Who’s a climate scientist? Depends on which side you’re on.

I was interested to read an item in today’s Climate Wire about a new report by “a prominent Australian scientist.”  Andrew Macintosh of the Australian National University has “spent months modeling 45 different climate change scenarios” and concluded that the target recently agreed by leaders of G-8 nations to limit the global mean temperature increase to two degrees Centigrade could not be met with policies currently in place or being considered.

What caught my attention in this story was the description of Macintosh as a prominent climate scientist.  That’s how computer modelers are routinely described by the global warming alarmists, and the mainstream communications media routinely accept this description.  Climate modelers may have all sorts of qualifications and be absolutely brilliant at using computer models, but those qualifications do not necessarily include knowing much about climatology or meteorology or related fields, such as physics, oceanography, geology, chemistry, biology, etc.

Since I’d never heard of the prominent Professor Macintosh, I decided to look him up on the internet.  I was surprised to find that he’s not a computer modeler at all!  He’s a lawyer! And his position at ANU is Associate Director of the Centre for Climate Law and Policy.  He does have a diploma in environmental studies on top of his 1998 bachelor of commerce and law degree, but he won a prize for environmental law, so that’s probably what he concentrated on while earning his diploma in 2001.

That’s what it takes to be described as a prominent climate scientist if you’re on the alarmist side.  While rummaging around on the internet, I also found the transcript of an April 15 story broadcast by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.   The story starts by interviewing two climate skeptics, Professor Bob Carter, a geologist, and Professor Stewart Franks, an environmental engineer.  They told a parliamentary commission that the scientific evidence doesn’t support alarmism.  But then the reporter, Sabra Lane, was quick to point out that Carter and Franks aren’t climate scientists or even reputable scientists at all.

Sabra Lane: “Climate scientist Professor David Karoly says neither Professor Carter nor Franks is recognised as a reputable climate scientist.”  David Karoly: “Bob Carter and Stewart Franks are in fact in a minority of both scientists and climate scientists in Australia.  In fact neither of them is a climate scientist who publishes actively in the climate science literature.”  But here is the very next sentence of ABC’s news story.  Sabra Lane:  “And Professor Andrew Macintosh from the ANU’s Centre for Climate Law and Policy says the Government’s planned cuts to emissions of 5 to 15 per cent by 2020 aren’t enough.”  Having elevated Mr. Macintosh to the ranks of the professoriate, Correspondent Lane does not go on to question his qualifications.

I don’t mean to question Mr. Macintosh’s report.  I haven’t read it.  It may be first rate, although I hope that he is more cautious about the forecasting abilities of computer climate models (which are nil) than his newspaper quotes suggest.  My point is that prominent scientists with long publications records, such as Bob Carter, are routinely described by the media as not being climate scientists and really not reputable scientists at all if they aren’t on the alarmist bandwagon.  On the other hand, lawyers expressing alarmist views are described as prominent scientists.  And the scientists regularly put forward in the media as the world’s leading climate experts often turn out to be computer modelers with little or no background in climate science, Ph. D.s who spent their entire careers in administration, or astronomers who are experts on the atmosphere of Venus.