Why a new blog about climate change?
The climate debate is covered by many blogs on the skeptical side as well as on the alarmist side and everything in between. There are several blogs that facilitate discussions between climate experts but since the climate debate is highly polarized and politicized, blog discussions between experts with opposing views are limited. ClimateDialogue.org tries to be unique in facilitating a constructive discussion between climate experts with diverging views.
What’s the blog about?
Climate Dialogue focuses on the physical science basis of climate change and its impacts (the topics covered by the Working Groups I and II of the IPCC reports). If the format becomes a success we might broaden the scope in the future to Working Group III topics (climate policy).
What kind of topics can I expect?
This blog will focus on actively debated areas of climate science which also receive a lot of public attention. The first set of subjects that will be discussed are: Arctic sea ice decline, climate sensitivity, sea level rise, urban heat island-effects, the so-called hockey stick, the value of comprehensive climate models, ocean heat content and the warming trend in the past few decades.
Who are behind this blog?
This blog is coordinated by Bart Strengers of the Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency (PBL) and the science writer Marcel Crok. For more details on the organization structure, click here. The project is funded by the Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment of the Netherlands, which announced a number of projects that are aimed to increase the involvement of climate skeptics.
UPDATE 1 January 2015
The Ministry of Infrastructure and the Environment stopped financing Climate Dialogue, at which point both PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) stopped their involvement in this project. The blog ClimateDialogue will remain online until 1 January 2016 and Marcel Crok will take on the responsibility for its continuation. Neither PBL nor KNMI will be responsible for any text written after 1 January 2015.
Who is it for?
Climate Dialogue is aimed at anyone interested in the global warming debate: people interested in the science behind the climate stories we read about every day; people who want to learn; people who want to help increase other people’s knowledge of climate science. Although it is a Dutch initiative and both the editorial staff and the advisory board are based in the Netherlands, Climate Dialogue welcomes and actively seeks contributions from all over the world.
Who are invited to participate in the expert discussion?
For each topic we strive to invite two or more professional scientists with expertise in the topic at hand and with different viewpoints. They do not represent any particular group, but rather provide their own personal opinion. By doing this we hope to explore a broad range of views.
How is the discussion organized?
At any given time, at least one particular topic is under discussion. The editors first introduce the topic with an introductory article. Two or more experts are invited to write a guest blog. They then start discussing each other’s arguments, trying to determine what they agree and disagree on and why. Once the moderators feel the discussion of a specific topic (thread) has run its course, i.e. further discussion will not help to substantially clarify the topic any further, the discussion is rounded off by a summary of all the arguments. This summary will be agreed upon by the discussants and will be published on the website.
Can anyone be involved?
Yes, anyone is free to comment on the topics. For practical reasons though (time constraints of the discussants) the discussion between the invited scientists (the experts) is seperated from the public comments. To leave a comment you have to register once. All comments will be moderated in advance. Especially during night time hours in Europe it can take several hours before your comment will be approved. Comments should meet our commenting policy, such as being on topic and not offensive.
What to do if I am a professional climate scientist and I feel an important argument is missing in the discussion?
There are two ways to proceed. You can use the public comment section to post your comment. The moderator will keep an eye on interesting new arguments in the public comment section and bring the comment to the attention of the editorial staff who can then introduce the argument into the discussion between the experts. The second option is to contact the editorial staff directly by email (info [at] climatedialogue.org). The editors will then decide whether your arguments will be presented to the participating experts.