Opinion

Climate change … seeking the whole story

If climate change is happening and if these changes result in impact on humans, then most people agree that the poor will be inproportionately burdened with the negative impact of climate change. So, this is my interest in this blog.

I say “if” because there is disagreement on climate change … particularly on how much of it is caused by humans and how to predict both future changes and their consequences. Al Gore is clearly angling for people’s fears with his An Inconvenient Truth movie. Others are “fighting back” with other facts (conveniently left out?) like this article published in Car & Driver magazine (conflict of interest?). Climatologist, Richard Lindzen argues in his testimony to congress that there are some agreements on a few facts, but there are huge differences in the interpretations of those facts.

Why is it that people are so eager to share selected facts, but not those which are in contradiction to their conclusions (and interests)?

Last week’s issue of The Economist published a pretty indepth survey on the topic of climate change. Their conclusion is that there are enough indicators that climate change might be happening and that it is worth some investment as “insurance” against the possible implications. But they are clear to say that in reality very little is known about climate change and talking in terms of certainty of where things are going and what the results are is intellectually dishonest.

What frustrates me the most is that there appear to be very few people who are willing to tell you the “whole story” about what is known about climate change and to OWN their own biases (which everyone has). So, I encourage you to get smarter about this topic by reading the range of opinions … not just the ones that you’re inclined towards.

If you are going to refer to other links in comments, PLEASE don’t refer to one-sided, simplistic, I-know-everything-and-here’s-what-you-do arguments on this very complex, nuanced and potentially very important topic.

4 thoughts on “Climate change … seeking the whole story

  1. Dave, Thanks for your great blog. Always a good read and your fresh down-to-earth pragmatic approach makes it easy for me to relate to.I would challenge that there is a “lot disagreement” about global warming. One article in “Car & Driver” fails to hold this up (hmm, wonder is this is a reliable source? what about bias because of interest conflict?). “A lot” seems very exaggerated, I think “little” is more appropriated. In my view the evidence is increasing and mounting up to strong agreement among scientists. There is clearly much more agreement than on other controversial topics (such as Globalization, Development Economics etc.). If we believe the sample reviewing hundreds of articles (mentioned in Al Gore’s movie) there is nearly 100% agreement. What’s the number of articles disagreeing compared to the ones agreeing? What has given the foundation to the creation of the Kyoto protocol?I am certainly not a global warming scientist and agree with you that scientist and we, ourselves, should dig deeper into the global warming issue. I agree we should misuse “fear” but neither should we with “doubt” (This reminds me to the last 10 years discussion about cigarette-consume and the lobby work of the tobacco industry). Are we not having the moral responsibility to say “safety first” and limit our destructive effects to earth? I would apply an old traveller saying here (originally used for deciding what to pack into you backpack): “If in doubt, leave it out”.Further discussion and other opinions appreciated.Cheers from Australia, the only major country nect to US not having signed Kyoto :(Juergen

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  2. Great post! I think the article you mentioned from the Economist is about the single most balanced discussion I have seen of the topic.

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  3. There is no ‘if’. It’s happening. It’s just corporate rumour that global warming is a theory. Global warming is fact, and no matter how big the green industry is, or how much influence it weilds, the oil industry is ten times bigger and more powerful. Global warming has already started to take effect, and this period of denial could prove to be fatal.

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  4. I agree with the others, there is no ‘if’. In 2004, a review of 928 scientific papers in scientific journals between 1993 and 2003 found none (ie zero) that disagreed with the consensus position of anthropogenic climate change. Even this week, a review of published papers showed that the popular myth of sunspot activity causing warming was not shown to be borne out by the evidence.Even taking the ludicrous and unsupported position that nothing will change, the news is hardly good for the poorest people. Even in a no-change world, the weakest lose out. Encouraging people to think more about their energy and fuel useage in the developing world and encouraging the production of low-impact appropriate technology in the developing world is unlikely to make things much worse, in my opinion.

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