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Ex-HEP climate scientist urged to get arrested, hesitates

This article in the Guardian offers us quite an amusing combination of climate science and particle physics:

Climate scientists must not advocate particular policies
That's the main message we hear from Tamsin Edwards, a climate scientist in Bristol. She reminds us of something you've heard many times on this blog: science cannot answer moral questions. It can't even tell you whether you should have a carbon tax or fight for a wetter atmosphere, among many other things. Scientists who violate this rule inevitably reduce the credibility of science in general, especially if and when there are sensible concerns that the political considerations and goals could have determined the scientist's manipulation with the data. Right.

A scientist is also a human with her human rights so she can think and say whatever she wants about many political and other issues – at least, in the genuinely free world, she can – but she just shouldn't sell her political opinions as conclusions of scientific research (or as "scientific consensus" as these political statements are often called). This interpretation is an abuse of science.

If you were ever denying that the climate scientists are being politically pressured, well, she reminds us that she and her colleagues are repeatedly urged to be persuasive, be brave, and get arrested ;-), whenever necessary. She apparently doesn't want to get arrested. By the way, you may learn several other embarrassing things about the climate pressure groups and their pathological interactions with the climatological community from her essay. So far, researchers such as herself aren't being collected in special AGW Kamikaze units.

At the same moment, she says that many people began to appreciate her – a self-evident lukewarmer (who often identifies herself with Roger Pielke Jr) – as an honest broker even though her opinions are "completely mainstream". Well, are her opinions completely mainstream? Surely not according to those activists who are overwhelming us with the meme that 97% of the climate scientists want (and must verbally support) a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system and who will probably flood her mailbox with some hate mail once they read her essay and learn that it was positively mentioned at the denialist ;-) blogs such as The Reference Frame.

I apologize in advance for my contribution to the hate mail but I also kindly emphasize that this contribution is zero – 100 percent should be blamed on the authors of the e-mails and their agenda.

According to the actual present composition of the climate science community, especially the loud and media-savvy part of it, she is not mainstream in any sense. Such people wouldn't dare to name their blogs "All Models Are Wrong". This is almost the ultimate heresy, isn't it?

She considers herself completely mainstream, pro-science, and feels confident that she is in charge of her research. Yet, she clearly contradicts the climate orthodoxy. Where could such a researcher come from? Try to guess! ;-) This is not a rhetorical question. It's a real question with a very interesting answer. If you look at her page at or one in Bristol, you will find out what she used to be in her previous life. You will notice articles such as her PhD thesis,
Diffractively produced Z-bosons in the muon decay channel in \(pp\)-collisions at \(\sqrt s={1.96}\TeV\), and the measurement of the efficiency of the DØ Run II Luminosity Monitor
Yes, Ladies and Gentlemen: her PhD (2006) is from experimental particle physics and she has worked for the Fermilab. In her essay in the Guardian, we can't learn about that but what we can learn is that she switched to climatology because she cared about the environment. (Not getting a job in high-energy physics could have encouraged her to pursue a new career, too.)

Even some of the most impartial and independent climate scientists – those imported to the discipline from the Fermilab – were motivated by political or ideological goals when they were deciding whether they would start to do the research of climatology. Just to be sure, if climatology were a full-fledged science, people would study it not because they care about the environment but because they want to understand how the climate system has worked, is working, and will work.

Be sure that your humble correspondent cares about clean Nature at least as much as she does. I have spent weeks by the work helping the trees in the Bohemian Forests, for example. I have virtually no emissions of harmful gases and even no emissions of the gases that are beneficial but are being slung mud at (carbon dioxide). But I do care about science and its integrity and it seems that so does she.

It's hard to imagine that Dr Edwards won't learn how distorted her new discipline has become. She will and even if she does believe – for irrational reasons – that CO2 is dangerous in any sense, she is bound to become a skeptic of her own sort. You can't avoid becoming a skeptic of a sort after you publish a hardcore blasphemy in the Guardian and she hasn't done anything less than that.

I learned about her article from Real Climate. So far, the Real Climate comments about her text seem to be favorable and that's also true for the comments under the Guardian article. However, you will see that she's been attacked over there by some predictable suspects, e.g. Greg Laden.

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snail feedback (27) :

reader Alexander Ač said...

I think her attitude is understandable. But then of course, she has to accept that livable climate is slowly being destroyed, and well, most of the humanity together with it. In that sense, Tamsin Edwards is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

reader John Archer said...

I think your attitude is understandable too — indeed, eminently so.

Of course if they haven't actually done so already then these days, with the rapid advancement of neuroscience, the psychopathologists should be able to get to the bottom of it soon enough.

Meanwhile as precautionary™ measure I strongly recommend you set yourself on fire and jump under a coal truck.

That's OK. No problem, you're welcome.

reader Frederick said...

So you are claiming that the current climate is the optimum ? How do you know that ?

reader Gene Day said...

When working in a “discipline” it is extremely difficult not to adopt the standards generally accepted in that field; that’s just human nature. Tamsin Edwards resists that temptation because she was trained in another discipline that really does require scientific integrity. There can be no clearer demonstration of the true character of “climate science”, the name of which is one of the most egregious oxymorons of our era.

reader lucretius said...

"Most of humanity"? Wouldn't people of your persuasion consider this a good thing? After all, isn't overpopulation the other great Bugaboo?

And who is going to be left? Let me guess - it must be us "the deniers" (led by Lindzen and co). It's all a part of our devilish scheme - we first get loads of cash from the fossil fuel companies, built ourselves villas in Siberia (the French Riviera of the future) and enjoy the new spacious world with much higher average IQ.

reader Gene Day said...

Her integrity may be relatively intact but she is a poor scientist or she would identify garbage as garbage. She is immersed in it, after all.

reader Alexander Ač said...


well, "people of my persuasion" are generally interested in sustainability. I.e. in going things that are not reducing the prospects of humans in the future (or present). That is all. Quite simple,



reader Alexander Ač said...


Holocene was a particularly stable period (cca last 10 kyr), when all the great agrarian civilizations emerged, and our fossil civilization is based upon as well. So, from that point of view, yes, we better not screw the climate and our ability to grow enough food. Or do you think that switching from floods to drought is good for agriculture?



reader Alexander Ač said...

Dear John, do you suggest for firefighters to jump into the fire? If so, why?



reader lucretius said...

Yes, I know. Slave labour based civilisations of the ancient world were "very sustainable" - they lasted for thousands of years. If people like yourself could have their way, they would return us back to that kind of "sustainability". But surely you know that your chance of success is about 0.

I find it hard to believe that you don't really understand that so the more likely explanation why you insist on making a clown of yourself is that it gives you a chance of posing as a "scientist" (and even, perhaps, of deceiving yourself that you are one) although it is quite obvious that your IQ is insufficient even for moderate success in any science (or in your case "science") except "climate change".

reader John Archer said...

Alexander, you are a sweetie. But what an odd question!

No, of course not — just you. That way you could also do us all a favour and usefully set an example for all the other born-again-druid gaia botherers to follow. Sheep are like that. Handy! Mmmm yum yum.

Oh wait! I get it now. You actually see yourself as a fireman! Geeezus....

Right, the kind who wants to put out the flame in my boiler when it's twenty below outside and tell me suck a peppermint and wave one of these around to keep warm.

No, I'd much rather stick a wick in an ecotard and set fire to her. In fact I'm rather hoping for such social climate change to become the norm in the post-hansen world to mitigate the hideous effects you lot have had on fuel prices.

reader jane said...

Why Do you think that the Increased Carbon dioxide emissions is beneficial ? Can you tell me why ?

reader jane said...

That's not a good way to respond to people . You're making a fool of yourself . Climate change is a complex subject and every one has different opinion . Humanity must find new sources of sustainable energy that's economically viable because fossil fuel stores are beginning to run out. Increased Carbon dioxide emissions are dangerous .There are many things to worry about more than carbon dioxide though .

reader Climate scientist . said...

It's pretty clear that any respected scientist consider lubos motl a crackpot .You don't have a capacity for critical thinking outside particle physics and you seem to be deeply troubled . It's not wise to censor any comment that doesn't appeal to your paranoia

reader Shannon said...

Alexander believes there is a switch button somewhere, how cute!

reader Casper said...

I have recently discovered that I have a particle physicist for an ancestor and now find myself self-identifying as a particle physicist.

reader Eugene S said...

Dear Alexander, this is not the first time I see that claim made about the "particularly stable Holocene" and that we must fight to preserve it at all cost. It is usually coupled with references to the so-called hockey stick and "unprecedented warming". Frankly, I don't believe it. One thing making me so skeptical is error bars. Usually climate reconstructions, from ice cores or whatever, show only vertical error bars or they "smear out" the graph to make it fuzzy in the y dimension. But they neglect to show horizontal error bars. Together with interpolation, this will give an unwarranted impression of precision and continuity.

If I may add a personal remark, your writings strike me as an effort to spread, or displace, severe depression onto other people: "misery loves company". As a sufferer from depression myself, I can tell you that even when it works, it does not bring lasting relief, only a stale "success" that should make you feel ashamed of yourself.

reader anna v said...

CO2 is a natural fertilizer for the flora on which fauna feeds so is good for the food chain. CO2 was a multiple of the present concentration during dinosaur time .

Considering that the only true prophesy is that the next ice age will come within some years, the little bit that CO2 adds as a greenhouse contribution, in my opinion, can only be beneficial.

Civilizations flower during hot times and wither during cold.

reader John Archer said...

For one thing, tomatoes love the stuff and I love tomatoes.

I'm not sure how Luboš feels about them though. After all, they're very red! So—quite understandably for anyone who has lived under the commie boot—he may have an adverse Pavlovian-type reaction to them. My guess, however, is that he has the strength of character to rise above that sort of thing and chomps his way happily through his daily ration. :)

You do you like tomatoes, don't you? Most people do. More CO2, more tomatoes. See? It's quite simple really.

reader lucretius said...

Have you ever seen "Attack of the Killer Tomatoes"? It sounds much like the sort of thing Alexander is worried about.

reader Gene Day said...

Satellite measurements show that the planet is greening. Even South America is holding its own despite the extensive clear cutting in the Amazon because increasing greenery elsewhere offsets the deforestation. As the rate of deforestation declines, which is happening, and CO2 continues to increase, future observations of South America are certain to exhibit greening, too.
It is obvious to me that Greenpeace and the green parties should clamor for more fossil fuel burning.

reader John Archer said...

Haha! :)

Yeah, you've got him pegged!

Though I think the killingest of killer veg has to be the tenured water melon — die Waffen SS des Ecotardsreich.

reader Eugene S said...

When the little text box opens up, you should see a small rectangle in the bottom left corner that with some imagination looks like a mountain range with the sun above. Click on this and a file selection box opens up, allowing you to choose an image file from your computer for upload, as I shall demonstrate by choosing a photograph of your favorite Englishman...

reader John Archer said...

Thank you, Eugene. I can't say I'd noticed the little icon you mention but then my wife tells me I can be remarkably unobservant. And deaf, fortunately!

I'll look out for it next time. Incidentally, editing one's comments on an iPad is difficult at best and often plain impossible. It's possible therefore that the icon doesn't show up on an iPad. But I dunno. UPDATE: Yep. The iPad does show the little icon. Thanks.

As to your assessment of my favourite Englishman I'm sure I would have greatly enjoyed it. Actually I have lots of favourites but my favouritest fave is Isaac Newton, closely followed by Thomas Jefferson*, George Washington*, Alfred the Great and the Duke of Wellington. Right now though, a future Guy Fawkes is coming up very fast on the inside track. And I wouldn't lift a finger to stop him — none of those traitorous bastards represents Englishmen.

* ;) :) The real McCoys in my book.

reader Eugene S said...

I'll try this one more time. Funny how things break when one tries to demonstrate them, it's almost a natural law...

reader John Archer said...

Test pic.

reader Peter Dunford said...

Commercial greenhouses often run at 1000 to 1500 ppm of CO2 compared to 400 in normal air. Plants evolved when CO2 was at 2500ppm.

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