Michael Gerson, a conservative and former speech writer for Bush 43, has a very thoughtful article this week on the climate change debate. I have grown increasingly frustrated by those voices within the Republican party who, for whatever reason, refuse to consider the possibility that human activities are contributing to climate change. Yes, I know, environmentalists have overplayed their hand, made predictions that haven’t materialized, and have exploited fear to leverage action. The consequences have been greater cynism and, what I refer to as, a crisis of credibility. However, this crisis of credibility doesn’t diminish the very real possibility that climate change, caused in part by human activity, is occurring. However, as Gerson argues over in WashPo, politics is poorly suited to address global warming. Continue reading
I bring your attention to a great article by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus as the IPCC releases this week its latest report on climate change. Pointing to the work of Robert Bryce, Steve Hayward, and even the Koch Brothers, the article begins,
Over the last decade, progressives have successfully painted conservative climate skepticism as the major stumbling block to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Exxon and the Koch brothers, the story goes, fund conservative think tanks to sow doubt about climate change and block legislative action. As evidence mounts that anthropogenic global warming is underway, conservatives’ flight from reason is putting us all at risk.
This week’s release of a new United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report opens another front in the climate wars. But beneath the bellowing, name-calling, and cherry-picking of data that have become the hallmark of contemporary climate politics lies a paradox: the energy technologies favored by the climate-skeptical Right are doing far more to reduce greenhouse gas emissions than the ones favored by the climate-apocalyptic Left. [continue reading]
Lest you dismiss this criticism of the climate-apocalyptic Left, Nordhaus and Shellenberger are dyed-in-the-wool liberal, environmentalists. The article is well worth the read.
I link to an interesting article in the WSJ titled “Dialing Back the Alarm on Climate Change,” by Matt Ridley, a well-respected British scientist and journalist and a/k/a rational optimist. You can decide for yourself whether climate scientists, but mostly alarmists, have damaged their credibility and the effort to forge viable solutions.
Later this month, a long-awaited event that last happened in 2007 will recur. Like a returning comet, it will be taken to portend ominous happenings. I refer to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) “fifth assessment report,” part of which will be published on Sept. 27.
There have already been leaks from this 31-page document, which summarizes 1,914 pages of scientific discussion, but thanks to a senior climate scientist, I have had a glimpse of the key prediction at the heart of the document. The big news is that, for the first time since these reports started coming out in 1990, the new one dials back the alarm. It states that the temperature rise we can expect as a result of man-made emissions of carbon dioxide is lower than the IPPC thought in 2007.
Admittedly, the change is small, and because of changing definitions, it is not easy to compare the two reports, but retreat it is. It is significant because it points to the very real possibility that, over the next several generations, the overall effect of climate change will be positive for humankind and the planet. Continue reading
Linking to an article by Alister Doyle over at Reuters titled Climate Scientists Struggle to Explain Warming Slowdown.
“The climate system is not quite so simple as people thought,” said Bjorn Lomborg, a Danish statistician and author of “The Skeptical Environmentalist” who estimates that moderate warming will be beneficial for crop growth and human health.
Some experts say their trust in climate science has declined because of the many uncertainties. The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) had to correct a 2007 report that exaggerated the pace of melt of the Himalayan glaciers and wrongly said they could all vanish by 2035.
Or so suggests the actions of apocalyptic-leaning scientists and environmentalists who continue to seek to shape public opinion on the issue of anthropogenically-caused climate change. As an admitted cautious skeptic – open to changing my views based on credible science and a weight of evidence approach – I have been critical of both alarmists and deniers for the way in which the facts have been distorted and, in some cases, fabricated to support a political agenda. However, with a newly leaked draft report by the IPCC that suggests solar activity could be contributing to the warming, I’d argue that many climate scientists can’t be trusted to tell the truth. As I’ve argued previously in this blog, the failure to pursue the truth on such a complex issue, regardless of where those facts lead us as a society, does grave damage to the credibility of science and to society at large if we are to rely upon sound science to inform our laws and policy decisions. Continue reading