Advertisement

City of Brass

City of Brass

Copenhagen dreaming II: global warming as opportunity

This is the second part of my series in anticipation of the upcoming Copenhagen conference. The previous post in this series was a defense of the scientific method.

So, what do I think about global warming? The consensus is a powerful one, and it’s not built upon one tree ring or one temperature reconstruction, it’s been built upon thousands of independent studies by thousands of different authors. That said, there are some valid critiques on methodological issues. Even if those critiques are fully accurate, that isn’t enough by itself to warrant throwing out the entire body of literature, which over the years of reading both Climate Audit and Real Climate I’ve seen extends far beyond just one paper by Mann et al or one set of trees at Yamal. The very fact that there is a controversy, and both sides are able to endlessly rebut the other in a seemingly-never ending cycle of rebuttal, proves that there is indeed more to the story. Like blind men in a room with an elephant, the dissenters and the keepers of orthodoxy have valid observations and methods. Reconciling them requires moving forward, not standing still.

I’ve watched An Inconvenient Truth and I’ve seen A Convenient Fiction. I’ve read the Wegman Report and the RealClimate folks’ highly-convincing response on the technical merits. I read Climate Audit and now, thanks to suggestions from others here, will also check out Watt’s Up With That, but I also cross-check dissenters’ arguments against the RC Archive and RC Index. I think I am doing due diligence here. The consensus for global warming remains robust, despite the dissenters’ well-publicized arguments. Until the dissenters repudiate their partisan political fellow-travelers who engage in irresponsible rhetoric about GW being a “massive lie” or the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” they will never attain the credibility they require to persuade and influence the concensus the way it has always been done.

Fundamentally, however, the basic goal of those who advocate anthropogenic global warming is simple: to reduce carbon emissions worldwide. The single best route to doing that is to make our civilization more energy efficient and less polluting. Technologies to make this so represent as much of an immense, industry-creating opportunity as the semiconductor industry or the space program. One of Al Gore’s maxims is that you should never underestimate human ingenuity; to this, I would also add the corollary, never underestimate the ability of Americans to make a profit off it, either. Those who argue that the Kyoto Protocol or the upcoming Copenhagen treaty would bankrupt the business world sound to me like Malthusian alarmists, without faith in the genius of men like Norman Borlaug to find ways of escaping the constraints. The business world itself is on board with the opportunity ahead. In that sense, the scientific world has fallen behind. It’s time to catch up… to the Chinese and the Indians. Far from being an obstacle to change, the developing nations see the writing on the wall – in terms of existential threat to their own territory and populations from increased sea levels, but also from the basic security/economic perspectives of needing less oil imports and having greater energy to fuel their growing societies.

So, count me as convinced that GW is real and requires action. The dissenters are important, as they provide a needed critique from within. But they cannot and should not be the cause for holding back on moving ahead full speed.

Advertisement
Comments Post the First Comment »
post a comment

Comments are closed.



Previous Posts

Bomb blast in Karachi targets Dawoodi Bohra community
This happens almost every day in Pakistan - fanatic hirabists commit arrogant blasphemy and murder fellow Muslims in cold blood. This time, the target wa

posted 8:22:26am Mar. 20, 2015 | read full post »

Proof denies faith
On Reddit, someone posted the following question: "What convinces you that the Quran is the literal Word of God?" I think this is precisely the wrong question. The book/movie Life of Pi directly

posted 9:33:46am Mar. 13, 2015 | read full post »

Proud to be American, proud to be Muslim
This is a guest post by Safiya Dahodwala. Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin TUS graced the land of America for the first time as the 53rd Dai (spiritual leader) of the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community. It has been nearly a decade since his predecessor, Syedna Mohammed Burhanuddin bestowed his bountiful bl

posted 12:58:00pm Mar. 05, 2015 | read full post »

is ISIS Islamic? Wrong question.
There is an excellent longform essay on ISIS published in The Atlantic, "What does ISIS Really Want?" that lays out an excellent case fore ISIS being genuinely different in ideology, motivation and ethos than Al Qaeda. The real question boils down to, is ISIS "Islamic" or not - and makes an excellen

posted 11:34:08pm Feb. 17, 2015 | read full post »

The Price of Extremism
This is a guest post by Durriya Badani. The execution style murder of three young North Carolina students, two of whom were hijab wearing Muslim women, raises questions regarding the rise of Islamaphobia in the United States in the form of hate crimes. Some will argue that the motive for the inc

posted 11:26:53am Feb. 12, 2015 | read full post »

Advertisement


Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.