City of Brass

City of Brass


Copenhagen dreaming II: global warming as opportunity

posted by Aziz Poonawalla

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

Muslims en masse for Modi at Madison Square
Newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to a huge crowd of Indian expats in New York City on Monday night, outlining his vision of India's future and mak

posted 4:29:29pm Oct. 01, 2014 | read full post »

Hussein Abdullah gets a penalty for doing sajda in the endzone on Monday Night Football
https://twitter.com/NFL_Memes/status/516788936996573184 As a (very) recent convert to the joy of American Football, I am fascinated by the penalty issued to Kansas City Chiefs' safety Hussein Abdullah for performing a sajda (prayer prostration) of thanks after an epic 39-yard pick-six on Patriots

posted 11:04:12am Sep. 30, 2014 | read full post »

the NFL, concussions, and domestic abuse #WhyIStayed #WhyILeft
A lot of my friends who aren't into football have remarked upon my newfound interest in football as being somewhat out-of-character (true, at first glance, but i'll address that later) and also critiqued the sport for all its attendant social problems. Of those, the two main ones are domestic abuse

posted 5:47:02pm Sep. 12, 2014 | read full post »

13 years after 9-11
I honestly don't have much left to say that I have not said already. But it is worth at least remarking on this, the anniversary of the attacks, that the global challenges facing the world today have almost nothing to do with terrorism or Islamic fanaticism. Yes, we have threats like ISIS to grapple

posted 8:44:01am Sep. 11, 2014 | read full post »

Saudis propose to relocate the Prophet's (saw) tomb from Masjid al-Nabawi
The above photo of the Mecca clock tower, or as I like to call it, "Big Bin", was during my hajj a few years ago. It is part of my general observations of the "Meccahattan"-ization of the holiest place in Islam, the way that the Saudi religious authorities are utterly obliterating the historical wea

posted 10:13:58am Sep. 02, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

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

All reported content is logged for investigation.