Thursday, 30 April 2015

Week 1–Making Sense of Climate Science Denial


I had a think about all the slick little videos I watched yesterday and Tuesday and tried to distil the main ideas:

  1. I’m told there’s no doubt about climate change. Pretty blah statement.  I’m inclined to agree. I even agree humans may well have some effect.
  2. The 97% mantra is really about marketing, not science. Mr. Cook is unhappy that his 97% consensus doesn’t translate to the US population.  (Apparently, all the other populations on the Earth don’t matter.) Consensus is important because it influences what non-climate-scientists believe. Silly me, I thought it was about science and, ultimately, truth, not belief.
  3. The terms are really badly defined.  A couple of examples
    1. Who are climate scientists? What distinguishes them from physicists, geologists, meteorologists etc.?
    2. Similarly, who are deniers? I looked at the course discussion groups and one example was “I also cannot recall encountering someone who believes that CO2 has not increased. But I have encountered people who worry that the CO2 measurements were made near the summit of a volcano. And I have even run into people who denied that the CO2 increase was caused by burning fossil fuels.” To me these are perfectly reasonable questions. Is is possible that the CO2 measurements on Mauna Loa are distorted by the nearby volcano?  Has this been studied? Why aren’t CO2 measurements taken in lots of places? Is CO2 evenly distributed across the planet? What fraction of CO2 is produced by human endeavour? How do we know? What are the other sources of CO2? All these questions are attributed to ‘climate deniers’. Shouldn't the ‘climate scientists’ be asking these questions?  If not, why not? Could it be that these ‘climate deniers’ are really straw men?
  4. Apparently, there are magical ‘fingerprints’ that leave no question about human influence on climate. Does that mean it’s dangerous? Could it be a good thing? How much has that alternative been studied?

It looks like I’ve raised more question than I’ve answered.  I have no doubt that all will be revealed next week.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Got a comment for me?