In Nature this week, Quirin Schiermeier has written the most lucid, evenhanded article I’ve read yet on the vexing issue of extreme weather/climate change attribution. He also reports on some notable developments. For example, Quirin writes that
in the past year, climate researchers in the United States and Britain have formed a loose coalition under the banner ‘ACE’ “” Attribution of Climate-related Events “” and have begun a series of coordinated studies designed to lay the foundations for a systematic weather-attribution programme. Ultimately, the group hopes to create an international system that could assess the changing climate’s influence on weather events almost as soon as they happen or even before they hit, with results being announced on the nightly weather reports.
There’s a related and (equally excellent) editorial in the same issue, which asserts that climate scientists
have an obligation to provide more coherent answers to queries (or doubts) as to how global warming influences our weather. An attribution system with ample resources, running in near real time, could prevent scientists’ answers to those questions seeming either too cautious or too alarmist and speculative. It could also prevent the public from getting the (false) impression that climate research is confined to the virtual world of climate models and has little to offer when it comes to current reality, or that climate science is a quasi-experimental field that yields scary but mostly unverifiable results.
Europe’s latest bout of GMO phobia is captured in this Guardian headline:
EU bans GM-contaminated honey from general sale
In case you didn’t catch the tilt of the article, here’s the subhead:
Bavarian beekeepers forced to declare their honey as genetically modified because of contamination from nearby Monsanto crops
The thrust of this mind boggling story:
The European Union’s highest court on Tuesday ruled that honey which contains trace amounts of pollen from genetically modified (GM) corn must be labelled as GM produce and undergo full safety authorisation before it can be sold as food.
In what green groups are calling a “groundbreaking” ruling, the decision could force the EU to strengthen its already near-zero tolerance policy on genetically modified organisms (GMOs).
The Guardian story’s bias is quite obvious, as it is frontloaded with cheerleading greens and anti-GMO voices. The scientists get their say after that. Just for kicks, I waded into the comment thread (which is quite a smackdown between the pro and anti camps) and plucked out a few notables.
Here’s a wry, nicely understated observation:
Greenpeace is becoming more annoying than some religions; worrying indeed.
From someone who sounds exasperated:
Madness. This madness has to stop. There isn’t even the slightest hint of any chance of any potential harm to human health here yet the nutters want to ban science and modernity for their silly obsessions.
This is going beyond a mere ideological obsession and becoming religious in its rejection of fact, reason and science.
As if on cue:
good, they should ban GMOs
sick to death of them sneaking in dodgy ingredients into food. In the long run GMO will kill wildlife, degrade soil, impact human health. Goodness knows where it will end.
The egg heads will say, this is not proven by science, trust us.
This one gets points for its audacious idiocy:
There have been hundreds of studies done by professional laboratories around the world and every one shows GMs to be dangerous. The only exception is the rigged studies and results from Monsanto who are not just allowed but helped by the US government to sell extremely dangerous products.
There is no evidence at all of any benefits from GMOs other than Monsanto’s propaganda. Their intent is to control the world’s food supply. Gullible people are helping them along with politicians and scientists paid by Monsanto.
And finally, my favorite, a plea from an apparent environmentalist:
This thread is even better than the anti-nuclear / pro-coal ravings of the neo-green climate change deniers.
I don’t think I’ve ever read more baseless anti-science, fundamentalist, conspiracy theory paranoia in CIF. Some of you greens are nothing less than a psychotic lynch-mob.
Environmentalism is a SCIENCE. The ‘Green” movement has turned into some kind of twisted religion and will destroy the credibility of the Environmental Movement if this new-age, voodoo-brain crap doesn’t stop.
Stay off my side.