Reader Jan at Lucia’s makes the following sensible comment – one that has particular irony given Gavin Schmidt’s umbrage against Fred Pearce the day after Steig’s Feb 1 post that precipitated the present controversy:
Jan writes (Comment#69196) February 11th, 2011 at 2:47 pm :
I might suggest another mistake. It appeared that after the release of O10, there was some burgeoning respect and trust for each other on the part of the antagonists. I therefore think it was a mistake of Dr. Steig to endanger that fragile state of trust and respect by posting his rebuttal to O10 without giving Ryan O’Donnell, et al a head’s up and perhaps a chance to respond privately before posting it to the world.
Had he done so, Ryan would have, at least, had the opportunity to challenge the apparent hypocrisy of recommending one method during review and then proposing to criticize that method in a public blog post where nobody but those involved could have been aware of what had actually unfolded during the review process. After all, Dr. Steig had been given that ‘head’s up’ opportunity, although initially anonymously, with respect to the published paper. He was well aware that he was no longer anonymous to Ryan and as he himself had blown his cover. While I gather Dr. Steig felt that a lack of anonymity opened up the potential for some abuse, abuse, especially of trust, is a two way street.
I think giving Ryan an opportunity to comment privately in advance on his post would have been, by far, the fairest and most ethical way of handling the situation. Sadly, that didn’t happen.
In the week preceding Ryan’s angry post, the Team boycotted the Lisbon reconciliation workshop in order to perpetuate its fatwa against critics. Gavin Schmidt’s excuse for maintaining the fatwa was widely discussed last week. On Feb 2, Gavin widely broadcast his umbrage ( e.g. here) at Fred Pearce’s characterization of his refusal to attend the Lisbon reconciliation workshop as because the “science was settled”. Ironically, this is the precise terminology used by EPA in their Statement of Litigation (but that’s another story), when Gavin’s precise words were that the science issues presented by the organizers in their proposal (including climate sensitivity) were not “‘conflicts’ in any real sense within the scientific community”. To many readers, this was a distinction without a difference, but, for whatever reason, it was important to Gavinm, who complained bitterly:
Fred Pearce did not interview me for this piece. I should like to request that in future, if my views are of interest, that he (or anyone else) should actually ask me directly. I am not hard to contact.
Gavin’s Complaint was echoed by Joe Romm, William Connolley and others, all of whom called for Pearce’s head for not contacting Gavin.
Now think about a two-way street. In the days following Steig’s Feb 1, did Gavin or anyone else ask Steig whether he had contacted Ryan to clear up potential misunderstandings? Didn’t think so.