Trump’s EPA Chief To Hold Climate Science Exercises Critics Say Will Elevate ‘Dangerous’ Dissent

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The Trump administration will embrace a “red team, blue team” approach to climate science championed by skeptics who want to see more push back against the so-called “consensus” on global warming.

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt is starting a “red team, blue team” exercise as part of an “at-length evaluation of U.S. climate science,” an unnamed senior administration official told E&E News.

“We are in fact very excited about this initiative,” the official said. “Climate science, like other fields of science, is constantly changing. A new, fresh and transparent evaluation is something everyone should support doing.”

The administration will appoint experts to serve on each team. Pruitt and Energy Secretary Rick Perry have come out in favor of red-blue team exercises to evaluate climate science.

Such exercises are used by the military and intelligence agencies to expose any vulnerabilities to systems or strategies. Skeptics say it would give needed balance to climate science, which has been taken over by activist gate keepers.

The idea has been derided by activists and scientists who say it’s “dangerous” to elevate dissenting voices who disagree with them on global warming.

“Such calls for special teams of investigators are not about honest scientific debate,” wrote climate scientist Ben Santer and Kerry Emanuel and historian and activist Naomi Oreskes.

“They are dangerous attempts to elevate the status of minority opinions, and to undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science,” the three wrote in a recent Washington Post op-ed.

Defenders of the “consensus” argue the existing peer-review process works well and a red-blue team dynamic is not needed. They further argue scientific bodies, like the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, provide a forum for scientific debates.

“Developing science, far from being ignored, is confronted directly and openly in such assessments,” Santer, Emanuel and Oreskes wrote.

The idea was brought for ward more recently by former Energy Department official Steven Koonin.

“It is very different and more rigorous than traditional peer review, which is usually confidential and always adjudicated, rather than public and moderated,” Koonin wrote in an April Wall Street Journal oped.

“We scientists must better portray not only our certainties but also our uncertainties, and even things we may never know,” Koonin wrote. “Not doing so is an advisory malpractice that usurps society’s right to make choices fully informed by risk, economics and values. Moving from oracular consensus statements to an open adversarial process would shine much-needed light on the scientific debates.”

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