terça-feira, 7 de junho de 2011

Defending a skeptic PhD

The idea that there is an almost unanimity of support of AGW (Anthropogenic Global Warming) in the scientific community, was one of the early responses to skepticism in this field. About a year ago, Anderegg et al., even published a paper with such claims as "97–98% of the climate researchers most actively publishing in the field support the tenets of ACC outlined by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change". Several lists do exist 1, 2, 3, of many highly regarded scientists who are, for some or more reasons, skeptic of several of the AGW arguments. Most of the lists are poorly compiled though, and can impact the people involved.

Most of the skeptics that do appear in these lists are usually established scientists, who are renown for their work. But if you're struggling for a career, depend on grants, or are yet studying, being a skeptic is not the easy way to move forward...

But this is what Daniela de Souza Onça has done. She has defended her PhD thesis earlier this year, at the University of São Paulo, in Brazil. The abstract for the thesis reads:

This research aims to gather scientific proofs and evidences against anthropogenic global warming hypothesis and to elucidate its meaning in the present. We argue that climate is in a permanent transformation, not resuming itself to a product of atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration variations and that worries about climatic changes are not new but, despite this, our ignorance on the functioning of the climate system is still challenging. We conclude that anthropogenic global warming hypothesis is not consensual and exerts nowadays the function of late capitalism legitimating ideology, perpetuating social exclusion transvestiting itself as a commitment to future generations.

The thesis is in Portuguese, but seems a very complete document. I have not read it fully, as it is a very long document. But a lot of interesting stuff is there, including some new stuff I had not found elsewhere. What I do know is that Daniela revealed a lot of courage to go forward with such a PhD. Don't know if it was first of a kind, but I sure hope more students will follow her steps! If you want to contact her, you can easily find her email in page 7 of the thesis's PDF.