Climate Models Run Too Hot: Settled Science Again – Hit & Run : Reason.com

Source: Climate Models Run Too Hot: Settled Science Again – Hit & Run : Reason.com

 

The researchers next pointed out that the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, from 2013, estimated that cumulative carbon dioxide emissions since 1870 would have to remain less than 2,260 gigatons of carbon dioxide to stay below the 1.5 C threshold. But as of 2014, cumulative emissions stood at just over 2,000 gigatons of carbon dioxide. Since humanity is currently emitting about 36 gigatons of carbon dioxide annually, that implies that humanity would blow through the remaining IPCC carbon budget around 2021.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The average global temperature now stands at about 0.9 C above the pre-industrial baseline, which implies that global temperature would have to increase by 0.6 C between now and 2021 if the IPCC carbon budget calculations were right. This is highly implausible since such an increase would be about 10 times faster than than what has actually heretofore been observed.

….

But why reuse the models that have already been shown to be off by 30 percent in their projections? Again, the difference between 0.9 C above the preindustrial baseline and the 1.5 C threshold is 0.6 C. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, global average temperature is rising at 0.17 C per decade, suggesting that the 1.5 C temperature threshold might not be passed for 30 years. The satellite temperature measurements find that the globe is warming at the rate of 0.13 C per decade, implying that the 1.5 C threshold might not be passed for 45 years or so.

These rough temperature increase calculations imply an even larger carbon budget. That might mean that humanity could burn significantly more carbon dioxide-emitting fossil fuels without necessarily crossing the 2 C above preindustrial average temperature threshold set out in the Paris Agreement.

Why the Russians Conceived the Global Warming Scam

Source: Why the Russians Conceived the Global Warming Scam

Well, first of all, did they?

The veteran journalist Wes Vernon wrote about Grant’s research in this area, in an article entitled, “The Marxist Roots of the Global Warming Scare.”

The big event, as Grant called it, was a Moscow conference in January, 1990. As Time magazine described it, “At a meeting of the Global Forum in Moscow in 1990, when he was still Soviet President, Gorbachev proposed an organization roughly analogous to the International Red Cross to contend with environmental problems that cross national boundaries.” Among the guests and speakers was then-U.S. senator and future vice president Al Gore.

Talk about “collusion” with the Russians! Where was the FBI investigation?

The collusion took place through the Global Forum and various United Nations conferences, including the Earth Summit of 1992, giving rise to the concept of “sustainable development,” another way to describe socialism.

Grant wrote, “Protection of the environment may be used as a pretext to adopt a series of measures designed to undermine the industrial base of developed nations. It may also serve to introduce malaise by lowering their standard of living and implanting communist values.”

Grant predicted how this campaign would proceed, using “nightmarish” pictures of floods, scorched earth, disease and death, unless drastic action was taken at the international level to curb industrial activity in the capitalist West.

She said the campaign would be driven by Moscow’s sympathizers or dupes in “science,” academia, “and the slavishly obedient Establishment media,” all for the purpose of forcing the United States and other Western countries “to accept measures and regulations harmful to the Western world.”

In short, for communism to succeed, capitalism would have to be portrayed as based on exploitation—but not of man, as the old Marxist theory held. Rather, capitalism was now exploiting the earth! The whole purpose of this dogma has been to inhibit global capitalism, the only system that has proven capable of meeting the growing needs of expanding populations. But this time the claim was that human economic progress threatened the environment because of the capitalist model on which it was based.

Says who?

Don’t take my word for it. When Natalie Grant Wraga died in 2002 at the age of 101, The Washington Post recognized her expertise as a Soviet expert, noting that she was “born in czarist Russia, saw great upheaval in her native land and became an expert in unmasking Soviet deception methods for the State Department…”

But the Post would not admit that fact in today’s political climate.

The liberal Economist magazine wrote, “She was perhaps the only person alive in the West who could claim such an intimate knowledge of Russian political thinking, from tsarist times to the collapse of the Soviet Union.” She commented, “Many people are studying the past, but very few are studying the present. Keep your eyes open and your ears open.”

Are Microbiologists Climate-Denying Science Haters? | American Council on Science and Health

Source: Are Microbiologists Climate-Denying Science Haters? | American Council on Science and Health

How could so many incredibly intelligent people overwhelmingly reject what THE SCIENCE says about climate change? Well, they don’t. They just don’t see it as big of a threat to the world as other things. Unsurprisingly, the vast majority of them felt that antibiotic resistance and pandemic disease were the biggest global threats. One person thought geopolitical instability was the biggest concern.

I told them that I believed poverty was the world’s biggest threat. The reason is poverty is the underlying condition that causes so much misery in the world. Consider that 1.3 billion people don’t have electricity. And then consider how the lack of that basic necessity — what the rest of us take completely for granted — hinders their ability to develop economically and to succeed, let alone to have access to adequate healthcare. If we fix poverty, we could stop easily preventable health problems, such as infectious disease and malnutrition.

Was I booed out of the room? No, the audience understood why I believed what I did. But woe unto you who try to have a similar conversation with climate warriors.

How the left lost the argument about global warming–climate change

Source: How the left lost the argument about global warming–climate change

First off, they failed to engage.  Instead. they resorted to name calling by labeling skeptics as “deniers” or worse.  Then there is their exaggeration of what they see as the dire consequences of climate change.  These exaggerations have led them to falsely predict that New York City would be under water and that the polls would be ice free.  When that did not happen people like Al Gore lost credibility.

Fundamentally their “scientific” projections have been deeply flawed grossly overestimating the consequences of increased CO2.  One of the principals of projections is that when they failed to be realized it is because they relied on invalid assumptions.  This is true of financial projections and scientific projections.

In the case of the projections of the consequences of climate change, I suspect that they are overestimating the impact of CO2 on global temperatures.  One reason I believe that is because they struggle to explain why they got it wrong and they do not want to admit which of their assumptions is invalid.

There is also the hysteria on the left when their beliefs are rejected.  It is almost like the response of radical Islamist to the rejection of Islam.  They act like the rejection of their point of view is blasphemy rather than an argument to overcome.

I think there is also the suspicion that the real objective of the left is to institute control freak government and climate change is their latest excuse for doing so since communism has been rejected.

To be fair, “failure to engage” can occur for two reasons. It may be because those who don’t engage are wrong, or because they’re right and have forgotten what Eugenie Scott has said about discussing evolution: “We’re educating a parade”.

Yes, if you have the facts in order, you may have to keep teaching them to each next person. And if you throw a fit and refuse to teach, you run the risk of looking like you don’t have anything to teach.

Climate Editors Have a Meltdown – WSJ

Source: Climate Editors Have a Meltdown – WSJ

 

But not even the EPA’s Mr. Pruitt or the New York Times’s newest recruit exhibits the ill grace to phrase the “so what” question.

“So what” is the most important question of all. So what if human activity is causing some measure of climate change if voters and politicians are unwilling to assume the costs (possibly hugely disproportionate to any benefit) of altering the outcome of the normal evolution of energy markets and energy technology.

Climate change piece “corrected”

In order for climate change, global warming, the new ice age, weather distortion, or whatever to be a major cause for concern, we need to believe three things:

    • The temperature of the planet is actually changing (usually, increasing);
    • Some significant fraction of this change is due to human activity (and therefore humans can have a significant impact on this change by altering their activity);
    • The temperature change will lead to catastrophe.

I think all serious students of the climate accept that the planet is warmer. At the very least, we’re emerging from an ice age, and this will show up as a warmer planet.

We’ve been measuring the levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, and watching them go past 400 parts per million. Since CO2 blocks and absorbs certain frequencies of light, it’s hard to imagine an increase in concentration having no effect. Perhaps if every human quit burning stuff, this trend could be reversed, but realistically that’s not happening. The proposals that are being described as “urgent” would have a trifling effect on human CO2 production. China and India aren’t going to change absent a major economic collapse.
It’s possible that technological fixes, including “geo-engineering” might succeed in changing the temperature of the planet, but the solutions being proposed don’t seem likely to actually solve anything.

What is the net effect of any kind of warming? Of one degree? Five degrees? Ten degrees? Each of these would have some effects. Some of the effects will be good, some bad, and some neutral. With any change, if you count up the negative effects and ignore the positive ones, you can show that it’s a negative change. We hear about how bad a given temperature increase will be, but have we fallen into the “if it bleeds, it leads” mentality? Perhaps the benefits of a temperature increase don’t make for sexy headlines, and so tend not to be reported? Or even looked for?

So Skeptical Science Is “Correcting” Me

I really wasn’t going to do much with this Skeptical Science post by Rob Honeycutt called “Correcting Warren Meyer on Forbes,” but several readers have asked me about it and its Friday and I am sort of bored in the office so here goes. I may skip parts of his critique. That does not necessarily mean I agree with it, but several sections of this article are just so trivial (let’s defend Al Gore!) that it is hard to work up any energy about it. As reference, my original article published back in 2012 is here.

Dammit Meyer, You Changed The Words to the Doxology!

The author begins his critique this way:

Mr. Meyer opens with a misleading attempt to frame the issue as a debate on “catastrophic man-man global warming theory.” This approach conflates two very distinct elements of the science on anthropogenic climate change. Nowhere in the published scientific literature can you find the phrase he uses. When I did a search on this term in Google Scholar, what did I find? Mr. Meyer’s Forbes article. Also searching “catastrophic man-made climate change” I get a smattering of non-research related materials coming from people who rejecting human influence on climate. Meyer has formed a completely irrelevant and fabricated framing of the issue for the basis of his discussion.

In Mr. Meyer’s article he claims this is the “core theory” and states that he will use the IPCC as the primary source for this, even though there is no place where the IPCC frames climate change in this manner.

Hey, thanks for making my point! I always start climate discussions by saying that supporters of climate action are frequently sloppy with the way they frame the debate. They use phrases like “climate denier” for folks like me which make no sense, since I don’t deny there is a climate. Clearly “climate denier” is a shortcut term for my denying some other more complex proposition, but what proposition exactly? Merely saying “global warming” as a proposition is sloppy because it could include both natural and manmade effects. Climate change is even sloppier (I would argue purposely so) because it obscures the fact that deleterious effects from anthropogenic CO2 must be via the intermediate stage of warming (i.e. there is no theory that CO2 causes hurricanes directly).

With this in mind, I begin nearly every discussion of climate change by doing what many proponents of climate action fail to do — I am very precise about the proposition I am going to discuss. It’s not just global warming, it’s man-made global warming. And since the climate alarmists are urging immediate action, it is not just man-made global warming but it is catastrophic man-made global warming, ie man-made global warming with negative effects so severe it requires urgent and extensive actions to circumvent. I think that is a very fair reading of what folks like James Hansen have in mind (if he does not think it will be catastrophic, why is he getting arrested in front of power plants?) The fact that Google searches do not yield these precise terms but rather yield millions of hits for meaningless phrases like “climate denier” just go to support one of the themes of my original piece, that the climate debate is made much muddier by the sloppy framing of the issues in the media.

However, while Mr. Honeycutt criticizes my framing as non-canon, he offers no specific critiques of how the phrase “catastrophic man-made global warming” might be wrong and offers no alternative framing. I really do try to pass Bryan Caplan’s ideological Turing test on this stuff, so I am interested — if advocates for climate action do not think “Catastrophic Man-Made Global Warming” is a fair statement of their theory, what would they use instead?

Eight False Pretenses Liberals Use To Frame An Argument

Source: Eight False Pretenses Liberals Use To Frame An Argument

Here are Eight False Premises of The Left. Learn to recognize and counter them, and the argument will flow your way every time (at least until you’re called Hitler, invoking Godwin’s Law). Which false premise of The Left drives you craziest?

1. Mass shootings are on the rise! If we could just get rid of all the guns, people wouldn’t be so violent!

This argument bears all the hallmarks of a False Premise of The Left. Take a crisis, blow it out of proportion, and demand emergency action. Voila! Rights revoked, and everybody feels better! This is the classic argument of the advocates of gun control. This argument presupposes that humans aren’t naturally predisposed toward violence to assert their dominance in a dispute.

In order to defeat this argument, one must know the freely available stats on the rates of violent crime. Every outlet you can find, left-leaning, right-leaning, government stats, whatever is out there — they all show a dramatic drop in violent crime since its peak in the early ’90s. This article from National Review gives a good overview. The upshot is that as funding for police increases, violent crime decreases. About those mass shootings? According to John Lott, France had more deaths from mass shootings in 2015 than the U.S. had in all eight years of the Obama administration. This is not a uniquely American problem, and the frequency of attacks is a mere 0.078 per million people. Statistically, the chance of dying in a mass shooting event is roughly equivalent to dying in a severe weather event. Is it awful? Of course. Should we do more? Absolutely. Should we trample the rights of law-abiding gun owners? What do you think?

2. Police target minorities more for arrest and harassment

The common refrain among Black Lives Matter protesters is that police all across the country are killing our young black men and white America doesn’t care. The movement has been enabled and encouraged, in large part, by white liberal guilt and limousine liberals who rarely care about more than appearing to be sympathetic while not actually socializing with those in lower income tax brackets.

The problem is that this underlying premise is not accurate. If you analyze the FBI data, as self-proclaimed “radical moderate” Clay Travis has done, you come to the clear conclusion that black men are less likely to be shot during arrests than other races. Since black men commit murder and violent crime at about twice the rate of other races, to say that police are unfairly targeting them for arrest is also inaccurate. So before you let a BLM activist browbeat you into submission, remember that the entire movement is based on a false premise of unfair police targeting.

3. The gender pay gap

Women make seventy-seven cents on the dollar compared to men! America is misogynist! The free markets are unfair! That’s why we need Equal Pay Day and action by the president and for the government to make those evil capitalists be more fair!

When one takes into account the different professions towards which women gravitate versus those preferred by men, along with time off taken for family reasons (thereby affecting overall experience levels), it becomes fairly obvious that women simply make different career choices than men, generally speaking — especially younger women 25-34, who make 90% of what men of the same age earn.

4. 97% of scientists believe that man-made global warming is real

The problem with this claim, endlessly spouted by the likes of Barack Obama, John Kerry, Bill Nye, and Al Gore, is that it is 100% bovine fertilizer. It is made up out of whole cloth. The statistic doesn’t exist. One guy named John Cook once published a paper analyzing the available research on climate and determined that 97% of the papers he analyzed said that “the Earth is warming up and human emissions of greenhouse gasses are the main cause.”

Right off the bat, it’s obvious that the premise never even says that the Earth’s warming is “dangerous,” despite the Tweet From On High By The Lightbringer™. Furthermore, if you examine the papers analyzed by the author of the study, there’s no way of knowing how exhaustive his research was, or if he left any papers out that disagreed with his premise. Alex Epstein gave a ton of detail about this in a column at Forbes.

Several of the scientists whose work was included in the 97% study protested that their work was mischaracterized as an endorsement when no such opinion was intended.

5. The rich are getting richer and the poor are getting poorer, proving capitalism is evil

Anyone saying this doesn’t actually understand economics. I’m serious.

Liberals have this consistent weakness of taking a snapshot in time and making it the ultimate definition that serves as their basis of arguments. They use this tactic in all sorts of dynamic, ever-changing systems, like economics, the environment, societal conditions, racial interactions, and many others. Of course, when those dynamic systems inevitably express dynamism and conditions change, the Left is great at moving the goal posts and redefining what injustice means. We solved many of the problems faced by African-Americans in the 20th century. Invent institutional racism and redefine what it means to be bigoted! Predictions around man-made global warming weren’t even close to accurate? Call it climate change! You can see the game they play a mile away.

The gap between rich and poor is a feature of capitalism, not a bug. Capitalism is the ultimate dynamic system — the polar opposite of a command economy. People are constantly making financial decisions, working to increase their pay, and moving up and down the economic spectrum. People in the bottom 20% of income in America live better than the wealthy in most countries across the globe, and within five years, most of those folks are no longer in the bottom 20%. That’s how the free market works.

6. Health care is a human right

The argument has been going on since the early 20th century: “If we can afford to go to war around the globe, we can afford to provide health care to all Americans. Health care is a human right. Nobody should be denied care.”

Admittedly, these are powerful arguments that are difficult to overcome. The emotions involved can sway us away from the logic of the situation. The mistake made by those advancing this argument is a fundamental misunderstanding of what the United States Constitution and the Declaration of Independence are all about. They clearly spell out, for the first time in human history, that human rights are innate. Rights are not, and cannot, be granted by the state. The foundation of America is a direct result of the state — in our case, England — taking away the right to assembly, the right to free speech, the right to practice our religion freely, and other usurpations.

Any American is free to pursue whatever health care strategy they choose. The problem comes when the federal government mandates that we buy a product, thus paying into a system so that others can be subsidized. This is not the state providing a right, this is mere theft. In any event, the free market works much better than any interference by government, just like with any other product bought freely on the market.

7. If we took the time to understand the demands of terrorists, we could stop them

Leftists often take a sympathetic approach to terrorists, believing that the evils of the West and the economic exploitation of free markets are what spur radicalization. Noted geopolitics expert Bill Nye has said as much: “It’s very reasonable that the recent trouble in Paris is a result of climate change.” Leftists will twist themselves into endless knots to blame Western culture for the terrorism they believe we’ve brought on ourselves. They blame unemployment, capitalist economic exploitation, globalization, and marginalization where a political solution is not available.

Just one problem: That’s all poppycock. There are plenty of examples of terrorists having been fully integrated into Western culture, some with affluent positions such as doctor or Army psychologist, only to re-radicalize later. There is no correlation, despite what the Left wants us to believe, that it has to do with anything but their own interpretation of Islam. To say otherwise is to try to apply political correctness to a situation that patently disproves any truth to the PC orthodoxy.

8. Planned Parenthood and PBS need public funding

Leftists often defend the funding of these programs with a mixture of straw man arguments and misdirections. When asked if the federal government should fund these programs, they’ll say they are vital to the American cultural experience, while cutting them would not balance the budget or fix our national debt. They often throw out the notion that if these federal programs were eliminated, people in rural areas would suffer without media options, without access to women’s health care, and without art.

Now, the idea that a small spending cut is not progress because it’s small, is, of course, absurd on its face. The federal government is way too big and involved in way too many aspects of our lives. We should seek out every opportunity to shrink the leviathan. On the other hand, Planned Parenthood’s budget has already been enhanced by several hundred million in private donations on the mere rumor of its federal funding being cut. If taxpayers — a large proportion of whom vehemently oppose the Planned Parenthood mission — are no longer on the hook for their funding, Planned Parenthood will survive just fine on fundraising drives.

In the case of PBS, far from killing Big Bird, we’ve already seen a free market solution to this supposed problem. Big Bird is on HBO now. So the idea that we’d be killing educational programming is ridiculous. There are dozens of cable channels dedicated to children’s educational programming. The free market, once again, rides to the rescue.

Climate of Complete Certainty – The New York Times

This is Bret Stephens’s first column.

When someone is honestly 55 percent right, that’s very good and there’s no use wrangling. And if someone is 60 percent right, it’s wonderful, it’s great luck, and let him thank God.

But what’s to be said about 75 percent right? Wise people say this is suspicious. Well, and what about 100 percent right? Whoever says he’s 100 percent right is a fanatic, a thug, and the worst kind of rascal.

— An old Jew of Galicia

In the final stretch of last year’s presidential race, Hillary Clinton and her team thought they were, if not 100 percent right, then very close.

Right on the merits. Confident in their methods. Sure of their chances. When Bill Clinton suggested to his wife’s advisers that, considering Brexit, they might be underestimating the strength of the populist tide, the campaign manager, Robby Mook, had a bulletproof answer: The data run counter to your anecdotes.

That detail comes from “Shattered,” Jonathan Allen and Amie Parnes’s compulsively readable account of Clinton’s 2016 train wreck. Mook belonged to a new breed of political technologists with little time for retail campaigning and limitless faith in the power of models and algorithms to minimize uncertainty and all but predict the future.

“Mook and his ‘Moneyball’ approach to politics rankled the old order of political operatives and consultants because it made some of their work obsolete,” Allen and Parnes write about the campaign’s final days. “The memo that one Hillary adviser had sent months earlier warning that they should add three or four points to Trump’s poll position was a distant memory.”

There’s a lesson here. We live in a world in which data convey authority. But authority has a way of descending to certitude, and certitude begets hubris. From Robert McNamara to Lehman Brothers to Stronger Together, cautionary tales abound.

We ought to know this by now, but we don’t. Instead, we respond to the inherent uncertainties of data by adding more data without revisiting our assumptions, creating an impression of certainty that can be lulling, misleading and often dangerous. Ask Clinton.

With me so far? Good. Let’s turn to climate change.

Last October, the Pew Research Center published a survey on the politics of climate change. Among its findings: Just 36 percent of Americans care “a great deal” about the subject. Despite 30 years of efforts by scientists, politicians and activists to raise the alarm, nearly two-thirds of Americans are either indifferent to or only somewhat bothered by the prospect of planetary calamity.

Why? The science is settled. The threat is clear. Isn’t this one instance, at least, where 100 percent of the truth resides on one side of the argument?

Well, not entirely. As Andrew Revkin wrote last year about his storied career as an environmental reporter at The Times, “I saw a widening gap between what scientists had been learning about global warming and what advocates were claiming as they pushed ever harder to pass climate legislation.” The science was generally scrupulous. The boosters who claimed its authority weren’t.

Anyone who has read the 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change knows that, while the modest (0.85 degrees Celsius, or about 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit) warming of the earth since 1880 is indisputable, as is the human influence on that warming, much else that passes as accepted fact is really a matter of probabilities. That’s especially true of the sophisticated but fallible models and simulations by which scientists attempt to peer into the climate future. To say this isn’t to deny science. It’s to acknowledge it honestly.

By now I can almost hear the heads exploding. They shouldn’t, because there’s another lesson here — this one for anyone who wants to advance the cause of good climate policy. As Revkin wisely noted, hyperbole about climate “not only didn’t fit the science at the time but could even be counterproductive if the hope was to engage a distracted public.”

Let me put it another way. Claiming total certainty about the science traduces the spirit of science and creates openings for doubt whenever a climate claim proves wrong. Demanding abrupt and expensive changes in public policy raises fair questions about ideological intentions. Censoriously asserting one’s moral superiority and treating skeptics as imbeciles and deplorables wins few converts.

None of this is to deny climate change or the possible severity of its consequences. But ordinary citizens also have a right to be skeptical of an overweening scientism. They know — as all environmentalists should — that history is littered with the human wreckage of scientific errors married to political power.

I’ve taken the epigraph for this column from the Polish poet Czeslaw Milosz, who knew something about the evils of certitude. Perhaps if there had been less certitude and more second-guessing in Clinton’s campaign, she’d be president. Perhaps if there were less certitude about our climate future, more Americans would be interested in having a reasoned conversation about it.

A ‘Red Team’ Exercise Would Strengthen Climate Science – WSJ

Source: A ‘Red Team’ Exercise Would Strengthen Climate Science – WSJ

The national-security community pioneered the “Red Team” methodology to test assumptions and analyses, identify risks, and reduce—or at least understand—uncertainties. The process is now considered a best practice in high-consequence situations such as intelligence assessments, spacecraft design and major industrial operations. It is very different and more rigorous than traditional peer review, which is usually confidential and always adjudicated, rather than public and moderated.

The public is largely unaware of the intense debates within climate science. At a recent national laboratory meeting, I observed more than 100 active government and university researchers challenge one another as they strove to separate human impacts from the climate’s natural variability. At issue were not nuances but fundamental aspects of our understanding, such as the apparent—and unexpected—slowing of global sea-level rise over the past two decades.

Summaries of scientific assessments meant to inform decision makers, such as the United Nations’ Summary for Policymakers, largely fail to capture this vibrant and developing science. Consensus statements necessarily conceal judgment calls and debates and so feed the “settled,” “hoax” and “don’t know” memes that plague the political dialogue around climate change. We scientists must better portray not only our certainties but also our uncertainties, and even things we may never know. Not doing so is an advisory malpractice that usurps society’s right to make choices fully informed by risk, economics and values. Moving from oracular consensus statements to an open adversarial process would shine much-needed light on the scientific debates.

Given the importance of climate projections to policy, it is remarkable that they have not been subject to a Red Team exercise. Here’s how it might work: The focus would be a published scientific report meant to inform policy such as the U.N.’s Summary for Policymakers or the U.S. Government’s National Climate Assessment. A Red Team of scientists would write a critique of that document and a Blue Team would rebut that critique. Further exchanges of documents would ensue to the point of diminishing returns. A commission would coordinate and moderate the process and then hold hearings to highlight points of agreement and disagreement, as well as steps that might resolve the latter. The process would unfold in full public view: the initial report, the exchanged documents and the hearings.

A Red/Blue exercise would have many benefits. It would produce a traceable public record that would allow the public and decision makers a better understanding of certainties and uncertainties. It would more firmly establish points of agreement and identify urgent research needs. Most important, it would put science front and center in policy discussions, while publicly demonstrating scientific reasoning and argument. The inherent tension of a professional adversarial process would enhance public interest, offering many opportunities to show laymen how science actually works. (In 2014 I conducted a workshop along these lines for the American Physical Society.)

Congress or the executive branch should convene a climate science Red/Blue exercise as a step toward resolving, or at least illuminating, differing perceptions of climate science. While the Red and Blue Teams should be knowledgeable and avowedly opinionated scientists, the commission should have a balanced membership of prominent individuals with technical credentials, led by co-chairmen who are forceful, knowledgeable and independent of the climate-science community. The Rogers Commission for the Challenger disaster in 1986, the Energy Department’s Huizenga/Ramsey Review of Cold Fusion in 1989, and the National Bioethics Advisory Commission of the late 1990s are models for the kind of fact-based rigor and transparency needed.

The outcome of a Red/Blue exercise for climate science is not preordained, which makes such a process all the more valuable. It could reveal the current consensus as weaker than claimed. Alternatively, the consensus could emerge strengthened if Red Team criticisms were countered effectively. But whatever the outcome, we scientists would have better fulfilled our responsibilities to society, and climate policy discussions would be better informed. For those reasons, all who march to advocate policy making based upon transparent apolitical science should support a climate science Red Team exercise.

Mr. Koonin, a theoretical physicist, is director of the Center for Urban Science and Progress at New York University. He served as undersecretary of energy for science during President Obama’s first term.

If climate change isn’t considered sufficiently high-consequence to justify the gold standard for high-consequence situations, maybe we should conclude it isn’t very high-consequence after all. (As Glenn Reynolds says, “I’ll believe it’s a crisis when they start acting like it’s a crisis.”)