otherwise normative component? I figure that would be a remarkable distinction to the dynamics of publication in the natural sciences.

hvw said...

There is a paper just out that fits nicely to the speculations about skeptogenesis here: Science literacy and numeracy ("studies in physics and chemistry") have no effect but bad company has ("MBA", "right leaning").

thepointman said...

Integrity is like virginity; once it's gone, it's gone.

"The ordinary person cannot prove that climate science is right or wrong but they don’t have to. They can simply make that old decision as to whether they still trust these people any more and they’ve made that decision."



Hans von Storch said...

hvw - why not quoting the abstract here:

The polarizing impact of science literacy and numeracy on perceived climate change risks

Dan M. Kahan,vEllen Peters, Maggie Wittlin, Paul Slovic, Lisa Larrimore Ouellette, Donald Braman & Gregory Mandel

Nature Climate Change (2012)

Seeming public apathy over climate change is often attributed to a deficit in comprehension. The public knows too little science, it is claimed, to understand the evidence or avoid being misled. Widespread limits on technical reasoning aggravate the problem by forcing citizens to use unreliable cognitive heuristics to assess risk. We conducted a study to test this account and found no support for it. Members of the public with the highest degrees of science literacy and technical reasoning capacity were not the most concerned about climate change. Rather, they were the ones among whom cultural polarization was greatest. This result suggests that public divisions over climate change stem not from the public’s incomprehension of science but from a distinctive conflict of interest: between the personal interest individuals have in forming beliefs in line with those held by others with whom they share close ties and the collective one they all share in making use of the best available science to promote common welfare.

Reiner Grundmann said...

hvw 13
"Is that a general statement (leaving aside CC related stuff) for your field, in the sense that you need to choose a journal that is sympathetic to your conclusions, which probably always have some philosophical, political, or otherwise normative component? I figure that would be a remarkable distinction to the dynamics of publication in the natural sciences."

In general yes. You have to be within the paradigm, style, tradition of a particular journal. I guess much the same applies in the natural sciences.

Anonymous said...

Reiner, I already pointed out that *Steve McIntyre* admitted that the section you quoted did not refer to the divergence problem being identified as the problem by "everyone in the room".

Not just Deepclimate. Not just me. No, the person whose quoting you quoted. I am not giving you the direct link, you can surely find it yourself considering the fact that you quoted from that discussion on his blog. Or will you have to admit that you actually used a tertiary source for quoting the e-mail?

Eduardo merely showed with a quote from the same e-mail that Mann had aligned the series vertically, which made Briffa's reconstruction "warmer" during the LIA.

Finally, it is just one of many problematic issues in your paper. I already pointed out that you made some claims about Phil Jones that are very problematic, but I wanted to take it one point at a time.


Hans von Storch said...

The interview with Reiner Grundmann has been looked at by very many people. It may mean that the format of letting people of the caliber of Reiner Grundmann respond to a series of question is attractive. I am preparing one other such interview at this time, but I would appreciate to hear more what people like or dislike with this format. May I ask for opinions of the many, who clicked on this thread?

Roddy said...

HvS - I like the format. An interview / conversation where the interviewee trusts the interviewer to ask the right questions and in exchange is prepared to examine the questions as well as put their point across often works better than an 'essay' to inform a 'lay but educated' (I like that phrase) audience.

I admit it probably helps that I am in sympathy with RG.

I'd like to see you do this format with people I might not be in sympathy with, say the Michael Manns.

Or possibly the IEA economist Birol as to how the IEA 'accept' or 'question' the science of WGI, II and III and build it into their publications and policy comments. He is a bridge between 'the science' and policy?

hvw said...

This format provides a refreshing and nutritious break from the usual incestuous blogosphere typical re-digestion of other blog or newsmedia content. I appreciate the work you put into this, keep going.

Alex Harvey said...

Dear Hans,

It is a good format.

It allows the persons interviewed to speak for themselves without reinterpretation by an interviewer or journalist. And if the questions asked are interesting and relevant, all the better. I would guess that I am not the only blog consumer to have observed that journalists generally are failing in their reporting of climate change. Andy Revkin's posts make good use of this format as well.

That said, though, anyone willing to say that 'Climategate' really was a 'scandal' - as Reiner is - is immediately going to attract public interest - whatever the format. My guess is that attempts to whitewash 'Climategate' as an invention of the fossil fuel industry find the general public unamused.

Hans von Storch said...

I was not thinking of interviewing "interesting" people connected to the issue of climate, but people who are active here on the Zwiebel, editors as well as commenters.

Sceptic said...

I would, from personal experience, have to disagree with Kahan et al (2012), & those who quote them approvingly.
I was on/of the (soft) left until age 30 (in accordance with the popular dictum about having no heart and having no brain), to which stage my education was purely scientific and my contact with the right was purely to argue passionately for my views. cAGW was not then on the horizon (this was pre-1988), but I was highly sceptical of Ehrlich, Carson & the Club of Rome. The sky is falling, the sky .... !