The other day, I asked Phil Jones and other climate scientists to rebuke some of their foaming-at-the-mouth colleagues for their inappropriate use of language. While I’m still awaiting a response—it should come soon, surely—I cannot neglect Mr Jones’s return challenge.
He doesn’t like that people are picking on him about the data he lost, nor does he enjoy upstarts critiquing his conclusions. Rather than squabbling and nyah-nyah-nyahing, Jones asked of critics, “Why don’t they do their own [temperature] reconstructions?”
Here is an open letter to Mr Jones.
The chance to sort out the global temperature record and accurately note its uncertainty is too important to ignore.
Here is what I shall require. Keep in mind that these requests are put forth in the name of fairness and good science. Surely you would agree that just as much effort should be taken to investigate alternate theories of climate as have been taken to prove the man-made harmful global warming theory.
- Money, and lots of it. Way I figure it, you’ve been at this for twenty or so years, with a sizable staff at the institute level. I need to duplicate that structure over a relatively short period. Conferences aren’t cheap, either. It’s going to cost, and I don’t have enough personal funds to cover the tab.
- Office space. I’m an independent running out of small Manhattan apartment now, and the space is inadequate to house a staff. However, given the ridiculous real estate prices in this city, I’d be willing to move anywhere in the States to set up my crew (even Ohio). If you like, I’d shift to England (I already know most of the language).
- Grant pipeline. Because my views are not popular, I have no “ins” with any grant-awarding agencies. If work is going to continue, I’m going to need a steady stream of income. Just like you’ve had. I need a guarantee that work will be allowed to continue for, say, five years. If I can’t produce by then, fire me.
- Sympathetic journal editors. Just one or two should do. I don’t expect them to publish drivel or papers that are obviously awful or wrong. But given the “climategate” revelations, you’ll acknowledge that the system is stacked. Plus, we all know that peer review—in many fields—is broken. Editors and reviewers insist that all papers that come their way must exactly fit their preconceptions. Speculative and non-confirmatory papers don’t float.
Although I blush when I say it, I can do this job. I have a proper understanding of uncertainty, and know the limitations of data. I’m efficient, too. Take the money you’ve spent and divide by four, and I’ll make do with that. Lastly, I have never lost any data (I’d have gone broke by now if I had).
If you’re truly serious about your challenge, and you don’t like me, there are plenty of other people out there willing and ready to take it up. Just say the word and we’re there.
This question is bound to arise: Why haven’t I, and the others, done more already? I can’t speak for everybody, of course, but I can tell you about me. Although I have an excellent record, I have no position, no connections, no home institute. Therefore, receiving grants is out. I have to pay for all my research out of my own pocket and conduct it all on my own time.
In fact, I’m still in the hole from the last time I did some work: the AMS is still after me for page charges for my last J. Climate article (where I argued hurricanes/typhoons have not increased in strength or number). I couldn’t afford to attend the last two annual meetings, either (the registration cost alone is over $400 per meeting!). My laptop works for my daily needs, but it’s not up to the task of storing a world-wide temperature and proxy database.
I’m not whining, understand. But I am showing you that it isn’t easy being an independent critic. We’re cash-strapped, itinerant Davids matched against a wealthy, full-time Goliath.
Also know that I am not unhappy in my situation. Honestly, I don’t want your job; a large portion of it must be mind-numbingly tedious. But since the task is so important to such a large chunk of humanity, and because of your recent difficulties, I would accept it out of a sense of duty.
All the best,