Peter Bonk: Monday Morning at the 4th ICCC: Tough Talk about Fraud (and Rhode Island Once Again Pops Up on the Wrong End of a National Ranking)
The breakfast speakers are Patrick Michaels from George Mason University and George Allen, former Senator and Governor of Virginia. Professor Michaels is deadpan and funny with a serious message. He takes the reprobates associated with the “Climategate” scandal to task for corrupting the peer review process, labeling the behavior “hanging offenses”, and he is right. It is ok, (not fun, but ok) to be wrong in science, but most scientists don’t even get a second chance if fraud is involved. It is usually an instant career killer. Michaels chastises the University of East Anglia and Penn State for their whitewashing of the bad behavior of Phil Jones and Michael Mann.
As a scientist and someone with a modicum of common sense and decency I can not even imagine sending an e-mail like this:
The next time I see Pat Michaels at a scientific meeting I’ll be tempted to beat the crap out of him. Very tempted. [Climate researcher Benjamin Santer of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to Professor Phil Jones of the University of East Anglia, Oct. 9, 2009]
This behavior is shockingly unprofessional. We all think some people are fools and idiots, but most of us wisely keep those thoughts to ourselves.
Governor Allen talks about energy policy, and opines that even “Doing nothing is doing something” in that allows people to keep and spend their money as they see fit. His chart of energy costs and the sources of energy for the states has Rhode Island 46th out of 51 in average price per kilowatt hour. Allen reminds us that it is access to affordable, reliable energy that has given the developed world its high standard of living.
The meeting has break out sessions during the day, with four tracks in parallel: two on science, one on economics and one on public policy. I find myself spending most of the morning in the Economics and Public Policy talks.
Peter Bonk resides in Westerly. A chemist by training and profession, he, along with millions of us, scientists and laymen, has been attempting to discern whether the core science supports the policy positions, enacted and proposed, that have evolved out of the debate on anthropogenic global warming.