On December 8, 2009, I received one of my rare invitations to make a presentation to climate scientists – a keynote speech at the plenary session on June 16, 2010 of World Dendro 2010. At the time they had received almost 500 abstracts. It was proposed that I speak on a program chaired by Achim Bräuning, with presentations in sequence by ‘N.N’, Juha-Pekka Lunkka, me, Keith Briffa, Fidel Roig.
Two days ago, I was advised that due to receiving almost 500 abstracts, their biggest problem has been to find more time for presentations and ‘many good presentations are without time and place’, so they canceled the plenary session in which I was presenting and thus my presentation. (This and two other plenary sessions are still listed on the programme. Update 11 pm – at the dendro listserv here , the cancellation of the Plenary session was announced on Feb 17 – so the cancellation of the Plenary session is real.)
They said that they were “sorry for this bad news” and expressed hope that time could be found for such discussion “in some future events” and thanked me for my “interest in WorldDendro2010 Conference”.
Reading between the lines, I assume that some other speakers protested against my making a presentation. I appreciate the original invitation, I regret that you withdrew it but understand your situation.
You are right that quite many planned speakers for the Roundtable discussion were not very willing to participate that session.
Their effort to find more time for oral presentations in parallel scientific sessions appears real enough [11 pm – at the dendro listserv here, the organizers were criticized for not having enough slots for all the people who wanted to present], but somehow didn’t seem to apply to me.
As I said in my reply, I understand the practical reasons governing the Finnish organizers and I appreciate their initiative in the first place. I don’t entirely understand why any dendro would feel so threatened by discussing things like the connection of linear mixed effects models to the construction of tree ring chronologies that they would refuse to participate in such a session, but hey – it’s climate science. They’d rather avoid criticism than confront it.
Update: as noted by a reader below. Wyoming State Climatologist asked the conference organizers to “reconsider” one of their choices for plenary session:
Date: Wed, 17 Feb 2010 08:53:48 -0700
Reply-To: ITRDB Dendrochronology Forum
Sender: ITRDB Dendrochronology Forum
From: Stephen Timothy Gray
Subject: Re: an open letter re: WorldDendro 2010 – Registration
Thank you for bringing this to the Forum. I share your frustration regarding attempts to organize a session, and I am puzzled by the apparent rejection of so many abstracts. As you say, the purpose of such meeting should be to “maximize attendance and the exchange of information between members of the global tree-ring community”.
What concerns me even more is the preliminary list of invited speakers. I believe that plenary and keynote talks should challenge and inspire the community. However, in at least one case it appears the organizers are giving the stage to someone who would just as soon destroy our work for their own petty agenda. I sincerely hope that the organizers will reconsider their choices before making the program final.
Stephen T. Gray, Ph.D.
Director, Water Resources Data System
Wyoming State Climatologist
Update2 Feb 22: I’ve received an invitation to send in an abstract to one of the parallel workshop sessions.