date: Mon, 04 Aug 2003 16:02:36 +0200
from: Stefan Rahmstorf <rahmstorfatXYZxyz-potsdam.de>
subject: Shaviv & Veizer in GSA Today
to: "Michael E. Mann" <mannatXYZxyzginia.edu>
the Soon&Baliunas paper has given political lobbyists a field day in
their attempts to confuse the public and decision-makers about the state
of global warming science. It is quite interesting how a lobby
organisation like the Marshall Institute manages to get a paper like
that into the peer-reviewed literature with the help of a sympathetic
editor, against reviewer concerns, and then capitalise on that right
away in Senate hearings and the media. There clearly is a wider and
well-funded strategy behind such activities, which has something to do
with why the US has backed out of the Kyoto protocol. These same US
organisations are also active here in Europe trying to influence policy,
albeit so far with less success.
In the face of such sophisticated lobbying we scientists should not be
too naive. Although simply doing good science remains our main job, I
think at some points we need to intervene in the public debate and try
to clarify what is science and what is just political lobbying. In
particular, I feel that it is important to not let bad, politically
motivated science stand unchallenged in the peer-reviewed literature -
it is too easy to just shrug and ignore an obviously bad paper. Hence I
greatly appreciate that Mike and his co-authors responded in Eos to the
errors in the Soon&Baliunas paper.
I feel another recent paper may require a similar scientific response,
the one by Shaviv&Veizer (attached). It derives a supposed upper limit
for the CO2-effect on climate (i.e., 0.5 C warming for CO2 doubling),
based on paleoclimatic data on the multi-million-year time scale. This
paper got big media coverage here in Germany and I guess it is set to
become a climate skeptics classic: the spin is that GCMs show a large
CO2 sensitivity, but climate history proves it is really very small.
Talking to various colleagues, everyone seems to agree that most of this
paper is wrong, starting from the data themselves down to the
methodology of extracting the CO2 effect.
I think it would be a good idea to get a group of people together to
respond to this paper (in GSA today). My expertise is good for part of
this and I'd be willing to contribute. My questions to you are:
1. Does anyone know of any other plans to respond to this paper?
2. Would anyone like to be part of writing a response?
3. Do you know people who may have the right expertise? Then please
forward them this mail.
Best regards, Stefan
Prof. Stefan Rahmstorf
Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK)
For contact details, reprints, movies & general infos see:
Attachment Converted: "c:\eudora\attach\shaviv-veizer-03.pdf"