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How to Crash the Earth

On December 28th, 1978, a DC8 flying into Portland Oregon from New York City (United Airlines flight 173) was on final approach, when a cockpit light indicated that there was a nose-gear problem. The crew needed time to investigate, so the captain put the plane into an emergency holding pattern. As he did so, the flight engineer warned that the fuel state was critical, saying, “Fifteen minutes is gonna run us really low here”. But he never raised his concerns again, not even after more than fifteen minutes had passed. If he was at all worried that the captain did not appear to heed his warning, this certainly isn’t manifest in the voice recorder transcript. Tragically, the plane did run out of fuel and crashed seven miles short of the airport perimeter, killing the flight engineer and nine other souls on board. I’m sure you’ll agree that was a high price indeed to pay for reticence.

This and similar incidents led the aviation industry to look into what is known as ‘cockpit culture’, in which the pilot behaves autocratically and shows insufficient regard for the input provided by supporting crew members—these crew members, in their turn, appearing to be intimidated by the captain’s authority. As a result of these investigations, aircrew training was radically revised and the industry introduced something it called ‘Crew Resource Management’ (CRM).

CRM is designed to improve teamwork, which it does so primarily by improving communication between crew members, in particular by teaching junior crew members how to question the pilot’s actions (or inaction) without the pilot feeling that his or her authority is being compromised. For example, one may need to question a pilot that starts flipping switches that shouldn’t be flipping switched. The effect of CRM is to maximise use of crew resources and, most importantly, promote situational awareness in the cockpit.

If accident statistics are anything to go by, the introduction of CRM would appear to have been somewhat successful, so much so that versions of it can now be found in other sectors; for example, in the offshore oil industry, the fire service, and the medical profession. And then there is the maritime profession, which has its own version, referred to as ‘Bridge Resource Management’ (although it seems the captain of the Concordia may have mislaid his BRM manual).

Such widespread adoption amongst the various sectors is understandable. So the question isn’t why has CRM become so widespread—the question is why isn’t it now universal. For example, surely there are plenty of political and social scenarios which could benefit from the promotion of situational awareness. And if CRM can teach us anything about how this may be achieved, then we should be taking note.

So what is this magic formula that has transformed accident statistics across so many industries? Transport Canada’s CRM training manual sums it up very nicely in its introduction, when it says:

“The key to the success of a CRM program is the mutual respect and confidence that is created among crew members, which fosters an environment that is conducive to openness, candour and constructive critique.”

Well this definitely resonates with me. I don’t remember flying any aeroplanes during my career, but I do remember having many a dog-fight with senior management, in which I could have made an important contribution to the company’s situational awareness, had it not been for the lack of professional respect I encountered—especially in my capacity as quality manager.

Such disrespect could take a rather extreme form. In fact, sometimes it felt like a form of recreational persecution; not really a witch hunt, more like a fox hunt, in which gratuitous, quality manager baiting became a right of passage into senior management. When daddy gorilla is having his sport, there is no room for situational awareness. But you see, that is the defining characteristic of authority—it survives only because it is successful in discrediting alternative views. It is rarely founded upon mutual respect, and it hardly ever fosters an environment that is conducive to openness, candour and constructive critique.

It hardly needs me to point out how this dynamic plays out in the world of climate science. Within the profession, judicious grant approvals and pal review have done a mighty fine job of ensuring that those views that concur with the approved orthodoxy prevail. And woe betide anyone who lies outside that club of peer-reviewed scientists, if they were to dare to suggest that they have anything to offer to improve situational awareness. Furthermore, the testimony from former members of the IPCC, having resigned in protest over editorial abuse during the production of the Assessment Reports, hardly inspires confidence. If I could use any phrase to sum up the customary attitudes, I think it would be ‘cockpit culture’.1

We can’t know exactly what was going on in the minds of those who were on the flight-deck of flight 173. But if the black box transcript is anything to go by, long before the plane hit the ground, the science had been settled and there was no longer any meaningful debate to be had. A more vociferous flight engineer might have saved the day but it is highly likely that the individual concerned had long before learnt the professional value of silence; and this proved a very difficult lesson to unlearn, even when his life depended on it.

The message you take away from this anecdote will depend very much upon the position you take in the climate science debate. Does the flight engineer represent the climate scientists warning that planet Earth will crash if no-one listens to them? Or was the pilot representative of the authorities who fail to see the folly of trying to keep the global economy in the air without the aid of fossil fuel? Either way, the real lesson is this:

The key to success in tackling the climate change issue will be the mutual respect and confidence that is created in a society that fosters an environment conducive to openness, candour and constructive critique. Anything short of that will crash the plane.

Footnote:

1. Read here for a timely example of the disquiet that cockpit culture is still causing on the climate science flight-deck.

48 thoughts on “How to Crash the Earth

  1. John. I have had much less experience of how decisions are made in industry than you and most of it in a really autocratic system. In the 1980s I worked as a technical expert to both exploration and development (production) divisions of two oil companies. All decisions would be made by the exploration or development managers alone. However such decisions would only be taken after the managers had listened to the presentations and heard the views of the different department heads. As an expert I sat, at different times on either side of the table, on the managerial side offering my opinions to management or on the other side aiding and assisting geologists, less commonly geophysicists, and never landmen or engineers, make their pitch to get the prospects they had worked upon funded. This system worked the majority of the time. Admittedly not life and death, but some decisions were significant to the company’s well-being and future. Managers who did not have a fair record of successes soon felt the displeasure of head office and some disappeared overnight.
    It seems to me that, although you make a good case, there are situations where decisive action needs to be made by individuals (who carry the can). In contrast, I have sat on many university committees where no one takes charge and, in my view, poor decisions were made.

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  2. Analogies always break down at some point, even though they might offer illumination. In fact, understanding where an analogy breaks down can afford additional understanding of an issue. The crew on a flight deck are all there because of proven competency in their own field, and an understanding of the other, very much interrelated, fields. A pilot should at at least be able to read a fuel gauge, if not calculate as accurately as the flight engineer how many minutes of fuel are left. The flight engineer, if not a qualified pilot should know their way round a flight deck. The crew have learnt from others, and collectively flight professionals learn from past errors.
    In climate, there are a vast range of skill sets across unrelated fields. There are no proven competencies, in the field of climatology. Broaden the field to include politics, philosophy of science and economics and the climatologists generally have rather narrow and fringe views in terms of the accumulated wisdom in those subjects. This narrowness of perspective and understanding shows in a number of different ways.
    First, is a lack of appreciation that people can have different perspectives that are potentially more valid than there own. If someone said they had not be enriched from going abroad and engaging in other cultures they would rightly be called a xenophobe. But for the climate community to protect their beliefs by calling non-believers science deniers, conspiracy theorists or paid-up shrills is fine.
    Second, is looking inwards to collective opinion (consensus) to support theory, rather than outwards to data from the natural world. Too often the basis for evaluating data is on the basis of how it fits the theory, and not on putting the data in perspective, and modifying or refining theory in the light of new data.
    Third is on policy. Just because climate alarmists believe that “we” ought to reduce “our” emissions, and there are vague intentions towards that objective, they believe it possible enact policies to reduce global emissions to near zero in a generation. They forget that they must persuade 190+ governments to over-ride many other competing objectives.

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  3. Alan, Manicbeancounter,

    Yes, it is quite right to point out that my article provides an analogy, rather than an exact parallel. CRM applies to safety-critical problem-solving in real-time, and it emphasises the importance of candid and assertive inter-personal communication. In other scenarios (e.g. boardrooms taking non-real-time decisions having long-term relevance) there are other factors that gain importance, and there are several methods and defined processes that have been developed to help such decision-making. Some of these have even seen application in climatology, e.g. Structured Expert Judgement is invoked by AR5, Chapter 2. (Incidentally this is another technique that started out in the safety industry). When applying such techniques, leadership must be allowed to play its role.

    However, I have chosen to draw attention to CRM, not because it employs specific techniques that apply directly to climatology, but because it is based upon an ethos that surely does, i.e. the need for the establishment of mutual respect and confidence in order to foster an environment conducive to openness, candour and constructive critique. This is the message that I feel both sides need to take on board if we are to correct the way in which climate scientists (and their psycho-science confederates) address the phenomenon of climate change scepticism. Furthermore, when all is said and done, properly informed climate policy requires the establishment of situational awareness, and this can only be achieved by dropping blind allegiance to the authority that supposedly arises from consensus.

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  4. And I am sure that many readers could cite cases where they told the board that something might happen but were asked to disregard their concerns… Continued employment is very persuasive

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  5. Great post.
    For many who follow space explorarion closely, the loss of the two Space Shuttles, Columbia and Challenger, were prime examples of dysfunctional management in action.
    In both cases those in charge thought they knew the answers. They relied on the consensus that the risks were well managed. They ignored points of view from outside the consensus developed by the bureaucracy.
    In the aftermath reviews it was blindingly obvious that the physical causes of the problems, O-ring seal leakage for Challenger, brittle insulation break up at high speed for Columbia, were preventable.
    Who is in charge of energy and enviro policies in this day and age? What is one of the loudest go-to arguments when those in power regarding are questioned about their policies.

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  6. Hunter, beat me to it. It’s a common psychological theme in such narratives.
    Silence, self doubt and avoiding the ‘crucial conversation’ these situations
    require. Check out the ‘Smoke filled room study’ for more evidence of this.

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  7. Having just read the Wikipedia entry for the Tenerife aircrash and recalling a TV reenactment of the Challenger disaster, I believe the outcomes were very much influenced by our blame culture. The actions of the flight crew of the KLM flight were only one of very many causes and blame could also have been attributed to the other aircraft crew (they had a airport map and should have known they had passed their turn and they didn’t report this) and to the airport control. In the case of Challenger, some, but not all, engineers warned about a take off in cold conditions but as far as I know there was no definitive evidence to cancel the flight. The person who gave the go-ahead got it wrong, but only in hindsight.
    Much of our judgements are similarly made – we make them with the benefit of full information, at leisure, and with an intent of apportioning blame (sometimes sole blame). In other circumstances it is feasible that blame could be placed elsewhere.
    Look at how Climategate proceeded. Attempts to bury a clear malfeasance was by the University placing blame upon an unknown hacker, even though the police investigation was directed at finding an internal leaker. This distraction influenced how the investigations proceeded.

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  8. As it turned out, climategate was carried out by an external hacker. A lone wolf, not the Russian sponsored hack the victim narrative went with.

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  9. Alan,

    Speaking of the blame game, and how to limit legal liability, did you happen to catch Roger’s post (1) last week that included a reference to the CAL fires last year? This week PG&E formally set 2.5 billion aside to cover some of their liability (2).

    The big three can now use the precautionary principle to preemptively cut power to areas that might be prone to a wild fire…. The details are a bit sketchy on how this is going to work…..

    This weekend will be the first test of the new risk management tool that PG&E has available as Red Flag warnings are set to go up.

    I am watering our vineyard and orchard today (during part peak time and peak time- BOO!) rather than on Sun, when I was scheduled to water everything. No electrical service means no water for us.

    1) http://euanmearns.com/blowout-week-233/#comment-40738
    2) https://www.sfchronicle.com/business/article/PG-E-to-pay-2-5-billion-for-Wine-Country-fires-13013596.php

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  10. An email was sent to SM and AW in 2013 claiming to be from the hacker and I know SM has referenced it over the years. This is a comment he made about it recently:

    “Were you a Climate Audit reader in summer 2009?
    I believe that Climategate “hack” arose from the “Mole” incident somehow. I was making fun of University of East Anglia’s lies as to why they couldn’t disclose some routine data to me and, during the incident, UEA rearranged their FTP site on the run to take some data private. At the time, many Climate Audit readers were looking through their FTP site.
    https://climateaudit.org/2009/07/25/a-mole/
    https://climateaudit.org/2009/07/28/met-officecru-finds-the-mole/
    https://climateaudit.org/2009/07/29/cru-erases-data/
    https://climateaudit.org/2009/07/31/the-cru-data-purge-continues/
    https://climateaudit.org/2009/08/04/dr-phil-confidential-agent/
    A couple of readers reported to me at the time that they fell into unexpected private areas of the website and/or they encountered a password in plain view.
    My belief is that Mr FOIA similarly encountered a password or private area, but followed his nose deeper into the system, taking care to use proxy servers once he had embarked on the process.
    I.e. I’m not thinking of a “hack” through using phishing emails or hacking software but in the sense of it not being a leaker from inside.
    In 2013, Mr FOIA sent an email to me, Anthony and a couple of others saying that he was a lone individual, not from UK or US.”

    Don’t recall whether the actual email has been posted but I’ll bet it was mentioned on WUWT as well.

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  11. Alan,
    You raise a good point about the blame culture. There is a major industry of monetizing hindsight.
    In regards to Challenger and O-rings, I believe that there may have been evidence from prior launches that the O-rings were not robust and could leak exhaust gas.
    It is not blame as in wag the finger, it is for me maintaing the appetite to aggressively look for the imolications of how one thing impacts the other.
    The blame game society of “cya” actually reduces that appetite.
    The engineering and safety management culture that has developed, when applied appropriately, can improve that on going desire to solve or even prevent problems.
    When “pc” corrupts the process the opposite occurs.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I have thought long and hard about CRM and I must admit that, rather than being reassuring, it worries me. I suppose in part this worry partly results from seeing the film Sully that concerns the deliberate downing of a passenger aircraft in the Hudson River rather than diversion to the nearest airport. A decision made by the pilot seemingly alone and against set procedure. Pilots, especially those with much experience, are charged with the overall safety of the crew and passengers, and their decisions at times of stress are, it is believed, most likely to be the best. There will, of course, be instances, where this will not be so – instances where relevant information or advice is ignored. CRM is designed to counter this, but is there a cost? Is the pilot’s authority undermined? If another crew member, convinced their information is critical, pesters the pilot and distracts them is this not equally bad? I do hope that when they introduced CRM that they statistically evaluated how often a pilot ignoring information from their crew was correct to do so.

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  13. Alan,

    Whilst your concerns are understandable, I think the people responsible for the development of CRM have allowed for them. In Module 5 of the online training (Communication & Management), provided at http://www.Crewresourcemanagement.net, it is stated:

    “The aim of CRM is to ensure that 1+1>2, as opposed to 1+1<2 (in a two pilot cockpit), and that team performance takes precedence over individual performance. Good CRM is getting the balance right as a team, whilst recognising that the Captain has the final say and responsibility for the safety of the aircraft.”

    The manual’s use of the phrase ‘Good CRM’ does allow for the possibility that it can be botched but, at the end of the day, it is only supposed to be basic, well-established, Human Factors theory applied within the aviation context. Irrespectively, whether or not CRM has met its objectives will reflect in the accident statistics. I have not personally looked into this, but I am led to understand that CRM has been deemed a success according to the relevant metrics. It would be odd if the aviation industry persisted with CRM in the absence of evidence for its effectiveness.

    As for the film “Sully”, I wouldn’t take it too seriously. A great deal of the story was Hollywood invention, including the idea that the captain was deviating from accepted procedure by not attempting the diversion to a proximate airfield.

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  14. John I’m sure you are correct, but I’m almost equally certain that CRM is not the universal panacea for perceived power imbalances in a cockpit. There will be situations where firm pilot decisions are required and might be delayed. There is no right answer and reliance on a pilot’s experience alone is probably superseded by more collective discussions by the whole flight crew.

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  15. The reason I raised the instance of Sullenberger was that the film impressed me because the script stuck almost religiously to reality (as I determined from subsequent reading). Furthermore the screenplay was adapted from Sullenberger’s own book. There was no dispute in the cockpit, but the decision to ditch in the Hudson had to be made almost immediately by the pilot based entirely upon his long experience. One of the facets of the film I enjoyed most was the depiction of the subsequent inquiry where Sullenberger and his co-pilot were blamed for not returning to LaGuardia airport risking the passengers and losing the plane. Re-enactments showed such a procedure would have been successful, just. However the re-enactment gave no time for the pilot to evaluate the situation and make a judgement.

    Re-reading the material in Wikipedia I note with interest that Sullenberger had considerable experience with safety and introduced and promoted CRM within American Airlines. So if he was for it then….

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  16. Interesting conjunction of articles:

    The Neurobiology of Climate Change Denial, Candace Owens did nothing wrong

    Right and Wrong Deaths from Climate Change, I think you’ll find that was the other guy

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  17. Alan,

    I’ll grant you that the film’s depiction of the Hudson River incident was accurate and ably demonstrated the importance of a captain using his experience and authority to take decisive action. However, one should keep in mind that CRM has been around for some time now, and the incident occurred relatively recently. So it is a fair bet that both individuals on the flight-deck had received CRM training. It does not surprise me that they were, nevertheless, able to work effectively and in a timely manner, with the captain’s authority neither challenged nor obstructed. CRM was never designed to promote decision by committee.

    As a separate issue, the film was roundly criticised by the National Transport Safety Board for wrongly suggesting that a prosecutorial relationship existed between the crash investigators and the aircrew. The judgment of the aircrew was not the prime theme of the investigation and even Sullenberger himself strove to distance himself from the film in this respect. The investigation was not predicated upon the belief that procedure had been flouted—certainly not procedure founded upon CRM.

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  18. Alan,

    “Interesting conjunction of articles”

    You’re going to have to explain that one to me.

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  19. 1. Well I enjoyed the film anyway.

    2. If you are asked to explain attempted humour, you know you have failed miserably. Explaining yourself only makes it worse.

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  20. Alan,

    1. I thoroughly enjoyed the film as well.

    2. Sorry Alan, this one is probably down to me.

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  21. There’s what I’d say is ‘illuminating’ historical fiction that brings an historical
    period to life, like Patrick O’Brian’s ‘Master and Commander’ novels based on
    Admiralty and other records – and in the introduction making clear, the distinction,
    for example, between an actual sea battle and a fictional battle based on it.

    Hilary Mantel, does this too, i.e. in ‘A Placer of Greater Safety,’ the chaotic decision
    making during the French Revolution. Whereas so many romanticized historical films
    and novels merely promulgate myths. Kinda’ like much of today’s medja ‘investigative’
    journalism… doesn’t bother with an introduction distinguishing btw facts on the ground
    and fictional ‘interpretations.’

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  22. You know how it is when a subject piques your interest – you can’t leave it alone. Well that describes me and the Sully film. After your 6.06pm post I had decided to leave it be, but of course I couldn’t. I found
    http://www.historyvshollywood.com/reelfaces/sully/ which answered some questions, but raised others. I accept that the inquiry was altered, for a start it took 18 months in reality. It was made to look more adversarial than it actually was but not entirely: Sullenberger himself is quoted as saying that”The story being told came from my experiences, and reflects the many challenges that I faced and successfully overcame both during and after the flight,” Elsewhere he claims it was indeed adversarial. However the best evidence that the film did not accurately depict the truth is that the names of people carrying out the inquiry were deliberately changed, when no one else’s were. Other explanations have been that the film tries to show how Sullenberger and his co-pilot would have felt during the inquiry, and it has been established that Sullenberger was suffering from PTSD at the time.
    Nevertheless I find it difficult to believe that the inquiry took fully 15 months to clear his name and from the outset it left the flight crew to defend their decision, at a time he was lauded by the country as a hero. The disconnect between attitude in the inquiry (not returning to an airport was a mistake) and ouside it (hero status for saving 155 people) must have been weird. What I have been unable to determine, without reading the transcript, was whether Sullenberger had to fight for the 35 seconds required to make a decision to be added to the simulation (which the film suggests).
    The other aspect that surprised me was the distance that the aircraft could travel without forward thrust. In another case I recall a pilot describing flight of a passenger jet in similar circumstances as a “flying bucket”. Yet this aircraft, which was only at 2800 ft when it lost its engines, stayed in the air for 208 seconds and executed major turns. Unbelievable.

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  23. Alan,

    Perhaps we should leave this discussion by just noting that there was some controversy at the time of the film’s release. Reference, for example, the following newspaper report (I say ‘newspaper’ but it is actually the Guardian):

    https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/sep/08/sully-hudson-river-plane-crash-investigators-clint-eastwood

    Perhaps, however, you and I have thus far failed to recognise the true implication of the pilot’s decision to ditch in the river. When planes with underslung engines hit the water’s surface they almost invariably flip over as the engines catch the water first. Failing that, even the slightest dipping of one wing or the other will result in a cartwheel as the first wing breaches the surface. The fact that neither of these things happened is due to the amazing skill of the pilot. However, the fact that he even considered this as an option speaks volumes for his extraordinary self-confidence. In my safety management days I was in the habit of saying that the problem doesn’t just lie in the gap between an individual’s abilities and those demanded by the task in hand; it also lies in the gap between an individual’s abilities and those he thinks he has. Disaster was averted by Sullenberger because there was no such gap.

    Getting back to climatology, I think the real problem may lie in the gap between how much we think we understand and how much we actually do.

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  24. John Ridgeway.

    In your reply of 20 Jun 18 at 9:51 pm, I particularly liked this comment.

    However, I have chosen to draw attention to CRM, not because it employs specific techniques that apply directly to climatology, but because it is based upon an ethos that surely does, i.e. the need for the establishment of mutual respect and confidence in order to foster an environment conducive to openness, candour and constructive critique.

    Also your closing comment

    (p)roperly informed climate policy requires the establishment of situational awareness, and this can only be achieved by dropping blind allegiance to the authority that supposedly arises from consensus.

    However, it goes further than that. We need various tools and techniques to focus on the best understanding what we can collectively achieve. Yet, it needs to be recognized that ranking of relevancy of evidence, tools for analysis and priorities are largely subjective matters. On these there cannot be agreement. It totally undermines the desire of some for a global policy. You can therefore either have one group creating an enforced monopoly of ideas, or you can have a pluralistic situation, where nothing is clearly established. Climate alarmism has tried to create a monopoly by pushing aside any opposition. An example is from Merchants of Doubt – Oresekes and Conway 2010. (I thought Brad Keyes’ it was another part of was joking when he included it in his ‘The Illusion Of Debate’—A History of the Climate Issue: Part 2 (2009 – 2011) at Joanne Nova’s site in February.)

    Knowledge in “science” is no longer based upon demonstrable understanding, but a self-appointed group of experts expressing their banal opinions. “Dishonesty” or “denial” can arise from promoting knowledge based on better understanding of the natural world than the dogmatic consensus.

    But John, what you are doing is not useless in the face of the climate consensus. By applying tools of analysis from other disciplines, or simply getting people to pursue other ways of thinking about issues, you are showing that there is a much richer and varied landscape available to the academic arena that the slavish following of the climate mantras.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Manicbeancounter,

    Thank you for your response. I think you are right to emphasise the damage that can be caused when there is a lack of acceptance of alternative perspectives. However, to see this from the climate scientists’ viewpoint, the CRM analogy, they would say, is as if the pilot is being asked to consult with the passengers before making a decision. This is one of the respects in which the analogy breaks down, not because such behaviour would be inappropriate in the context of handling an aviation crisis, but because it is entirely appropriate in the context of climate science. The policy decisions that are required to address the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change require multi-disciplinary understanding and are mired in the political implications of multi-stakeholder interest.

    And yet, when anyone tries to challenge the assertions made by the climate scientists, they are met with a defensiveness that reeks of cockpit culture. One sees this in the Climategate emails and the high-handed manner of Kate Marvel, Gavin Schmidt and many others. This may be the natural instinct of the academic but I’m sure that it also stems from a sincere, though misguided, attempt to protect the integrity of the science. Personally, I generally hold my counsel when it comes to the science because I recognise my lack of expert authority. However, it’s not just about the science—it is also about making evidence-based decisions under uncertainty, and this is not an area of understanding that climate scientists monopolise. On the contrary, a background in safety engineering provides a much more appropriate professional background, so the climate scientists would do well to look to such professionals for a fresh perspective. But they won’t.

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  26. Larry Kummer at his Fabius Maximus blog has a new post that is relevant to our last two posts and some of the recent comments.

    Scientists show us why the climate change campaign failed

    He illustrates the issue through the tweets of three climate scientists; one of these I was aware of, but the others I hadn’t come across before. The tweets show that cockpit culture is still flourishing amongst climate scientists.

    “Summary: Why has the vast investment over 30 years produced little action in the campaign for policy action to fight climate change? Listen to climate scientists to learn one reason for this failure. Here is one day on Twitter, typical conversations in the decayed wreckage of a once great but still vital science. It’s a sad story, with no signs of getting better.”

    “This is the public face of climate science today: tribal, defensive, discussion by invective, dismissive of contrary data. More like a priesthood than a community of scientists.”

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  27. Paul. If one selectively picks twitter strings that illustrate your point, you can prove anything. What is required is a demonstration that all (or a majority or, at the very least, a large number) communications support your case. I am willing to believe, but Fabius Maximus offers no proof.

    The petty behaviours of blocking, as illustrated in that Post are, to my mind, the more damaging (to the blocker).

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  28. Paul,

    Another interesting link you provide there, and perhaps not so off-topic. Evidence:

    “Getting even the simplest of errors corrected in the global warming debate is like pulling teeth. Time and time again, I’ve experienced a reaction where pointing out even the simplest of errors is met with the attitude of, ‘How dare you?!'”

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  29. Soundbite from the conclusions of Brandon’s latest post:

    “If climate communicators want to gain the trust of more people, the first thing they should do is be up front and clear about uncertainties, questions and errors. As long as they don’t, people will rightly mistrust them.”

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  30. chances are the flight engineer spoke the same language.
    chances are he did not tweet his concerns, or blog them, or write an open letter.
    chances are he used the accepted method of communicating in the cockpit.

    wanna be heard do some science.
    afraid of pal review? didnt stop watts, mcintryre, or nic lewis.

    otherwise you are like a flight engineer who tries to inform the captain by tweeting or whispering to the flight attendant.

    thats the first step in respect.

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  31. the passangers of course should also have the right to ask questions, demand answers and ask for flight test data and ask for free instruction from the pilot on the theory of flight. they paid for the ticket.

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  32. Steven,

    “wanna be heard do some science.”

    I can’t make my mind up whether you are being arrogant or just naïve. It ill behoves scientists to refuse to take note of the observations made by the lay public, simply because such observers are not themselves contributing to the science. Yes, the lay public make their observations without resorting to the publication of scientific papers, but that is to be expected. Scientists use the full range of cultural media to communicate the science to the lay public, so why is it so wrong that the lay public should respond via the same channels?

    As I have said before, the climate change issue is one of problem-solving within complex, high-stake scenarios characterized by significant levels of uncertainty. There are plenty of professionals outside the field of climate science who are far more experienced and qualified in such problem-solving than the average climate scientist, and are perfectly entitled to comment upon the extent to which they feel climate scientists are failing to take advantage of such outside perspectives. This is a political observation so it would be quite inappropriate to write a scientific paper about it. Furthermore. there are many other political and social observations that are to be made, none of which require the commenter to ‘do some science’.

    I don’t think for a moment that this response will stop you from visiting sceptical blogs to deliver your specious argument—I doubt that you will even stay around to read it. But you have to understand that the last way in which climate scientists can gain respect is to disrespect all forms of external commentary.

    John

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Steven,

    “the passangers of course should also have the right to ask questions, demand answers and ask for flight test data and ask for free instruction from the pilot on the theory of flight. they paid for the ticket.”

    I’m surprised that you see fit to raise this point when I have already dealt with it. See my comment above (posted June 26th, 8:15am):

    “However, to see this from the climate scientists’ viewpoint, the CRM analogy, they would say, is as if the pilot is being asked to consult with the passengers before making a decision. This is one of the respects in which the analogy breaks down, not because such behaviour would be inappropriate in the context of handling an aviation crisis, but because it is entirely appropriate in the context of climate science. The policy decisions that are required to address the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change require multi-disciplinary understanding and are mired in the political implications of multi-stakeholder interest.”

    John

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  34. Steven
    “wanna be heard do some science.”

    Any science? Does a published scientist in a field outside of climate have the right to pontificate about climate matters? Or have the right to lecture others? Many do.
    What about scientific scholars (those who don’t publish or who cannot get published) but who keep abreast with developments in climate science? Can they comment? Many say not (you?)
    What about those, who have published, who maintain a scientific blog on a climate-science related subject, say upon polar bears, and who get trashed for doing so by the climate-science mafia. Are they allowed to contribute their expertise?
    Such a stupid comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. “However, to see this from the climate scientists’ viewpoint, the CRM analogy, they would say, is as if the pilot is being asked to consult with the passengers before making a decision. This is one of the respects in which the analogy breaks down, not because such behaviour would be inappropriate in the context of handling an aviation crisis, but because it is entirely appropriate in the context of climate science. The policy decisions that are required to address the risks and uncertainties associated with climate change require multi-disciplinary understanding and are mired in the political implications of multi-stakeholder interest.”

    err no. engagement with the public via twitter, blogs, news articles requires training that scientists generally dont have. their job is to do science and act as decision support for policy makers and decision makers.

    in short you have a problem with the science.
    do better science and give that to policy makers.

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  36. “err no. engagement with the public via twitter, blogs, news articles requires training that scientists generally dont have. their job is to do science and act as decision support for policy makers and decision makers”.

    I guess that might explain why so many are appallingly bad at it. Alternatively, climate scientists might be as good or bad at communicating their particular sphere of knowledge and expertise via social media as the rest of us, but because of the unique weaknesses inherent in their science, they come unstuck time and time again when trying to counter simple, rational objections to key points of their science from the non-expert public.

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  37. Steven,

    Thank you for taking the trouble to respond. I underestimated you, and for that I apologise.

    “err no. engagement with the public via twitter, blogs, news articles requires training that scientists generally dont have.”

    The training required to engage via social media is neither here nor there. This is just a red herring that you have thrown into the argument. The fact is, scientists (and their journalist acolytes) do engage in social media to aid in the communication of the science to the lay public and so it is quite inappropriate for you to admonish the public for responding via the same channels of communication.

    “…their job is to do science and act as decision support for policy makers and decision makers.”

    Why do you bother making such an uncontroversial statement? There is nothing in what I have written previously to suggest that I do not already accept this. The issue (which I accuse you of studiously avoiding here) is that the science is incomplete and there are still significant uncertainties. This is apparent when one surveys the scientific literature but it is not the message conveyed to the public as part of CAGW advocacy. I don’t have an issue with the science. I have an issue with the apparent misrepresentation (accidental or otherwise) that I detect in the media.

    Mindlessly repeating your challenge to get involved in improving the science gets us nowhere. It’s just more squid ink.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. I wonder, was it incompetence in communicating via social media which impelled Gavin Foster to heartily endorse Richard Betts’ and Doug McNeall’s recent study on CO2 concentrations to be expected when we reach 1.5C and 2C warming, by uncritically and unreservedly comparing the situation to the equilibrium warming which happened during the Pliocene, when CO2 was around 420ppm? Or was it opportunistic scare-mongering which Richard Betts retweeted without so much as a caveat?

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