CLIMATE ABYSS on CHRON.COM: “Introducing the Climate Change National Forum” by Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, 01/09/2014

January 11, 2014 6:44 pm0 comments

“Introducing the Climate Change National Forum” by Dr. John Nielsen-Gammon, January 9, 2014 [click on link here to view full article on Chron.com]

I’m a contributor to a new web site that’s publicly launching today: the Climate Change National Forum.  It’s a site that will (I hope) develop into a home for expert discussions and debate about science and policy issues related to climate change.

Climate Change National Forum -- a national platform founded by leading climate scientists to educate the American public on the science of climate change and its policy implications.

I’m not aware of any existing web sites that fit that bill.  Most, but not all, climate-related web sites are devoted to presenting a particular point of view.  Most, but not all, climate-related web sites are hosted or written by one, two, or three individuals.  Most, but not all, climate-related web sites are written by non-scientists.  Many climate-related web sites have gained a reputation of being hostile to people expressing certain positions.  Many climate-related web sites have gained a reputation of posting material of questionable accuracy.  And while some of the most interesting nuggets of content can be found in the comment sections of many climate-related web sites, the nugget-to-drivel ratio tends to be discouragingly low.

My point of view as a contributor to the Climate Change National Forum is that people need the most accurate possible understanding of the science of climate change.  When someone says that climate science shows that the latest cold air outbreak was partly driven by climate change, people need to know what’s wrong with that statement.  When someone says that the latest cold air outbreak is evidence that global warming is false, people need to know what’s wrong with that statement, too.  I don’t know if it’s possible to create a web site that people at all ends of the scientific and political spectrum can trust, but by being honest and not playing favorites, we’re going to give it a shot.

We have multiple contributors.  Right now just a handful, but eventually we’re shooting for several dozen.  This will provide a diversity of opinion, a broad range of expertise, and plenty of new information every week.  Contributors must be properly credentialed, honest, rational, and engaging.  Guest postings from non-contributors will also be accepted from time to time if they meet the appropriate standards.

One of the key features of the Climate Change National Forum is the comment section.  Below each entry, and above the general comment section, will be comments made by other contributors.  Rather than presenting a unified face to the outside world, contributors are encouraged to question, debate, dispute, expand, and otherwise discuss other contributions.  The public rarely gets to see scientists debating each other, outside of the fake debates that are set up by news shows.  As scientists know, what scientists eventually tell the outside world in publications, presentations, and committee reports gives little or no clue (or even the wrong impressions) about how scientists judge scientific claims, evaluate evidence, develop hypotheses, and reach conclusions.  I know of no web site, inside or outside of climate science, that allows the public to experience true scientific discussions on a regular basis.

I hope that by understanding the nature of science and scientific reasoning, the public will be better able to place the proper amount of trust in scientific claims, in all areas of science.  As I’ve discussed here before (in an entry that I’ll repost on the Climate Change National Forum in the near future), the proper amount of trust in scientific claims is often quite far from 100%.

While the focus of the site is on both science and policy, we’re starting with the science.

Continue reading full article here: http://blog.chron.com/climateabyss/2014/01/introducing-the-climate-change-national-forum/

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