Red Team/Blue Team Climate Challenge: ‘Let the Games Begin’

Global warming activists, what are you afraid of?

You have no majority public support for your assertion that man-made carbon dioxide emissions are solely responsible for a warming planet. You cling to a fake life raft of a “97% scientific consensus,” although many of those scientists have no expertise in climate science. You’re on the mat and about to get pinned by public opinion, but you refuse a new match with your critics that could vindicate your views.

Several skeptical climate scientists – individuals with as much scientific credibility and experience as any of your alleged stars – have called for a Red Team/Blue Team steel-cage death-match on your climate science claims. Why are you backing away from a fair intellectual fight?

One of the earliest advocates for this intentionally-confrontational approach to climate science came on March 20, the day before the self-indulgent “March on Science.” Writing in the Wall Street Journal, Steven Koonin, a physicist and former Energy Department chief scientist in the Obama administration, called for “a ‘Red/Team/Blue Team’ process for climate science, one of the most important and contentious issues of our age.”

The response of the climate activists to criticism is scorn and obloquy. Energy Secretary Rick Perry (admittedly not a rocket scientist but reasonably intelligent) recently testified in Congress that he doesn’t buy the idea that a warming climate is 100% caused by human activities. That’s one of the central questions bugging climate science. Perry got trashed by the climate trolls. Kevin Trenberth at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., said Perry’s response was “a stupid and ignorant answer.” It wasn’t. It is one of the central uncertainties in climate science. Trenberth’s ire disclosed his anxiety about the solidity of his science.

Climate alarmists always cite that their research is peer reviewed. Peer review is important in science, but the problem with the small cohort of climate scientists is that peer review is often a review by a circle of friends. You back my work, and I’ll back yours.  Also, the reviews and reviewers are “usually confidential and always adjudicated, rather than public and moderated,” according to Koonin.

Environmental Protect Agency chief Scott Pruitt, reviled by the left for his skepticism and unwinding of the Obama administration’s problematic “Clean Power Plan,” has called for a Red Team/Blue Team approach. So have non-partisan climate scientists such as Judith Curry, John Christy, and Roger Pielke Sr. (father of Roger Pielke Jr., another scientist on the questioning side of the conventional climate science).

How would a Red Team/Blue Team exercise work? Koonin said, “The focus would be a published report meant to inform policy such as the U.N.’s Summary for Policymakers or the U.S. Government’s National Climate Assessment.” The role of the Red Team would be to tear apart the document as aggressively as scientifically justified. The Blue Team’s role would be to defend document against the Red Team’s assault. The teams would then take on the reports and, according to Koonin, “A commission would coordinate and moderate the process and then hold hearings to highlight points of agreement and disagreement, as well as steps the might resolve the latter.”

Climate catastrophists Ben Santer, Kerry Emanuel, and Naomi Oreskes (a historian), pushed back in a June Washington Post op-ed.  They wrote, “Such calls for special teams of investigators are not about honest scientific debate. They are dangerous attempts to elevate the status of minority opinions, and to undercut the legitimacy, objectivity and transparency of existing climate science.”

I’m not buying that line. The questions the skeptics have raised are significant, despite the attempt of the climate activists to brush them off. I agree with the comment by Judith Curry, “Why wouldn’t the consensus enforcers be delighted to have an opportunity to have to convince the Trump administration of their superior arguments, relative to the ‘troglodyte’ red team?”

And I agree with Curry’s advice, “Let the games begin.”