Not being a climatologist myself, I’ve always had trouble deciding between these arguments. And then I met Judith Curry at her home in Reno, Nevada. Curry is a true climatologist. She once headed the department of earth and atmospheric sciences at the Georgia Institute of Technology, until she gave up on the academy so that she could express herself independently. “Independence of mind and climatology have become incompatible,” she says. Do you mean that global warming isn’t real? I ask. “There is warming, but we don’t really understand its causes,” she says. “The human factor and carbon dioxide, in particular, contribute to warming, but how much is the subject of intense scientific debate.”
In 2005, I had a conversation with Rajendra Pachauri, an Indian railway engineer, who remade himself into a climatologist and became director of the IPCC, which received the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize under his tenure. Pachauri told me, without embarrassment, that, at the UN, he recruited only climatologists convinced of the carbon-dioxide warming explanation, excluding all others. This extraordinary collusion today allows politicians and commentators to declare that “science says that” carbon dioxide is to blame for global warming, or that a “scientific consensus” exists on warming, implying that no further study is needed—something that makes zero sense on its face, as scientific research is not based on consensus but on contradictory views.
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