Scientific societies question red team/blue team climate debate

PDF versionPDF version

August 3, 2017

Earlier this year, Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Scott Pruitt proposed an initiative to challenge mainstream climate science’s consensus on human contributions to climate change through a red team/blue team debate--modeled after a military exercise in which the red team is designated to attack, and the blue team is put on defense. In the case of the proposed climate debate, the topic would be the research behind anthropogenic climate change. Several scientific societies, however, sent a letter to Administrator Pruitt, expressing their concern about the need for such an exercise.

The letter, signed by sixteen scientific societies, focuses on the peer review process and its role in ensuring the robustness of published science. The authors of the letter argue that the general idea of the red team/blue team debate is essentially an aspect of the peer review process which scientific papers must go through before they are published. The current scope of published climate science research reflects decades of ongoing review, with the testing and evaluation of research findings already an integral aspect of the process.

In the letter, the scientific societies noted that they would welcome further discussion and respond to any questions about existing climate research or the peer review process.

Source: American Association for the Advancement of Sciences, E&E News, Environmental Protection Agency