THE VINE NOVEMBER 10, 2009
On our homepage today, Marilyn Berlin Snell has a terrific interview with climatologist Stephen Schneider, the scientist who, as a grad student moonlighting at NASA in 1971, predicted that the effects of aerosol pollution could outweigh the warming effects of CO2 and bring about a bout of global cooling. As it turned out, he'd made a small calculation error and his prediction was shown to be mistaken, but that paper's been making cameos in George Will columns ever since, as Exhibit A for why we should never, ever trust scientists.
In any case, Schneider's gone on to become one of the world's leading climate experts, playing a key role in the IPCC process, and the interview nicely covers a lot of ground: what we know about how the climate works, how models are developed, the difficulties of taking objective scientific data and making subjective risk assessments, whether scientists can also be activists, and why environmentalists are mistaken about Copenhagen. Definitely worth a read.