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November 30, 2009
Climategate: An inconvenient whistleblower
Writing in Sydney's Daily Telegraph, Climategate denier, David Penberthy insists that the warming debate is over. Really:
But when it comes to the basic questions of science, forgive me for sticking with the guys in the lab coats.
Basic questions of science? The debate is over because thousands of unnamed "guys in the lab coats" are sticky, according to Penberthy. Climategate is just a beat-up, an inconvenient controversy.
Like so many Climategate deniers, Penberthy depends on power-posturing techniques. He's basically saying: "My gang with white coats is bigger than your gang. Case closed."
Some Climategate deniers believe that there are no whistleblowers in science, just lawless hackers. Their opponents are "arrogant," so that makes them mature, like gracious Al Gore.
And yet? Professor Plimer (School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Adelaide) submits (p.444):
The IPPC claims that its reports are written by 2500 scientists. In fact, they are written by 35, who are controlled by an even smaller number.
Plimer is not a climate alarmist. He is a world-renowned geologist who adds (p.462):
Attempts to restrict free speech and calls for censorship of alternative views are made by climate zealots. Such actions have characterized salvationist cults down through the ages.
Penberthy assumes that (a) there is a consensus and (b) that consensus-first science is always good science. And, just in case you're wondering, climate experts aren't necessarily "guys in lab coats," and some are even - surprise! -women. But to disagree with Penberthy is to "deny," the truth as he feels it.
Why are stick-friendly warmers denying, by the way? Professor Garth W. Paltridge recognizes (p. 58)
In the Australian context one presumes such a story can be sold easily enough because the continent has lots of desert, the growth of plants is generally water limited, and the models of climate (or at least the models of climate we hear about) produce scenarios of much dryer times in the future. We don't hear about the fact that over the last few decades Australia has in fact got greener. Or that increasing CO2 in the atmosphere should lead to greater efficiency of plants in their use of water.
Emeritus Professor Paltridge doesn't need to wear white, but he is an atmospheric physicist. He is an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of Tasmania. He was a Chief Research Scientist with the CSIRO Division of Atmospheric Research.