NEW YORK (CP) - At an annual meeting held last week, scientists chose not to induct two of the top events in climate history into the Hall of
Fame due to suspicions of doping. The U.S. weather of 2012 and the Arctic sea
ice decline, which each broke numerous climate records during their long,
illustrious careers, fell well short in the voting among eligible scientists.
In the past, scientists have been reluctant to attribute extreme events or unusually hot years to any one cause, whether natural ability, new training techniques or doping. They reach decisions only after years working with sophisticated computer models that assess the factors influencing performance of each event, and using statistics to compare each event to others throughout history. Even after this exhaustive process, the wording in official statements tends to be highly cautious, with repeated references to uncertainty.
This year’s decision reflects frustration among scientists with what was viewed as flagrant and obvious drug use in setting the US temperature and Arctic sea ice minimum records, and the persistent denial of what their data shows is a rampant doping problem.
“There’s no doubt in my mind,” said Ken Rosenthal, an outspoken climate scientist and baseball writer from the NASA Goddard Institute of Climate Research. “Last year, almost every state in the nation broke a temperature record. That’s not happening without help."
|2012 temperature anomaly (NCDC - NOAA)|
The challenge mirrors that facing major league baseball, cycling, and many other sports. Several scientists at the meeting even alleged that doping was playing a role in ongoing events, including last week’s unprecedented Australian heat wave.
A recent letter to the commissioner Bud Selig, signed by 30 Nobel laureates, called for fundamental reforms to the system that would address the low cost and widespread availability of the banned substances. Drug policy experts claim that the system could be supported by alternative training techniques and natural food supplements, which do not have climate-altering effects, with no additional costs. Opponents in Congress, most of who represent drug-producing states, fear the effects of a switch on jobs in their districts.
The Heartland Institute, a drug-industry funded think tank sceptical of the human role in climate doping, announced it would appeal the decision, claiming that the scientists’ testing procedures and models were flawed. The appeal has no factual basis and is highly unlikely to succeed, but could accomplish the think tank’s secondary goal of taking scientists away from their valuable research and delaying action on drug policy.