Who wrote this?:
A review of the peer-edited literature reveals a systematic tendency of the climate establishment to engage in a variety of stylized rhetorical techniques that seem to oversell what is actually known about climate change while concealing fundamental uncertainties and open questions regarding many of the key processes involved in climate change.
Was it a cranky skeptic grinding away on his personal blog? Or was it a prominent professor at a major university?
OK. I telegraphed that one. In fact, the author of those words is Jason Scott Johnston, Director of the Program on Law, Environment and Economy at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, in a paper published by The University of Pennsylvania’s Institute for Law and Economics: Global Warming Advocacy Science: a Cross Examination (PDF).
Johnston also writes:
Fundamental open questions include not only the size but the direction of feedback effects that are responsible for the bulk of the temperature increase predicted to result from atmospheric greenhouse gas increases: while climate models all presume that such feedback effects are on balance strongly positive, more and more peer-edited scientific papers seem to suggest that feedback effects may be small or even negative. The cross-examination conducted in this paper reveals many additional areas where the peer-edited literature seems to conflict with the picture painted by establishment climate science, ranging from the magnitude of 20th century surface temperature increases and their relation to past temperatures; the possibility that inherent variability in the earth’s non-linear climate system, and not increases in CO2, may explain observed late 20th century warming; the ability of climate models to actually explain past temperatures; and, finally, substantial doubt about the methodological validity of models used to make highly publicized predictions of global warming impacts such as species loss.
Johnston says that establishment climate scientists have taken to cherry-picking data, dismissing information that would bring their models into question and then hunting up evidence that supports their premises. He criticizes this tendency as resulting in a “faith-based climate policy.”
I’ll note here that Johnston isn’t questioning assertions that the climate is changing; he’s challenging the certainty that many climate scientists express in dismissing possible natural factors, such as solar variation, and their enthusiasm for the supposed accuracy of computer models intended to describe what the climate is doing now and will do in the future. He also points to overtly bad science and the substitution of opinion for inquiry in the claims made by many climate scientists.
All of this matters because the bad science and dismissal of contrary evidence and dissenting opinions is useful only for “conveying a very scary and also very simple picture of the state of the science. Such coarse understanding leads to a very coarse policy prescription: ‘Do something, anything, now!’ Such a policy prescription justifies virtually any policy, however costly or inefficient…”
Interestingly, even though the latest version of the paper was published in May, the only mainstream media mention I can find is in Canada’s Financial Post.