Anyone who speaks with leading climatologists today will discover how many questions remain open. The media, politicians and even scientists often talk about changes to the weather with a certainty that does not in fact exist. . .
[T]here are growing concerns in Berlin that German citizens could become less willing to pay for costly efforts to protect the climate. A poll conducted on behalf of SPIEGEL already signals a dramatic shift in public opinion and suggests that Germans are losing their fear of climate change. The strong majority of 58 percent who said they feared global warming about three years ago has declined to a minority of 42 percent.
German Environment Minister Norbert Röttgen, a member of the center-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is urging the IPCC to deal with its own errors more proactively. "The IPCC should openly admit its mistakes and correct them," he told SPIEGEL. "It is imperative that trust in the work of the IPCC be restored as quickly as possible."
There are also growing concerns at Germany's Ministry of Education and Research, which is spending €250 million ($338 million) to support climate science this year. Research Minister Annette Schavan has already summoned German IPCC scientists to attend a "meeting to clarify the situation and improve quality assurance." Officials at the ministry are horrified over how unprofessionally the IPCC is organized. "The IPCC's results must be above suspicion, because their impact can cost trillions and have serious political consequences," says Wilfried Kraus, a senior ministry official.
Reinhard Hüttl, head of the German Research Center for Geosciences in Potsdam near Berlin and the president of the German Academy of Science and Engineering, believes that basic values are now under threat. "Scientists should never be as wedded to their theories that they are no longer capable of refuting them in the light of new findings," he says. Scientific research, Hüttl adds, is all about results, not beliefs. Unfortunately, he says, there are more and more scientists who want to be politicians.
"If the revelations about the affair in England turn out to be true, it will be a catastrophe for climatology as a whole," says Hüttl. "We can only monitor ourselves, and if we fail in that endeavor, who can be expected to believe us anymore?"
Saturday, April 03, 2010
Continental Climate Drift
Even Germans are skeptics now, says Der Spiegel: