The swiftboating of climate science

One thought on “The swiftboating of climate science”

  1. I find the rise of anti-science quite dismaying. The conviction and fervor of the climate change disbelievers has remarkable potency and it isn’t impacted by resort to referencing the data or conclusions of those who professionally study climate. That most people have not been clearly impacted by climate change yet – and the indisputable part of ‘clearly impacted’ may always prove illusive – and this combines with general apathy, lack of real knowledge and deliberate disinformation campaigns means it looks like a major uphill battle to get serious policy based on best available knowledge in place. What worries me most is the immediacy of the debate versus the lag-time inherent in climate change; by the time there are serious impacts that are generally accepted the option to prevent the worst case outcomes will be lost. And more economic dependence on fossil fuels will become entrenched.

    I really hope that the best available knowledge on climate will win out but most people aren’t able to discern the difference between that and disinformation. Even my own acceptance of the reality of AGW is a matter of trust in the practitioners and institutions of science; I certainly lack the skills required to critique the nuts and bolts of climate science even if I’m more willing to accept that human activities are implicated in the temperature rises, glacial retreat, icesheet melt, sea level an ocean heat content rise.

    I’m always a bit wary of arguments based on a single indicator, a selected bit of a selected graph or selected comments from particular people; surely the strength of the case for warming is that all the relevant indicators show it and so much science supports anthropogencic CO2 as a major cause. A serious weakness for the denialist case is that it relies on being selective in what it highlights rather than inclusive of all the available data. As for the use of smear, innuendo, and appeals aimed at the political soft spots of the lay public, I’d like to think the truth will win through but the capacity of people to believe stuff just because the right people say it seems bottomless.

    Right now I’m afraid I don’t see humanity has the foresight, integrity and strength of commitment to deal with AGW effectively. Such pessimism isn’t permanent fortunately; at other times I’ve been sure that ultimately people will take the science from CSIRO, NCAR, NOAA, CRU, etc over the anti-science that is so widely available and heavily promoted. And maybe we’ll still see ultra cheap solar and high capacity batteries in time to make a real impact, able to do what fossil fuels can but at lower cost – and fossil fuel use will collapse for short term economic reasons, without all the politicking.


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