Skeptics are NOT arguing against Global Warming

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In a post in the SFGate blog, Dr Peter Gleick sets out to counter AGW skepticism by painting skeptics as deniers and bar-room brawlers.

He starts by stating that there is no argument against global warming, ignoring the fact that skeptics do not argue that global warming is not happening.  That’s the first mistake.  There are red-necked fools who deny that the earth warmed from the mid-nineteenth century and throughout the twentieth, certainly.  But they are not the skeptics.

Then he says: “in this world, no alternative explanation for climate change has ever come close to doing a better job than the science produced by the climate community and represented by the IPCC“.  There are two big things wrong with that statement.

Firstly, the IPCC and all the scientists who are funded by the AGW group have never provided any evidence that the recent warming is unprecedented.  It is clear that the Medieval Roman warm periods were at least as warm as the present, and some studies indicate they may have been much warmer.

Secondly, the “scientific” explanations of the IPCC themselves do not come close to explaining the warming.  All they have is models that include only the possible causes they know about and are capable of modelling, with all of their weightings tuned to enable reasonable hind-casting, applied to a warming world.  When the models approximately predict the global temperature (and they are very approximate) the climate change scientists conclude that they have proved their estimate of the climate forcing due to man-made CO2, and that their forecasts of temperature rises to come in the twenty-first century must therefore be correct.  They give this technique a fancy name – they call it “optimal detection”.  The very notion that the earth cools and warms in cycles, and that in inter-glacial periods like the present, there are mini-cycles of warm periods between little ice-ages is dismissed as unscientific wishful thinking.  It is nothing of the kind.  It’s simple observation.  And within the last two thousand years, we have written history to draw upon.

He then groups opponents as “marginal, discredited climate deniers”, put up by the media.  Hmmm.  He wants us to infer that Spencer, Lindzen, Watts, D’Aleo, McIntyre, Christy, Pielke Sr (and Jr.), Idso, Soon, Loehle, Micheals, Moberg, Singer, Landsea, Plimer, Ball etc are not serious scientists, just deniers.  That is quite some diversion he is attempting in his posting.

The next step he takes is to associate skeptics by implication with the right-wing red-necked ravers, who place hate-filled comments in climate blogs: “… there’s no such thing as global warming, you f!@%$#%@ing idiot and your f!@%$#%@ing colleagues.”  I understand his annoyance with that sort of offensive rubbish.  But such obscene tripe is in no way comparable with skeptical argument, and Peter Gleick knows it.

He finishes with a Simpsons cartoon showing an AGW opponent as a bully.  All-in-all, his posting is not a reasoned essay opposing the skeptical position.  It is a swinging, no-holds-barred, boots-and-all attempt to discredit all skeptics as bar-room brawlers.  He is not arguing logically, not speaking as a scientist.  He is displaying the very bullying behaviour that he accuses skeptics of.

But then, as he himself says, oblivious to the irony: “The world of policy often doesn’t give a hoot for the world of science.”

References:

Peter Gleik’s complaint: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/gleick/detail??blogid=104&entry_id=58962

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