Climate data (yes, again)

I don’t usually rant too much on my blog – it’s not my style, but the news yesterday about a legal challenge to NIWA’s temperature data is just too provoking. Yes, I know it has been well-blogged about already by other Scibloggers, but for good reason. There deserves to be some sensible scientific comment made. So here’s mine, as a scientist (a physicist), not as a climate specialist. How on earth is taking an organisation to court over its scientific data going to achieve anything positive (other than making sure lawyers don’t get made redundant)?  Scientific work is normally scrutinised through peer review – where other scientists look at it and comment. Peer review has its problems, for sure, but it is the best system we have. How can a judge possibly be in a better position than the entire scientific community to say whether a collection of scientific data is valid or not? It is utterly crazy and any judge who knows anything about science (I mean science as a whole, not just climate change) should throw this case out as being beyond what the law is there to cover. There are better things for my taxes to be spent on; moreover, there are hard political decisions to make over climate change and the governments of every country should be given encouragement to make them appropriately in the face of science, not in the face of legal red tape.

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