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Posts Tagged ‘Climate Science’

What Kinds of Scrutiny of Scientists are Legitimate?

This morning, Rep. Raul Grijalva sent letters to seven universities seeking documents related to academics who have testified before Congress on climate change. The requests come in the wake of revelations over the weekend that the Smithsonian Institution agreed not to disclose payments from the Southern Company, a major utility, to fund and review the work of Smithsonian aerospace engineer Willie Soon. As all of the researchers in question have been critical of mainstream climate science, some are wondering if Rep. Grijalva’s requests can be considered a witch hunt. So is it? Read More

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Willie Soon’s Failure to Disclose Industry Funding for Contrarian Climate Research is Another Reason to Support Transparency

My first job in science communication was as an “Explainer” in the Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum. The program helps visitors – particularly students – understand the forces of flight. Our uniforms included red polo shirts that said “The Explainer Program” on the front and had the name of the company that sponsored the program – Cessna Aircraft – on the sleeve.

I recall this old uniform because the Smithsonian is under scrutiny for an entirely different type of sponsorship that was hidden from public view. Read More

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Four Ways Scientists Can Give Good Answers to Bad Questions

This post originally appeared on the American Geophysical Union’s Plainspoken Scientist blog.

One of the reasons I love working with scientists is that they tend to be very direct. Ask a question: get an answer. Sometimes the answer is a little long and makes me revisit basic physics I haven’t thought about since middle school, but I definitely get an answer.

Thankfully, most of the questions journalists, policymakers and citizens ask scientists are straightforward. But many are off-base and sometimes even badly framed. If a scientist provides a direct answer to a bad question, they can inadvertently leave audiences with an inaccurate impression of their work. While the examples below won’t happen to every researcher, they illustrate good principles for effectively dealing with such questions. Read More

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We Need Sharper Questions for a Broken Climate Debate

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) recently claimed that human-caused climate change “is not well-established.”

House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said he wanted to “let scientists debate…” why the climate is changing.

By contrast, Mitt Romney reportedly said “that while he hopes the skeptics about global climate change are right, he believes it’s real and a major problem,” according to the Des Moines Register. Read More

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Climate Change Is Impacting West Virginia…but Will Our Students Learn about It?

UPDATE (Jan. 14, 2:40 p.m.): The West Virginia state school board has decided to reinstate the original language of the Next Gen science standards and repost the proposed standards for a 30-day public comment period.

Much has been written about last week’s kerfuffle involving the West Virginia State Board of Education and its decision to alter science standards relating to climate change. Ironically, as the state plans to weaken its science standards to blur what’s known about climate science, a West Virginia group is releasing a report today focusing on the impacts of climate change on the Mountain State. Read More

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“Climate Change Invaded My Field”: A Conversation with Historian and Science Advocate Steven Leibo

At the American Historical Association’s annual meeting earlier this month, I had the pleasure of meeting Steven Leibo, a professor of history, leader for the Climate Reality Project, and long-time UCS supporter. During the Q&A for a session on teaching history to STEM students, Professor Leibo remarked on the need for building better bridges between historians and scientists. After the talk, he graciously allowed me to interview him about why these bridges are important through the lens of his own work. Read More

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Breaking: Climate Change Scientist Michael Mann (and Scientific Inquiry) Win in Virginia FOIA Case

Climate Scientist Michael Mann is reporting that in a ruling from the bench, Virginia Circuit Court Judge Paul F. Sheridan has affirmed the right of the University of Virginia to protect the privacy of its researchers from overly broad open records requests.  Read More

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CEI Compares Climate Scientist to a Child Molester

Competitive Enterprise Institute’s space technology and policy analyst, Rand Simberg, recently wrote a blog post in which he compared Penn State climate scientist Michael Mann to former university football coach and convicted child molester Jerry Sandusky. CEI published the post on its own blog, and the National Review decided it was appropriate to pass along. Michael Mann has rightly demanded that the National Review retract the blog post and issue a public apology.

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Secret Donors Muddy Climate Policy Debate

We don’t know what we don’t know.  For me, that’s the most shocking facet of our UCS report, A Climate of Corporate Control, released on May 30. Read More

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