Dangerous Scientific Reticence | Jim Hansen

Sorry for another long note, but no time for a briefer note right now – will work on that later.

Several years ago I wrote a paper1 on scientific reticence, naively thinking that drawing attention to the phenomenon might ameliorate its incidence. Specific reference then was to likelihood of large sea level rise, which also is a central topic in our current paper2. However, here I address a broader issue of scientific reticence, because, I believe, the affliction is widespread and severe. Unless recognized, it may severely diminish our chances of averting dangerous climate change.

It may be clearest if I describe two of my experiences in the last few years, and then comment on why this topic is important. However, I want to emphasize that my experience with Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics was exceedingly good. First, I recommend their open procedure, i.e., publication of a discussion version of the paper in ACPD, and a final version in ACP, if the paper passes review, and publication of Comments by the scientific community, referee reports, and author responses, which is helpful for public understanding of the publication process. Second, we appreciate the exceptional help of all people at ACPD and ACP, and are especially grateful to the ACP editor for his generous work in support of publication of our paper and the paper’s title. Without his help the paper may still be unpublished.

…(read more).

Global Climate Change
Environment Ethics
Environment Justice

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