Scientists: Obama administration muzzles us as much as George W. Bush's did

It was a year ago this month that President Obama issued a memo giving underlings three months to draw up policies “to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch.” But, as New Scientist blogger Peter Alhous put it the other day

“We're still waiting, and the Union of Concerned Scientists is ... well, concerned about the delay.”

Now comes a new survey of scientists by researchers from George Mason University’s Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy, or SKAPP. It  says the Obama administration is – this seems hard to believe – not doing any better than the previous Bush administration on the squelching-science score.

 Researchers interviewed 37 federal scientists at 13 federal agencies in 2008, when George W. in front of a flag was the picture gracing the walls on federal offices. They returned in the summer of 2009 to the same researchers. And?

 "Most subjects did not view conditions at their agencies as having improved noticeably since the change in administration."

Recall that the Bush administration had a terrible record on this score, which we covered at Dateline Earth.

Scientist whose e-mails were stolen in 'climategate' calls for new view of science, public

rm iwest mugA leading climate scientist whose pirated e-mails were bared for world scrutiny in the so-called "climategate" incident is making some points about the climate-change debate, and scientists' relationship with the public, that have needed saying for some time.

Hat tip to Matt Preusch of The Oregonian for spotting one piece in The Wall Street Journal by Mike Hulme of the University of East Anglia in England. Hulme also held forth in a longer and more involved column, written in conjunction with science critic-questioner Jerome Ravetz, for the BBC. (It's also worth noting that Hulme is the author of a book I intend to find, Why We Disagree About Climate Change.)

Now, I have to say that I was taken aback by the way scientists involved in the email exchanges seem to have been trying to squelch the dissemination of data, and even schemed to block publication of science they found ... sorry, can't help myself... inconvenient.

The e-mail exchanges between prominent American and British climate researchers revealed some disturbing points about how some of the scientists involved in this field have conducted themselves.

But as I read Hulme's piece, it came to me that he is on point about this: We are all arguing about the science of climate change, when what we ought to be arguing about is our value systems and our political inclinations.

Hulme's WSJ article, which is fairly short, is worth a read.

Climate scientists' hacked e-mails raise questions about their conduct (but what about the hacker?)

The tweet from New York Times reporter Andy Revkin caught my eye right away:

Hacked climate emails all the rage w/ skeptics tonite, including at least 1 email to some journo Revkin > #climate #agw

I quickly looked at the post on the climate-change-skeptic blog The Air Vent that was first to unleash the e-mails. Unfortunately, the blogger chose to eliminate the scientists' names, replacing them with initials because, the blogger says, "I need to understand the legal ramifications of making some of the emails public." (Ya think?! More on that in a minute.) Not knowing who the authors were, I concluded this stuff was unintelligible. "Wt gives?" I asked my Twitter posse.

Well, Revkin and Washington Post reporter Julia Eilperin were soon out with stories explaining that the pirated e-mails of some pretty prominent climate scientists show them in a less-than-flattering light.

So far I've just barely perused the 62 megabytes lifted from the server of the University of East Anglia. But many climate skeptics decrying the e-mails say they're proof of a conspiracy to defraud the public.