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I’m REALLY getting tired of so many friends and family calling me a global warming skeptic because 1. I am NOT a global warming skeptic and 2. It distracts from the important debate over warming which is how much it will impact our lives. There are really only two kinds of Global Warming Skeptics. The first challenge the fact that the earth, on average, has been warming up a bit. These folks are generally just stupid or stupidly adhering to the rants of people who are stupid, like Glenn Beck. The earth is, on average over the last century, warming up. Not much mind you – most estimates put the warming in the range of a degree C over the last century, but clearly the earth is warming up a bit.
There is a second kind of global warming skeptic who believes that humans are not the cause of the observed warming. FYI my misguided friends … I am NOT in that camp either! However a lot of bright folks are in that camp and are often scientifically challenging the idea that the observed warming of the last century is caused by human generated greenhouse gasses or “GHCs”. CO2 is usually cited as the main GHC culprit but there are several others like methane that are likely to play a role in observed warming. GHCs are considered the main cause of the small observed warming if, like me, you believe the warming is caused by human activity. So, I’m not THAT kind of skeptic either! Some excellent skeptical discussion of warming is at Climate Audit, the smartest of the “skeptic” blogs, and the counterpoint to Real Climate, the smartest of the blogs that discuss the science behind global warming. Several key players in the Climate Debate post at RealClimate, many are distinuished NASA scientists. I’d urge caution interpreting information from other places and even from these “very smart” blogs. The comments at all blogs tend to be much more biased (often to the point of blatant stupidity) than the posts, which even at advocacy blogs are often somewhat informative if you keep away from the personal or ego-driven junk.
Many blogs in the warming discussion take the form of advocating either for alarmism or skepticism rather than trying to review the science and the logical actions suggested by that science. I’m particularly not fond of Joe Romm’s ridiculous “Climate Progress” which is mostly a constant attack on even well-informed skepticism and dissent from the climate alarmist “party line”. He seems to immediately ban even well reasoned dissenters from the comments, leaving … a fools pool of alarmist nonsense and political advocacy. Anthony Watts “Watts Up With That” is, IMHO, smarter and far more balanced than Climate Progress but is still pretty darn “skeptical”, tending to feature information that supports a skeptical view rather than promoting a more balanced perspective.
Summary: I AM NOT A DAMN Climate SKEPTIC! However I am not worried much about global warming. It’s impact so far has been trivial and it appears it will remain trivial, especially when we compare the likely impacts with current ongoing catastrophic conditions in much of the developing world, where water, disease, and poverty run rampant. Let’s fix that stuff first, since we can actually have an impact in that arena, and fast.
P.S. No, I have NOT changed my view about this, you just weren’t listening … See?
I stirred the pot, apparently, and to good effect. No crime in changing one’s mind now and then, you know! 😉
Indeed you were the inspiration for this one Keith! Agree it’s OK to change one’s mind – in fact it’s what skeptics *and alarmists* should do … today! 😆
Actually Duck your view on AGW sounds about like Anthony Watts (and climate audit)–ie skeptical. I don’t generally agree with Watts–politically at least– but he attempts to conduct a reasoned debate on the issue, unlike the real climate zealots, or Foxnews dolts on the right, or say ….the New Worlds gang.
According to “Byronia” and Demonweed of New Worlds, when you don’t approve of someone’s “ethics”,er supposed ethics (does Byro know Kant’s Categorical Imperative from his crack pipe?? Nyet)–you just have them disappear, stalinist style. So, you eat beef?? buh bye, according to Comrade Byro: With a wave of the hand, they become vegan do-gooders, never again capable of dark deeds again. (and all demos are vegetarians and those mean repugs all eat meat, in Byro-land, that is Vacaville-land)
The NWs poster “Demonweed” was kicked off Watts’ site btw for his uninformed rants about AGW and quoting Al Gore as a scientific source–which is to say, Al Gore was considered infallible for a few months after his Nobel prize, at least by the Dupe–o-crats.
The man-made vs natural issue has not been resolved either. Temps have risen slightly–in some areas (there was a cooling trend over 2000-10, contra Hansen). But good science which is to say authentic science IS skeptical (as Popper knew)–ie researchers wait on making conclusive statements until all the data/evidence/research is in . And that hasn’t happened. There are now what 10,000+ academic scientists attempting to sue Gore/IPCC as well.
Its not as if “skeptic” was something bad. Its good to have a healthy dose of skepticism about all things. Alarmists and trendy fadists can present great danger. Staying calm and analyzing the nature and quality of the evidence is always a good thing to do.
Now as to such things as water quality, poverty and disease, I take a viewpoint similar to the one I have for earthquakes. There is more data than I care to wade through, far less certainty than I am willing to tolerate and there is not much I can do even if I cared to do something about a danger that is largely imaginary.
Water quality? We have our chlorination plants and sewage treatment plants. If some far off land has open sewage and fishermen who employ cyanide, that is not my concern. They can learn to keep farm animals away from their water supply. They can learn to fish without cyanide just as they can learn to speak English.
Its good to have a healthy dose of skepticism about all things.
Yes, that’s what I wrote, FG– and with research, whether in hard sciences or social sciences, it’s essential–not just “prudential” but a requirement. Someone who jumps to conclusions about a hypothesis (like..AGW) before all the data/evidence has been gathered not only commits an informal fallacy (hasty generalization) he is guilty of an intellectual sin, IMHE. In the case of “mission critical’ research–say medicine or engineering–it could be deadly, not to say costly.
Reasoned doubt, or skepticism so-called doesn’t appeal to extremists of right or left, however (really there are two or three varieties of skepticism so the term’s a bit misleading)–Dewey called it “withholding assent”.
Consider the nuts of New Worlds. They are extremists of a sort (Romney supporters, hardly marxists) who rely upon emotional manipulation, as seen with their response to the KOS “hate speech” rant. We should oppose redneck hate speech, at least when it gets violent or racist (though even that’s debatable….don’t even people who we dislike have rights to free expression?)– the d-Kos moderators keep that offline anyway, so it’s sort of a non-issue.
Either way, Markos of d-Kos himself might be said to be engaging in fallacious reasoning: how many letters like these does he receive? Probably a few, maybe a few dozen–but not all who dissent use this sort of speech. In effect Markos (and his followers, like NWs) makes a generalization about dissenters –ah, anyone who hates d-Kos is a crazed redneck! (called a spotlight fallacy at times..ie., “anyone who opposes us is just like this one psycho”!) But that’s hardly a representative sample of the people who dissent from d-Kos.
A more reasoned approach would focus on the content, not merely the ranting (ie, the 2nd Amendment issues, even questions about Darwinian evolution, or..AGW)–ie, d-Kos definitely has critics (even on the left). But Markos makes it look like they’re all Timothy McVeighs, when they’re not.
Which is to say, redneck morons are usually matched by emotional, irrational basketcases on the left (really, they might outnumber the rednecks).
I fully agree Joe; I sat on the fence with AGW until the IPCC conference in Copenhagen.
When the UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown called the likes of me “flat earther’s” and is co- hort Ed Milliband likened me as a “Denier” as the “Science was Settled”. I took great offence at being given such labels. So I became interested and started to read all I could from both sides of the argument. What quickly became apparent to me was how flimsy some of the AGW data appeared to be in relation to the narrowness of data source and reliability of surface temp collection. There seemed in my early days of reading to be very little interest in external forcing, only sea temps/land temps and very little attention given to accurately assessing land temps where UHI’s exist due to poor citing. I thought this is not good science, how come a minor trace gas Co2 can cause such alarmism and chaos.
Anyway to cut the story short I have read more and more and like Joe I agree the climate is warming by a very small amount and not unprecedented in the earth’s long history, but probably not due to anything man is doing as there are many influences at work on our climate. I guess the real story of “settled science” is that a few people/politicians around the world wish to control our lives for their own gain. The cost of adapting to any perceived climate change will be far less than any taxation/subsidies/levies to try and hold back the tide. Mankind has survived many hundreds of thousands of years through adapting to climate not by trying to change it;
As Andrea Merkle the German Prime Minister stated at Copenhagen, we have a duty to ensure that the global temperature does not increase by more than 1 degree Celsius this century.
I would just ask every man and women of this earth to consider the “Naivety” of this statement alone and they will quickly see what “lies” before us.
All we can hope is that many who are not convinced by the IPCC science start to get their voices heard through a media so biased that it threatens the free world as we know it.