"A pair of scientists have accused BP of an attack on academic freedom after the oil company successfully subpoenaed thousands of confidential emails related to research on the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster.
The accusation from oceanographers Richard Camilli and Christopher Reddy offered a rare glimpse into the behind-the-scenes legal manoeuvring by BP in the billion-dollar legal proceedings arising from the April 2010 blow-out of its well.
It also heightened fears among scientists of an assault on academic freedoms, following the legal campaign against a number of prominent climate scientists.
In an opinion piece in the Boston Globe, the scientists, from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, said they volunteered in the early days of the spill to deploy robotic technology to help BP and the Coast Guard assess how much oil was gushing from the well.
The two researchers turned over some 50,000 pages of research notes and data to BP. But BP demanded more, and obtained a court subpoena for the handover of more than 3,000 confidential emails. The scientists handed over the emails last week – but with severe misgivings, they wrote.
"Our concern is not simply invasion of privacy, but the erosion of the scientific deliberative process," they wrote. They feared the email exchanges, in which the scientists discuss hitting dead ends or challenging each other on their conclusions, were open to deliberate misinterpretation.
"Incomplete thoughts and half-finished documents attached to emails can be taken out of context and impugned by people who have a motive for discrediting the findings. In addition to obscuring true scientific findings, this situation casts a chill over the scientific process. In future crises, scientists may censor or avoid deliberations, and more importantly, be reluctant to volunteer valuable expertise and technology that emergency responders don’t possess."
The struggle over the emails indicates the looming legal significance of any data related to the flow of oil from the stricken well.”
Here’s a round up of climate denialist blogs trying to shut down climate scientist Michael Mann’s talk which is about, ironically, helping scientists communicate with the public. There are dozens of denialist blogs trying to stir the troops. Here are the most active:
This is a huge win for students and academic institutions in the US. Eight climate centers will be built. Man, I love this both because I’m UMass alumnus and it’s a permanent commitment by the Federal Government to study and educate people on climate change. A great investment in America’s future. Huge long-term win for the U.S.!
"The federal government yesterday awarded the University of Massachusetts Amherst a multimillion-dollar grant to host one of eight centers around the country to study the local effects of climate change.
The Northeast Climate Science Center will study how climate change affects ecosystems, wildlife, water, and other resources from the Great Lakes to Maine and down to Missouri. The $7.5 million grant over five years will sponsor research at UMass Amherst as well as at institutions in Wisconsin, Minnesota, New York, and Massachusetts.
“The nationwide network of Climate Science Centers will provide the scientific talent and commitment necessary for understanding how climate change and other landscape stressors will change the face of the United States,’’ US Interior Department Secretary Ken Salazar said in a statement.
Last month, the state’s Climate Change Adaptation Advisory Committee released a report that said temperatures in Massachusetts by the end of this century could spike to 90 degrees or more for 30 to 60 days every summer, ocean temperatures could be on average 8 degrees warmer, and winters are likely to have more rain and less snow.”
Interesting. Climate Hawks sent me this nice message about who to follow. Nice. But still, I’m losing patience with Google+’s default setting that allows others to follow you without a formal request. I suspect it’s temporary - as G+ grows, so too does my inbox. Still, how do I turn it off?
Update: Don’t get me wrong, love me some political falconry…
Jim Hansen and Makiko Sato argue (again) that modern climate models are much too generous with respect to predictions of climate impacts.
One big uncertainty is how fast ice sheets can respond to warming. Our best assessment will probably be from precise measurements of changes in the mass of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, which can be monitored via measurements of Earth’s gravitational field by satellites.
Figure 2 shows that both Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are now losing mass at significant rates, as much as a few hundred cubic kilometers per year. We suggest that mass loss from disintegrating ice sheets probably can be approximated better by exponential mass loss than by linear mass loss. If either ice sheet were to lose mass at a rate with doubling time of 10 years or less, multi-meter sea level rise would occur this century.
The overwhelming scientific evidence tells us that human greenhouse gas emissions are resulting in climate changes that cannot be explained by natural causes.
Climate change is real, we are causing it, and it is happening right now.
Like it or not, humanity is facing a problem that is unparalleled in its scale and complexity. The magnitude of the problem was given a chilling focus in the most recent report of the International Energy Agency, which their chief economist characterised as the “worst news on emissions.”
Limiting global warming to 2°C is now beginning to look like a nearly insurmountable challenge.
Like all great challenges, climate change has brought out the best and the worst in people.
A vast number of scientists, engineers, and visionary businesspeople are boldly designing a future that is based on low-impact energy pathways and living within safe planetary boundaries; a future in which substantial health gains can be achieved by eliminating fossil-fuel pollution; and a future in which we strive to hand over a liveable planet to posterity.
At the other extreme, understandable economic insecurity and fear of radical change have been exploited by ideologues and vested interests to whip up ill-informed, populist rage, and climate scientists have become the punching bag of shock jocks and tabloid scribes.
Aided by a pervasive media culture that often considers peer-reviewed scientific evidence to be in need of “balance” by internet bloggers, this has enabled so-called “sceptics” to find a captive audience while largely escaping scrutiny.
Australians have been exposed to a phony public debate which is not remotely reflected in the scientific literature and community of experts.
Beginning today, The Conversation will bring much-needed and long-overdue accountability to the climate “sceptics.”
For the next two weeks, our series of daily analyses will show how they can side-step the scientific literature and how they subvert normal peer review. They invariably ignore clear refutations of their arguments and continue to promote demonstrably false critiques.
We will show that “sceptics” often show little regard for truth and the critical procedures of the ethical conduct of science on which real skepticism is based.
The individuals who deny the balance of scientific evidence on climate change will impose a heavy future burden on Australians if their unsupported opinions are given undue credence.
-Rare open challenge to climate deniers and skeptics from a group of Australian scientists. I’ll keep y’all posted!