Sunday, July 25, 2010

Do you believe in global warming?

I recall Werner confronting me with this question some moths ago in this blog, and now one of our regular readers, Jon, has sent me a thoughtful article published in Global Change containing exactly the same question. The author of this article is clearly seeking a common ground to break the current stalemate, something that is really welcomed.


Stan said...

As soon as I saw the stupid cartoon at the top of the 2d page it was obvious that the article wasn't worth the time to read it. Diogenes' quest was for an honest man. Can we find an alarmist climate scientist who is only moderatly dishonest?

PolyisTCOandbanned said...

1. From personal observation, I agree that the data-poring sceptics lack real curioisity as I would expect of a genuine skeptic. just the 5 years of CA since last paper and a gaziullion blog posts and working with Watts (and not calling out his mistakes) tells you that the denialists are not really fair or curious.

2. Small issue: "well funded" skeptics is a joke. There are a lot of people doing that stuff as retirees or housewives or aside from work. And on the established side you have all kinds of grants and full time positions entrenched.

3. The way to defuse things is to stop entangling the policy advocacy with the climate determination. Mann and Gore are bad news. Report the science like a judge, like an executioner. Drop the advocacy and Daily Kos flirtations.

Tobias W said...

What is thoughtfull about this?:

"Climate scientists need
to team up with economists and
others to address such concerns
and lay out the economic
consequences of inaction. They
also need to dispel the myth
of the carbon-based economy
being the cheapest alternative,
for example, by calculating and
highlighting the costs – monetary
as well as geopolitical – of a
reliance on oil."

This is simply more of the same. "Hey, let's have another Stern report lie about the costs of mitigation, etc. And whilst we're at it, let's claim that carbonbased energy is actually more expensive, which we all know to be untrue."

And trying to make out the "sceptic-base" as some kind of right wing religious nutters is simply wrong. In Sweden over 60% of the population thinks that the threat of global warming is overhyped (which at least in some quarters means that they're sceptics, or even the much dreaded "denialists":-). I dare anyone to find just 1% of the above stated category in Sweden. They basically don't exist. The problem that climate science has in convincing people that they're right, is the fact that their doom-mongering doesn't correspond well to the real world that people face everyday.

Where I come from we have something that's called "farmers sense", in english it's called "common sense", and it is very hard to tap into using different media strategies. Cry wolf enough times and people just don't believe you, because the wolf never appears. And when you, like the IPCC, have to lie and make up the wolf and gets found out doing it, well then "farmers sense" tells you there was never any wolf to begin with. By yelling "fire" instead of wolf isn't going to get you anywhere, and that's essentially what the author want's the "climate community" to do.

eduardo said...

TCO, Tobias

well, yes, I agree that it is not true and even counterproductive to portray all climate skeptics as uneducated conservatives, as it is also not true and unfair to portray warmist as stounch leftist. This is not helpful not least because it unnecessarily drags the discussion towards a stalemate.
Nevertheless, I found the general tone of the article quite conciliatory, regarding it has published in Global Change. It contains a call to the scientists for more openness, for instance. You may not agree. of course, and I take notice of the reasons for your disagreement.

PolyisTCOandbanned said...

I thought there was a lot to like in the article as well. Sorry, meant to say that, but looking back at my post, see I didn't explicitly say that.

Tobias W said...


If all climate scientists, and the "climate community" (whatever that actually means?), were like you and the rest of the Klimazwiebel crew I don't think that climate science would have any trouble at all communicating. That's really all you need, some humility and common decency - not new "climate narratives", they're a dead end.

Certainly "warmists" are not in any way necessarily a leftist, not even in relation to the american debate. Personally I think that the greatest reason for there being more leftists that are warmists and more on the right wing being sceptics (because that is generally true, but not in the way the article implies) is the solutions proposed. When scientists say that we need to radically alter the way we live and claim that the state needs to impose sanctions on the population forcing them to do this, it is natural for someone on the right (particularly liberals, but not necessarily conservatives, which is another thing the author doesn't quite understand) to react negatively to, whereas the leftist doesn't necessarily oppose this. And when it is further implied that the problem is capitalism and more specifically economic growth, well then opposition from the right can not be avoided - because whatever scientific truth there is in the actual argument gets lost in what is now a de facto "leftist project".

Roger Pielke Jr has it right when he says that as long as the "climate community" says that people have to radically alter the way they live they will simply not comply. And indeed why should they?

Hans von Storch said...

I would agree, Tobias W.

Unknown said...

In Japan it does not seem that the concern about global warming is aligned with political positions (left/right or liberal/conservative).
If there is any correlation, it seems to be between skepticism to global warming and political left stance. The situation seems to be much different from the USA and Canada. The main reason is probably that we do not have any (direct) activities of fossil fuel lobbyists. (Note: I am no social scientist and I just tell my subjective views.)

Though not so persistent, there are two types of conspiracy theories "from the left wing" about the outlook of global warming .

One is that global warming is a hoax invented to promote nuclear power.
Promotion of nuclear power has always been the policy of Japanese government (though the vigor has drifted). The government promised extraordinary benefits to people near the location of power stations. So anti-establishment-minded people naturally think that nuclear power is something harmful and that the government hides the truth. Also we have a few nuclear power lobbyist organizatoins (though tiny when compared with fossil fuel lobbyists in the USA) who emphasize the harm of global warming. So there is enough cause to be skeptic.

(Since it is doubtful that nuclear industry can strive without protection by the government, believers of market mechanism may also be suspicious of the promoters of nuclear power. This "right-wing" position may also lead to skepticism to global warming.)

Another story is that global warming is hyped by capitalists (perhaps based in the City of London) who want to expand financial markets with emission quota. I do not see this story recently, but it can revive when stories related the Kyoto Protocol pop up.
The majority of people dislike increasing disparity of wealth. Even industrial capitalists do not like financial capitals grow disproportionately. So there is a cause for the people to envisage financial capitalists as evil, even though this view may be wrong.

I personally think that the science of global warming is well founded, and I also think some incentive is needed to propagation of technology to reduce emission. But I do think that there is too much emphasis on emission trading probably caused by financial interests. I prefer promotion of technology transfer explicitly as such.