Global warming and careerism
ABC Four Corners ran an interesting show last night on the anti-science interest groups who dominate the formulation and official discussion of policy on global warming in Australia. Transcript here, along with discussion from Tim Lambert and Larvatus Prodeo.
What particularly interested me was the number of scientists who had been pushed out of CSIRO, or had left of their own volition, after being tightly censored in what they could say about global warming, and the emissions reductions that would be needed to stabilise the climate (the latter point is particularly sensitive since any actual number implies a target and government policy is opposed to targets).
In particular, I was struck by the fact that global warming contrarians commonly explain the overwhelming support of climate scientists for the consensus view on anthropogenic global warming in terms of careerism. The contrarians say that if the scientists deviated from the dominant consensus, they would lose their jobs or their grant funding.
THe Four Corners report made it clear that, in Australia (as also in the US) the exact opposite is the truth. Speaking out in support of science on global warming is a very bad career move, at least for anyone employed by the government. In climate science, where the big organisations have been CSIRO and the Met Bureau, that constraint applies to most people working in the field.