Wednesday, November 30, 2011

A wake up call at The Conversation

ABC affiliate The Conversation have posted an article by climate commissioner Lesley Hughes titled "Australians can’t ignore the health impacts of climate change".

I added the following comment...

In the climate commission's latest report I note that the section on mosquito borne diseases does not reference the work of epidemiologist Paul Reiter. Wonder why? Perhaps Lesley Hughes or co-author Tony McMichael would care to explain.
Here's Paul's background from wiki...
Paul Reiter is a professor of medical entomology at the Pasteur Institute in the city of Paris[citation needed], France. He is a member of the World Health Organization Expert Advisory Committee on Vector Biology and Control[citation needed]. He was an employee of the Center for Disease Control (Dengue Branch) for 22 years[citation needed]. He is a Fellow of the Royal Entomological Society[citation needed]. He is a specialist in the natural history, epidemiology and control of mosquito-borne diseases such as dengue fever, West Nile Virus, and malaria.[1]
Lesley's co-author Tony McMichael had this to say about Paul in one of the recently released climategate emails dating from 2002. To Mike Hulme...
You've probably already had colourful comment from Sari and Jonathan. Paul Reiter is, in my view, smart, confrontative and inflexible. He has been leading the charge of the (mostly US) professionally-affronted field epidemiologists, who think:
1. That if IPCC says that climate change is likely to affect VBD transmissibility, then it is also saying that this is happening already; and
2. That if climate is invoked as a causal influence, then it seems that the silly IPCC epidemiologists don't understand that there are a few other influences that are more important.
Paul's documentation that, historically, malaria was often more serious in Europe during relatively cooler times is very interesting - but is essentially irrelevant for the second reason above. Those historical times also coincided with other major shifts in social, economic, nutritional and political circumstances.
Well, it helps to keep us on our toes.
For the context see the rest of this email, and the civil email from Reiter to Hulme that prompted the response.
Based on the omission of Paul Reiter's work from the commission's report it seems the so called consensus being promulgated by the climate commission has little to do with scientific evidence and more to do with maintaining Groupthinking networks, ego and undeserved reputations. Lesley Hughes suggests the report is a wake up call, I think Richard Feynman would have called it Cargo cult science.


  1. Did you ever see the Donna Laframboise article of nofrakkingconsensus on Extinction Fiction 9/10/2010,in the 2007 Nobel-winning climate bible that concludes 20-30% of all Earth’s species are at risk of extinction due to global warming.The research paper on which this finding depends has been demolished by experts in that field. According to one of the world’s pre-eminent biologists, the 2004 Thomas study isn’t just flawed it’s “the worst paper I have ever read in a major scientific journal.” more of Lesley WWF Hughes work

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