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Should we discount Peter Wadhams' research?

Environmentalists are keen to write off anyone whose research has been anywhere near oil money or coal money (or probably a banker too). It's very silly. I remember one group of greens condemning Climate Audit's Steve McIntyre because he had once written a paper for a think tank that had once accepted a donation from Exxon.

It's that daft.

Anyway, from the same Nature article I covered in the last piece comes this:

We're entering a new epoch of sea-ice melt in the Arctic Ocean due to climate change," says Peter Wadhams, an oceanographer at the University of Cambridge, UK, who is conducting research in the Fram Strait off Greenland aboard the Greenpeace ship Arctic Sunrise.

Scientist cosy with environmentalists? I think we can safely ignore everything Peter Wadhams produces from now on.


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Reader Comments (9)

I can see the point of the greenies when they have doubts about findings from researchers and scientists on the payroll of Big Oil (or Big Coal or Big Whichever Demon They're Upset About At The Time). The Steve McIntyre example is going to a ridiculous extreme of course, but it's not unreasonable for them to point out that he who pays the piper often calls the tune. Equally, I don't think it's unreasonable for those of us on the sceptic side of things to point out the vested interests among AGW proponents. Companies who make wind turbines, solar arrays, tidal generators and nuclear power stations have a vested interest in pushing AGW since it damages their CO2 emitting competitors. The same applies to companies who supply in turn supply them, e.g. turbine components, uranium mining etc. Greenpeace, WWF and the rest gain from a lot of free publicity and extra donations that might well dry up if (when?) AGW is ever falsified beyond doubt. Then we've got the researchers and scientists who, even before they get on one of Greenpeace's ships, who have food to buy and bills to pay at the least and possibly nice comfy tenure of a professorship of chair that probably didn't exist fifteen years ago. Again, vested interests in keeping the AGW scare going - if they said it was all a load of balls the sources that fund many of those positions would have no reason to carry on and there'd be a lot of climate researchers on street corners with guitars and upside down hats. Then there are the governments who see AGW as an excuse to tax and regulate and control more. And the media who always love a good scare story to help sell papers and attract viewers - if it bleeds it leads, and oh my god our poor planet is bleeding. Collectively I think of them all as 'Big Eco'.

Ignoring the tenuously linked six degrees of separation crap, whatever that lot have to say about research funded by Big Oil/Coal/Carbon that doubts AGW applies just as much to research that they've funded or produced and which supports their agenda or vested interests. If we should not take the word of Big Oil then we shouldn't do so for Big Eco either.

Sep 21, 2009 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngry Exile

Hi Angry

You're right, of course. I've got some more interesting info on this subject in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

Sep 21, 2009 at 6:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill

St. Jeremy Clarkson said it all:

It started out as a lie and became an industry

Sep 22, 2009 at 5:22 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Hughes

There is an interesting article to be written about public choice theory and the global warming movement. The origins of the scare seem to be traceable back to the creation of a full-time climate bureaucracy.

Sep 22, 2009 at 6:59 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

I've got some more interesting info on this subject in the next couple of days. Stay tuned.

You weren't kidding.

Sep 30, 2009 at 7:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngry Exile

We should hold Peter Wadhams ACCOUNTABLE to his prediction. If he proves correct DOUBLE his funding - if INCORRECT take away ALL of his funding and give it to other scientists. It is time to hold sensationalized scientific media predictions to full accountablity - even lawsuits stemiing from any panic that resulted (as per the War of the Worlds media event).

Oct 15, 2009 at 10:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterDino

In medical research it is compulsory to declare the source of funding for research. Also any conflict of interest, actual or potential, must be declared too.

We hear so much discounting and denigration of research and individuals if deemed by a witch hunt process to be allied to non-green causes. It is obvious that the playing field needs leveling and all researchers should declare their funding streams. Then we can make of this information what we will when assessing the weight to give to papers comments letters etc.

Oct 17, 2009 at 8:11 AM | Unregistered Commentersupplebamboo

Important I think to consider the numbers

Grant funding typically ranges in the tens of thousands of pounds

The annual budget of the IPCC is around 4,300,000

And the combined annual revenue of big oil is 160,000,000,000

Oct 17, 2009 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered Commentersundog


Like I said, it's that daft.

Oct 17, 2009 at 2:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterBishop Hill

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