Easterbrook adrift: WWU geology dept issues statement on climate change

by Gareth on January 17, 2011

Word reaches me that the geology department at Western Washington University — home of emeritus professor and data fiddler Don Easterbrook — has adopted a position statement on climate change. The statement is supported by the entire geology department, and is clearly designed to distance WWU’s geologists from Easterbrook’s odd ideas and dodgy practices. Here’s what they say:

Decades of scientific research have shown that climate can change from both natural and anthropogenic causes. The Geology Faculty at WWU concur with rigorous, peer-reviewed assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2006), and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007) that global climate has warmed significantly and that human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) account for most of the warming since the middle 1900s. If current trends continue, the projected increase in global temperature by the end of the twenty-first century will result in large impacts on humans and other species. Addressing the challenges posed by climate change will require a combination of adaptation to the changes that are likely to occur and global reductions of carbon dioxide emissions from anthropogenic sources.

Congratulations to WWU’s geologists for taking this stand. I wonder if Easterbrook will now withdraw his claim that most of the last 10,000 years were warmer than today, apologise for stealing and altering a graph from Global Warming Art and apologise for calling me a liar? But then he is a denier, and that means never having to say you’re sorry…

{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Dappledwater January 17, 2011 at 11:41 am

Well done, Gareth & Scott. A start I suppose.

bill January 17, 2011 at 3:10 pm

Well done indeed! That’s an unequivocal statement, and a great win.

Tony January 17, 2011 at 7:31 pm

I see that the New Zealand Royal Society has already taken a fairly strong stance on climate change, and as such may have distanced itself from Chris de Freitas.

That said, one wonders why the New Zealand Herald decides to publicise the opinions of one wacko scientist and not the Royal Society. In other words let’s just give New Zealanders the news that they want to hear and call on the views of one scientist which just happens to be contrary to the views of the country’s top scientists.

Keith Hunter January 17, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I can confirm, on behalf of RSNZ (as the Vice-President for Physical Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, and Chair of the Academy) that we have never in my knowledge been asked by the NZ Herald to comment on any aspect of climate science (or indeed much else). We have been asked, however, by the Otago Daily Times, one of NZ’s few independent newspapers.

Steve Bloom January 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm

Maybe a letter offering input when needed, Keith?

Keith Hunter January 17, 2011 at 9:07 pm

In the end Steve it depends on the editorial policy of the NZ Herald. The RSNZ has never refused to make scientific comments. Indeed, why would we do so?

The reality, I suspect, what makes the best news? Naysayers make good news, as far as the NZ Herald is concerned.

We continue to do our best. Eventually it may be good enough. But we should nor give up.

RW January 17, 2011 at 9:18 pm

I wouldn’t trust the Herald or the DomPost. They show a distinct bias towards deniers, both in the letters section and in their selection of opinion pieces.

Macro January 17, 2011 at 10:16 pm

Dealing with the “Main Stream Media” MSM is a very fickle thing. They have their “go to” people, for a variety of “issues”.
Sometimes those “experts” are indeed expert in their field. It is a matter of luck it appears if the expert opinion is worth having or not.
This is not confined to NZ of course.
http://climateprogress.org/2011/01/03/media-coverage-fell-off-the-map-in-2010/
National organisations can issue press releases at any time and some – Family First etc do so almost on a daily basis. Whether the MSM pick up these press releases and the emphasis they give to them is a matter of editorial policy – and this may be where your impression of editorial bias comes in. A good idea of just what is going on in NZ can be gathered from Scoop.
http://www.scoop.co.nz/
Press releases for today in science tech include sea cucumbers (NIWA), NZ Bio Awards (NZ Bio), Kiwifruit (Indigo), and most topically “New findings on why Antarctic ice sheets melt” (VUW) Will you see these in tomorrows papers? Who knows…

Steve Bloom January 17, 2011 at 8:27 pm

Gareth,the statement is fine, but it was a little disappointing to find nothing in it very clearly aimed at Easterbrook. The I clicked on the link and to my delight found something more a little farther down the page:

“Peer Review

“The Geology Faculty at WWU believes that all science must be subjected to rigorous peer review and publication before it becomes worthy of serious discussion. We do not support publication of non-peer-reviewed scientific results in the general media. A brief guide to peer review is available at Sense About Science.” (emphasis added)

It doesn’t name names, but I think all concerned know who they’re talking about.

Gareth January 17, 2011 at 9:31 pm

The sting in the tail… ;-)

Doug Mackie January 18, 2011 at 8:47 am

Not quite as strong as the statement about Michael Behe and intelligent design at his Department’s home page but not a bad start.

I wonder if any NZ deprtments might consider doing the same?

I also wonder if the resident denialists are playing possum because they hope they can slink in later and we will have forgetten about hammering them on the very simple questions re EG Beck and Ken Ring they have been avoiding?

Mauri Pelto January 18, 2011 at 9:33 am

Now unfortunately Easterbrook is an oft heard name, but some of the fine faculty at WWU that I have worked with are less known. Would be nice if they got more attention than he, such as Doug Clark and Scott Babcock.

Rattus Norvegicus January 25, 2011 at 8:51 am

Easterbrook is still at it. He is unrepentant.

Gareth January 25, 2011 at 9:40 am

So I see. You may expect a post soon… ;-)

bill January 26, 2011 at 11:47 am

I look forward to that!

I note that there’s a poster called ‘izen’ over at WUWT who’s doing some patient, sterling work in trying to deal with some of the magnitude issues.

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