Although I’m very critical of alarmism in Climate Change community it’s important to understand I agree about the following:
There is a Global Warming trend.
The bad consequences of the warming will far outweigh the good ones.
Humans are very likely to have contributed to the warming , mostly via CO2 pollution.
We should work to develop CO2 reduction approaches.
[I just believe that alarmism and catastrophe claims are running rampant and I don’t think there is any likely scenario that will reduce CO2 enough to make much of a difference. Non controversial studies indicate that much of the warming we are likely to see is now “baked in” to the system. I think engineering changes are more likely to work than attempts to change the behavior of people and governments that have historically done very little along the lines needed]
Now for my rant against the unconscionable attack on dissenters from the Climate alarmism “party line”:
As a fan of Paul Krugman’s usually bright and insightful economic analyses at the New York Times I was more than alarmed to read his recent post there where he suggested those who voted agains the cap and trade bill in congress were “betraying the planet” Krugman suggests in the article:
Treason against the planet? Given that treason against a mere government is often punishable by the death penalty, Krugman is very close to suggesting that the penalty for climate dissent should be …. death. To invoke “treason” against those who are presenting concerns about either the science or the alarmism running rampant now in Climate circles is both unacceptable and it is dispicable. Shame on Krugman and shame on a climate alarmism community that increasingly uses scare tactics, threats, and censorship to promote their climate change agendas.
My first reaction was to excuse Krugman’s obvious ignorance of the many legitimate challenges to alarmist climate conclusions. He appears to rely on a recent Copenhagen Climate report that clearly plays more on the politics of climate rather than the recent data points which are anything but alarming. For example Global ice remains very stable over the past decades. You’ve read about Arctic sea ice which in fact is lower (though probably no new records this year), but conspicuously the Antarctic – where the ice is increasing – is left off of the alarmist ice analyses. Surface temperatures? After 1998’s very hot temperatures we’ve seen moderation. Caveat: A pending El Nino current and pending new sunspot cycle are suggested as reasons to worry that we’ll soon see more record hot years and I think these are legitimate points. Sea Level Rise? It’s pretty consistently rising, about as much as this symbol: | Per year. Yes this matters over a long time frame but I think the folks in Florida don’t have to move quite yet. Hurricanes? You haven’t heard much in the news about them because …. there haven’t been many. Despite some silly hype, Katrina the Hurricane had little if anything to do with Global Warming (a good source is Chris Landsea, one of a handful of the world’s most knowlegeable Hurricane researchers and a former IPCC author who appears to have become fed up with the politics.) More importantly without the levey breaks Katrina would not have been all that significant and that’s mostly a human engineering issue, not a climate one. What about those big killer Australian fires? Isn’t that clearly caused by Global Warming? Well, it may have contributed to their severity but since they were lit by arsonists it seems absurd to say the climate caused them. Lastly, the models on which most dire predictions depend represent some of the most complex and non- falsifiable hypotheses in the history of science. The basics are simple and very likely (CO2 increases will increase temperatures), but the record of these climate model as predictive agents is very poor. So poor that model predictions in my view should be considered “informed speculation” more than “science”. This last point is critical. We despartely need to focus on finding climate models that predict climate correct ly, not focus on bashing dissenters who note the obvious failures of the current models.
Journalists (and apparently even some Nobel Economists like Krugman) can be excused for relying too heavily on a climate science community that has been seriously compromised by alarmism, ego problems that came from adversarial “anti science” policies under GW Bush, grant opportunism, an often incestuous peer review process, and far too many cases of statistical shenanigans. However that by no means excuses the ongoing climate witch hunt that is seeking to burn down dissenters rather than address their many legitimate concerns about how to move into our uncertain future.
Climate alarmists may be right that we are in for catastrophic changes that will ruin the planet. The data suggests otherwise. It also suggests it will be nearly impossible to significantly change the climate outcome regardless of how we act now (e.g. if CO2 emmissions stop completely today the models still project lots of warming).
However whatever the viewpoint I won’t stand by while an intellectual mob works to burn dissenters at the stake. Reason must guide our actions here – not alarmism, emotion, and vengeance.