A former White House science advisor speaks out about “settled science”

This is an excellent summary of the state of climate science, well written by Steven Koonin, former advisor to Obama.

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Climate Science Is Not Settled

We are very far from the knowledge needed to make good climate policy, writes leading scientist Steven E. Koonin

The idea that “Climate science is settled” runs through today’s popular and policy discussions. Unfortunately, that claim is misguided. It has not only distorted our public and policy debates on issues related to energy, greenhouse-gas emissions and the environment. But it also has inhibited the scientific and policy discussions that we need to have about our climate future.

My training as a computational physicist—together with a 40-year career of scientific research, advising and management in academia, government and the private sector—has afforded me an extended, up-close perspective on climate science. Detailed technical discussions during the past year with leading climate scientists have given me an even better sense of what we know, and don’t know, about…

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About Bob Tisdale

Research interest: the long-term aftereffects of El Niño and La Nina events on global sea surface temperature and ocean heat content. Author of the ebook Who Turned on the Heat? and regular contributor at WattsUpWithThat.
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3 Responses to A former White House science advisor speaks out about “settled science”

  1. Malcolm Roberts says:

    Nice work, Bob.


  2. Thanks, Bob. And thanks, Dr. Koonin, for writing this WSJ article.
    Even though I disagree with many points you make, I agree with your main point that “Climate Science Is Not Settled”. Nor should it be; we know too little.

  3. Frank says:

    FWIW: Koonin may never have advised Obama himself – he was the chief scientist (deputy secretary) for Steve Chu’s DOE. He was a professor of theoretical and computational physics at Caltech for 3 decades. He was provost for the last decade, a job that is usually to respected scientists with good judgment and character. At the height of the “peak oil” scare in the early 2000’s, he left to become chief scientist at British Petroleum and directed their investments in alternative energy, trying to make “beyond petroleum” more than a slogan. Then he was asked to do the same job for the US government under Steven Chu. (After the Solyndra scandal, he was interviewed by 60 Minutes; you can find some remarks about this experience on the web.)

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