Friday, March 05, 2010

Credible Sceptics

The guardian is apparently going to stop calling climate change deniers, deniers but will instead call them 'climate change sceptics'. Bad move people - you need to call it like it is. I have argued why deniers are deniers several times here. That still stands. However there are a couple of people that I would be happy to call a sceptic. Here's the critera to be included...

Be a Relevant Scientist - You need to know what you are talking about. Opinions are cheap, informed opinions are valuable. The science of climate change is complex and you need to understand what is being said before you can critique it. You need to know the area to find your way.

NO Economists - Of the critics of climate science, this is the most common type. These people might be able to debate the costs and economics of it, fine - but the science? C'mon! The money-centric view does not quality you to pronounce on the science.

NO Technical disciplines; (e.g. Meterologists & Engineers) - again there is a place for your knowledge, but to be credible you need to know the area and just by virtue of understanding some the system as it is does not give you supernatural powers to understand the meta-system over time.

NO People shilling with oil/gas/coal and/or right-wing think tank money - If you're paid by shadowy figures wanting you to back one opinion, then you're not credible. (I know climate scientists are paid, but they are not paid to arrive at a set outcome as a shill is, but to arrive at the outcome to facts point to. All that conspiracy for research grants shit has zero evidence and is frankly lizard-men territory.)

NO creationists/dowsers/orgone energy or other new-age shit - Frankly if you believe in hocus-pocus, then you have no place in a science debate.

Note; I'm not saying that you can have an opinion if you don't meet my criteria, it just that you need to understand that it is just that; opinion. So it carries that much weight; not much. So who does that leave within the public debate? I'd say 2 (yes just two people!!!) are credible climate sceptics and 1 boarder-line (Dyson).. That is next to hundreds of thousands of credible voices who accept climate change:

John Christy - The most credible sceptic. He accepts it is happening and humans are doing it, but it's contents that it is not as bad as predicted.

Roger Pielke, Jr - His main issue is that you can't say hurricanes are the issue and also objects to the spending planned to combat it.

Freeman Dyson - A physicist who is not convinced, but admits out of his area.

And that, as they say, is it for credible sceptics.


Anonymous said...

I used to read the GUARDIAN's Comment is Free section but it eventually got swamped with deniers repeating the same old zombie arguments, and became very boring, overloaded with repetitive denial and targeted by drive-by, single-post sock-puppets. Even the most outlandish of denial gets lots of recommendations, somehow.
I hope they don't stop the ordinary commenters from using the term 'denier' when it's needed, though - and, boy, is it needed over there !


anarchist said...

Great point - and I agree about the trolling to the Comment is Free site..

David Rose said...

Hi, I like your blog, its well informed but one sided in the climate debate. For instance if global human produced CO2 emissions are cut by 90%
over the next five years .... can you tell me with any level of certainty what the effect is going to be on global warming, weather etc. The problem (nightmare?) we are all facing is that we just do not know what the effect of a 90% reduction of human produced CO2 will be. Climate is a chaotic system and we cannot predict or control that system.

CO2 reduction is not the magic silver bullet. Concentrating on CO2
is instrumental - treating planet earth like its a machine or a car.
Typical modernist arrogance with delusions of control?

Surely we should concentrate on maintaining eco-systems that might preserve life on earth ... eg: Amazon Rain forest, fish stocks etc?

anarchist said...

Hi David, thanks for the comments - I for one would love to get into the nitty-gritty of the debate about how we respond to climate change; however the denial position of anti-science obfuscation means we're still arguing over the basic science.

Climate is a chaotic system; while it is very difficult to predict it's exact state at any given time; predicting the parameters within which the system operates is pretty easy with today's technology and knowledge.

I agree the issue is not simply CO2 - it is more complex (though CO2 is a major factor) - predicting what will happen with relative emission drops is also possible.

Anonymous said...

This is wrong. All climate change deniers are climate change sceptics. However, not all climate change sceptics are climate change deniers.

A climate change denier is someone who says that the climate is not changing. You might call this strong scepticism.

A weak climate change sceptic is someone who does not say that the climate is changing, but does not say that it isn't either.