The Obama administration has been pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into science that’s “heavily biased in favor of the paradigm of human-induced climate change,” according to a researchers.
Policy experts wanted to know if the lure of federal dollars was biasing climate science research.What they found is the group responsible for a significant portion of government climate science funding seems more concerned with promoting the “anthropogenic global warming” (AGW) paradigm, than studying natural variability in weather patterns.
“In short there appears to be virtually no discussion of the natural variability attribution idea. In contrast there appears to be extensive coverage of AGW issues,” David Wojick, a freelance reporter and policy analyst, wrote in a blog post, referring to research he did with climate scientist Patrick Michaels of the libertarian Cato Institute.
“This bias in favor of AGW has significant implications for US climate change policy,” Wojick wrote for the blog Climate Etc., which is run by climate scientist Judith Curry.
Wojick and Michaels published a working paper in 2015, asking the question: Does federal funding bias climate science?
They conducted a “semantic” analysis of three years of budget requests for the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP), which usually gets around $2.5 billion. They found USGCRP overwhelmingly used language supporting the AGW paradigm.
“The ratio of occurrences is roughly 80 to one,” Wojick wrote. “This extreme lack of balance between considerations of the two competing paradigms certainly suggests that paradigm protection is occurring.”
Politicians have become more concerned with global warming in recent years, and have been willing to shell out more money for potential solutions to the problem. The Obama administration, for example, reported spending $22.2 billion on global warming efforts in 2013, including $2.5 billion to the USGCRP.
That’s a lot of money, and illustrates why Wojick and Michaels are so concerned about federal money’s influence on science.
“Present policy is based on the AGW paradigm, but if a significant fraction of global warming is natural then this policy may be wrong,” Wojick wrote. “Federal climate research should be trying to solve the attribution problem, not protecting the AGW paradigm.”
Wojick and Michaels have already weighed in on the bias in climate science towards using models, which they say “is a bad thing.”
“Climate science appears to be obsessively focused on modeling,” they wrote in May. “Modeling can be a useful tool, a way of playing with hypotheses to explore their implications or test them against observations. That is how modeling is used in most sciences.”
“But in climate change science modeling appears to have become an end in itself. In fact it seems to have become virtually the sole point of the research,” they wrote. “The modelers’ oft stated goal is to do climate forecasting, along the lines of weather forecasting, at local and regional scales.”
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