Surprise! Prestigious Helmholtz Association Reopens Climate Science Debate: “Why Is Dispute Among Scientists So Fierce?”

If you’re in Berlin next month, here’s an event you’ll want to put in your calendar.

Dr. Peter Heller of Science Skeptical writes here that Germany’s Helmholtz Association is holding a podium discussion in Berlin on March 17, 2014. The title:

“What can we believe? The climate debate and its impacts”

So even some prestigious German science research institutes are starting to second guess claims that climate science is settled and the debate is over. Moreover, skeptic views (the very backbone of scientific progress) are being given a serious platform for open discussion once again.

The podium discussion invitation reads (my emphasis):

The next segment in our Fokus@Helmholtz discussion series is titled: ‘What can we believe? The climate debate and its impacts’. At the end of March the second part of the IPCC Report will presented to the public  in Yokohama, Japan. It will once again cast questions about climate change, its impacts on man and environment. International scientists are already discussing amid controversy and are jockeying for a mutual answers in the climate question. When scientists are struggling, how can citizens understand what is going on with our climate and act responsibly? Why is the dispute among the scientists so fierce? What’s driving the climate skeptics? And: Which questions can climate models answer at all? Many people are asking what should be believed: Is climate change not really as bad as first thought? What impact does man have on it and to what extent? What roles do political interests play when it comes to forecasts?

We warmly invite you to the fourth of the Fokus@Helmholtz series taking place Monday, 17 March 2014, at 7 p.m. (entrance starting at 6:30 p.m.) in the DKB Atrium (Taubenstraße 7, 10117 Berlin). Under the title: “What can we believe? The climate debate and its impacts“ we would like to mutually discuss with you and with representatives from business, advanced education and non-university research.

Please register.

The event series Fokus@Helmholtz brings research, politics and society together on a regular basis in order to discuss the controversial questions of the future. The Helmholtz Association and its invited guests would like to look beyond the horizon, to question options for action, and to provide food for thought.”

Wow! Hard to believe but the Helmholtz here is testing a return back to science. Gone, at least for the moment, are the claims the discussion is over and the crude attempts to marginalize alternative viewpoints. Are we seeing a climate science renaissance?

The Helmholtz provides the program itenary:


  • Prof. Dr. Jürgen Mlynek, President of the Helmholtz Association

Podium discussion:

  • Frank Drieschner, Die Zeit
  • Dr. Oliver Geden, Foundation for Science and Policy
  • Dr. Peter Heller, “Science Skeptical Blog”
  • Prof. Andreas Hense, University of Bonn
  • Prof. Hans von Storch, Helmholtz Centre Geestacht Ventre for Material and Coastal Research

Moderation: Jan-Martin Wiarda, Helmholtz Association

“Four or five years ago this hardly would have been possible”

Peter Heller, a named participant in the above podium discussion, writes at Science Skeptical:

Also even if I am just the “quota skeptic ” it is indeed courageous of the Helmholtz Association to invite someone like me. Four or five years this hardly would have been possible or even considered. By the way, my participation is not because of the profile and impact of Science Skeptical, but solely because of the recommendation by Hans von Storch, whom I wish to thank.

The event description, however, still shows a deficit in partiality. ‘What is driving the skeptics, I don’t know and it is also not relevant. Indeed the question is foremost what is it that the alarmists find so neat about their horror scenarios and transformation fantasies. In the end, reason needs no further justifications. However insisting there’s a need to believe in something, does. Believe what you wish, but keep in mind there is a difference to knowledge.

I’m really curious to see how things will go. And at the and of the evening should people go home with the knowledge that skeptics are not people who practice occult rituals and worship Satan, but rather are the ones with a clear and calm heads in the climate debate, then that will certainly suffice.”

Any readers who happen to be in the Berlin area and who command the German language, this is one event you may not want to pass up. German skeptics can look forward to a good discussion – should Heller not get disinvited, that is.

For now let’s just say that Helmholtz Association is on “Disinvitation Watch” for the next few weeks.


10 responses to “Surprise! Prestigious Helmholtz Association Reopens Climate Science Debate: “Why Is Dispute Among Scientists So Fierce?””

  1. Buddy

    [-snip: This nonsense of equating tobacco skeptics to climate skeptics you’ve written Buddy is just silliness. One has nothing to do with the other. It’s pity the time you used to write the comment was for nothing. Come back when you have a something of substance to contribute. I get the feeling you like acting like a fool in public. So is Peter Heller not supposed to take part in the podium discussion because tobacco is bad for you? (Rhetorical question) -PG]

    1. Ed Caryl

      They have this short list of ad hom attacks. They aren’t very creative. Certainly not creative enough to actually examine any data.

    2. Jimbo

      Buddy, let me illustrate how easy it is to use the tobacco angle. Read my comment and references HERE.

      You can also see oil funding for green groups and climateers HERE.

      I fight fire with fire Buddy.

  2. nzrobin

    What drives a Sceptic. For me it is a desire to learn and understand than a desire to believe and act.

    1. Ed Caryl


      1. Günther Vennecke

        @Ed Caryl,

        you are right but perhaps you do not realise that “climate skeptics” are anything but skeptics in the scientific sense of the word?

        1. DirkH

          Günther, please show conclusively that GCM’s have predictive skill.

          Should be a piece of cake, given the thousands of papers written about them.

          We poor climate skeptics are just too busy with our lifes to read through all of them, but surely you can help there. TIA.

  3. Paul

    Since the science isn’t setteld and the debate is genuinly open again can someone please tell this to Mr Obama and the UN, EU etc. They are most important people/organisations in any of this debate yet remain firmly seated in the warmists camp.
    We can debate the science all we like, but until politicians start to listen then there will be little change in policy. I also think that since the AGW theory provides the opportunity for politicians to increase their power via new laws and increased taxation, there is little chance of much change.
    To me, the whole AGW debate is about politics and power and not science. Therfore any impact from debates like this will be limited and this is unfortunate.

  4. tom0mason

    Thanks for the update. Its nice to see that a very tiny amount of CO2 can cause such upset

  5. Weekly Climate and Energy News Roundup | Watts Up With That?

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