masthead-highres

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Hockey Stick Hearings -- This Time, It's Personal

The House of Representatives Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations will hold its second hearing in two weeks on the so-called "hockey stick" temperature studies at 2 PM Eastern today. A live feed is promised.

The hearing has attracted considerable interest among those who follow global warming, as the hearing will feature Dr. Michael Mann, father of the hockey stick, facing off against Steve McIntyre, breaker of said stick, and Dr. Edward Wegman, the eminent statistician who demonstrated significant statistical weaknesses in the hockey stick study in last week's hearing (archived webcast available here).

According to Congressmen at last week's hearing, Dr. Mann had been invited to participate last week, but declined, reportedly because he was on "vacation." More than a few observers supposed Dr. Mann preferred not to appear at a hearing with Steve McIntyre and/or Dr. Wegman (who is said to be an Al Gore voter, ironically), but that rumor, while plausible, is unconfirmed.

Other scheduled witnesses (according to a ClimateAudit report here) are to include president of the National Academy of Sciences/atmospheric scientist Ralph J. Cicerone and a biological scientist, Jay Gulledge, from the Pew Center on Global Climate Change (which calls global warming "the most pressing global environmental problem"). Dr. Gulledge will not, presumably, be sitting in the skeptics' chair.

Dr. James Hansen is not on the witness list. Could that be because Dr. Dr. John Christy is?

Scientists will tell you there's no "facing off" in science, but don't believe a word of it. These guys just use bigger words than most of us when they argue. (In my experience, the best two places to find a truly artful insult is in 1) the pages of a Jane Austen novel, or 2) an argument on a scientists' blog.)

The main protaganists in this debate have blogs. RealClimate is Michael Mann's; ClimateAudit is Steve McIntyre's. Don't skip the comments sections. Dr. Roger Pielke, Jr.'s Prometheus blog will offer a more neutral view.

The mainstream press has been ignoring the demise of the hockey stick, preferring to cover stories like the predicted impact of global warming on poison ivy (darn critical, to be sure), but this is an important conversation. Not only was the hockey stick theory held up as substantial evidence of the global warming theory among pro-Kyoto cataclysmic-warming-is-upon-us lobbyists, but it has been promoted by quite a few oft-quoted scientists in non-peer reviewed (whatever peer review really means) articles as well. Furthermore, there are a few issues -- hence the hearing being held by the Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations -- of interest to taxpayers who don't give a fig about global warming that may come up today as well.

Posted by Amy Ridenour at 11:13 AM

Copyright The National Center for Public Policy Research