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Georgia Tech Climatologist Chooses 'Career Suicide' to Keep Her 'Scientific Integrity'

A climatologist at Georgia Institute of Technology resigned from her post because she could no longer navigate the stifling political orthodoxy on climate change.

Former chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech Judith Curry announced her resignation in a blog post on Tuesday. While her resignation is technically "a retirement event," and she is "cashing out" to get her pension, Curry explained that "the deeper reasons have to do with my growing disenchantment with universities, the academic field of climate science and scientists."

Curry is known for her scientifically astute explanations of the uncertainties in climate science. Indeed, she has been attacked as "anti-science" by other researchers who repeat the rote "scientific consensus" that man-made global warming is a catastrophic threat to humanity. In a cruel sort of irony, the universities — ostensibly the bastion of academic freedom — have become unsafe for those who, using good scientific methods, are skeptical of the received wisdom on climate change.

"A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of climate science," Curry wrote. "Research and other professional activities are professionally rewarded only if they are channeled in certain directions approved by a politicized academic establishment — funding, ease of getting your papers published, getting hired in prestigious positions, appointments to prestigious committees and boards, professional recognition, etc." (emphasis added)

Curry frankly admitted that "how young scientists are to navigate all this is beyond me, and it often becomes a battle of scientific integrity versus career suicide (I have worked through these issues with a number of skeptical young scientists)."

She also told the story of a conversation she had with a post-doctorate student.

She wanted to meet me, as an avid reader of my blog. She works in a field that is certainly relevant to climate science, but she doesn't identify as a climate scientist. She says she gets questioned all the time about global warming issues, and doesn't know what to say, since topics like attribution, etc. are not topics that she explores as a scientist. WOW, a scientist that knows the difference! I advised her to keep her head down and keep doing the research that she thinks interesting and important, and to stay out of the climate debate UNLESS she decides to dig in and pursue it intellectually.

It is truly saddening that professional scientists have to navigate these political issues to avoid professional failure. There are clear differences between scientific positions and political opinions.

"Personal opinions about the science and political opinions about policies that are sort of related to your research expertise are just that — personal and political opinions," Curry declared. "Selling such opinions as contributing to a scientific consensus is very much worse than a joke."

It may be worse than a joke, but liberal political orthodoxy demands it. No matter how many climate alarmist predictions fail, they keep pushing the same ideology, with the same agenda — increased government regulations. The solution is always the same, and it involves handing over power to the government.

The struggles of scientists like Curry illustrate just how dangerous this ideology is — to scientific integrity, as well as personal freedom.