ScienceDebate has a new site where scientists can document how the Trump administration has influenced science. There are already examples of the power of rhetoric. But one thing not (yet) mentioned is how a certain set of scientists will be emboldened by post-truth politics.
Case in point: In the last couple of years, we’ve watched Georgia’s Judith Curry sink from lukewarmer to denier to consensus conspiracy theorist.
With her latest post that is likely her attempt to cozy up to the new post-truth administration, she reaffirms denial and embraces conspiracy, but ups the ante by alleging the UNFCCC is perpetrating a hoax and by calling for a re-evaluation of the EPA’s Endangerment finding.
Because the UNFCCC defines “climate change” as man’s influence above and beyond natural variability, and says emissions reductions will influence the climate, they’re apparently trying to mislead people. Sou at HotWhopper takes on these claims, so we’ll focus on the others.
As per usual, most of her post is just extended passages from other people with a sentence or two of commentary from Curry. But at the end, she makes four suggestions about what needs to be done in a Trump administration.
She thinks we need a review of climate science that includes uncertainties (apparently the 89 mentions of uncertainty in National Climate Assessment isn’t enough.) She says we should reopen the “Endangerment” finding about whether or not climate change is dangerous (apparently the California drought, the wildfires across the west and Alaska, Hurricane Matthew or Superstorm Sandy, and now-regular flooding of Miami might just be another hoax.) Similarly, in light of uncertainty, we should reassess the social cost of carbon (which was reaffirmed by a federal appeals court in August.) And finally, she believes Trump should provide more funding for monitoring the Earth and researching natural variability (which he’s already said he’ll cut.)
She says that if the Trump admin accomplishes the first three points, he’ll have the scientific justification to pull out of the Paris Agreement and scrap the Clean Power Plan. Except that a reassessment of the endangerment finding is likely to be even stronger than it was originally, in light of more years of extreme weather and broken heat records. As for the social cost of carbon, when more uncertainty is added that means the fat tails of worst-case scenarios grow larger.
With the endangerment finding likely to come out stronger and since the cost of carbon rises if one includes more uncertainty, Curry’s focus on uncertainty and neglect of fat tails has led her in circles, blindly chasing her own tall tales.
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