Following the Climategate non-scandal some Dutch politicians deemed it necessary for skeptics to have a more prominent say in matters, regardless of merit or reputation. Out of this evolved an initiative called Climate Dialogue.
As the editors of Climate Dialogue write in this guest blog post on Bart Verheggen's Ourchangingclimate blog:
ClimateDialogue.org offers a platform for discussions between invited climate scientists on important climate topics that have been subject to scientific and public debate. The goal of the platform is to explore the full range of views currently held by scientists by inviting experts with different views on the topic of discussion. We encourage the invited scientists to formulate their own personal scientific views; they are not asked to act as representatives for any particular group in the climate debate.
Obviously, there are many excellent blogs that facilitate discussions between climate experts, but as the climate debate is highly polarized and politicized, blog discussions between experts with opposing views are rare.
The first subject being discussed is Arctic sea ice. Participants are Drs. Walt Meier, Judith Curry and Ron Lindsay, who all wrote a short guest post to describe their views on the current situation in the Arctic. They are not saying anything staggering, and this probably has to do with Arctic sea ice being such a clear sign on the wall. The sign itself is of course pretty staggering once you think it through.
I tried to convey this in my comment on the three guest posts:
I agree that it would've been nice if Dr Peter Wadhams of the University of Cambridge had been invited to give his views. This initiative was announced in a Dutch news paper as a negotiation between alarmist scientists and skeptics. Dr Meier and Dr Lindsay are not in the least alarmist. Wadhams could be labeled as such, despite the fact that he has been largely right about the unfolding of events in the Arctic so far. An unfolding which, of course, is alarming.
It's good to see though that all expert participants agree on an anthropogenic factor of at least 50%. Given the magnitude of the event and the rate at which it is progressing, one then inevitably moves on from 'could there possibly be a problem ever?' to 'what can and should be done about this anthropogenic factor?'. It seems that after one day ClimateDialogue has been so successful in reaching agreement concerning the reality and risks of AGW (which is clearly reflected in the Arctic situation) that it has made the dialogue about all other scientific aspects of climate change irrelevant. Well done, chaps.
Now, of course, many will say: But is there a problem related to the disappearing of Arctic sea ice? I personally think there very well could be several problems and have co-written an article about it for the Arctic Sea Ice blog, called Why Arctic sea ice shouldn't leave anyone cold. Maybe Drs Curry, Lindsay and Meier could expand some more on potential consequences of disappearing Arctic sea ice? In my view saying "we don't know" isn't really comforting. Rather the opposite, with, again, the magnitude of the event and its rate of progress in mind. We absolutely need to know this, right? This is the crux of the matter.
So some more please on Arctic Amplification, Northern Hemisphere snow fall patterns (positive anomaly in winter, very negative anomaly in spring and summer) and the influence on atmospheric patterns. Permafrost and methane clathrates are less relevant at this point.
Of course, permafrost and methane clathrates are relevant, but 1) I'm more interested in the (immediate) influence on weather patterns, and 2) pulling permafrost and clathrates into the discussion makes it more muddled. And more muddled means more potential FUD.
But the main point is: if we all agree that the changes in the Arctic are caused by human activities (fully or partly is in my view pretty irrelevant), then automatically AGW - both GW and A - is 'proven' to exist. It is very difficult to maintain that this will not cause the climate to change in the Arctic and beyond. This means that the dialogue about climate (science) is no longer an issue on a societal level and we can move on to the policy dialogue, where everyone, left, right, anarchist, communist, fascist, libertarian, free market fundamentalist, hippie, can offer solutions to the problem. Business-as-usual, ie ignoring the problem or acting as if it isn't there, isn't a solution.
Does that make sense?
I wish the Climate Dialogue initiative good luck with the other subjects, even though I prefer to keep my focus on the Arctic. I hope they are successful in depolarizing the issue, getting some more people to get their head out of the sand, so we can all start to discuss durable solutions.