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Time to Get Serious

By:
Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Jun 11, 2019  at  at 6:00 AM
Category
Climate Change

Numerous efforts to validate the results of climate studies have been hampered by refusal of climate researchers to permit open access to study data, statistical data analysis methods, computer code and other study information. This refusal by climate researchers has spawned numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, resulting in significant delays and occasional lawsuits when FOIA requests were denied.

The efforts of the Committee on Climate Security (CCS) to evaluate the potential impacts of climate change on national and environmental security could be seriously hindered by refusal of climate scientists to provide CCS with access to study information. Therefore, the Administration should establish ground rules regarding cooperation with the CCS; and, new ground rules for funding of future climate science research.

Most US climate science is funded by Executive Branch agencies and much of the research is conducted by these agencies. The CCS is an Executive Branch effort and is entitled to full cooperation in its investigations from other elements of the Executive Branch. The Administration should clearly establish this requirement for cooperation and the consequences of failure to cooperate.

Any agency administrator who refuses to cooperate with the efforts of the CCS should be summarily relieved of duty. Any agency researcher who refuses to cooperate with the CCS should be suspended without pay until such cooperation is forthcoming. Any researcher working on an agency funded program who refuses to cooperate with CCS regarding either current or past programs should have current program funding suspended until such cooperation is forthcoming.

Researchers involved in past studies performed for Federal agencies or conducted with Federal funds who refuse to cooperate with CCS reviews of their studies should be prohibited from participating in or benefiting from future federally funded research programs.

Future Federal Requests for Proposals (RFPs) for climate research should require proposers to agree to provide open access to all aspects of the proposed program, both during the research effort and upon its completion. Any non-compliant proposal should be summarily rejected. Any researcher or research institution which fails to meet this open access requirement upon completion of the research program should be sued for recovery of the Federal funds expended on the program.

No research results not supported by open access to the full program information should be used as justification for any new or expanded regulation. The only exception to this stipulation would be the personal information of study participants in the case of human health studies related to climate.

The Administration can expect significant resistance to the CCS and its efforts, based on the history of resistance to open access in the climate science community. However, the crisis of irreproducibility in climate science research, including the demonstrated inability of federal agencies, including NASA, NOAA and NCEI to reproduce the results of their own research, demands open access and critical review of study results and conclusions.

The severity of the projected future climate catastrophe and the magnitude of the social and economic upheaval proposed to avoid that catastrophe require a far more rigorous approach to climate research than is the case today. That more rigorous approach is long overdue.