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4 February, 2009

Climatic heresy

I have extremely limited patience with those who deny the existence of anthropogenic climate change ('global warming', or AGW, though that media-friendly term is too simplistic), but that's primarily for their irresponsible 'carry-on-as-if-nothing_is-happening-la-la-la' attitude.  It doesn't mean I'm some sort of believer in AGW, and everything is open to question (just not flat denial): it could be that climate change is natural variability.

Here are a few points to consider, though it's also worth considering that they're the arguments carefully selected by one person with a thesis to sell, some are irresponsibly ludicrous, and though 'lone voice challenging the establishment' is a romantic idea, it's usually wrong.
Before accepting any of Solomon's allegations, I'd need to see peer-reviewed, published data replicated by other researchers, rather than assertions: I'd be vastly more confident about meta-analysis of multiple studies than one or two anomalous, attention-grabbing studies which 'disprove' the rest. If "a study has shown..." that's not good enough for me.

If a majority of studies conclude that AGW exists, that doesn't mean it's a conspiracy, and I am predisposed to 'believe' them – on a balance-of-probability basis, not faith – but models are frequently revised as new factors are identified or their significances realised. Climate change is undeniable, but its causes are open to scrutiny. Let's avoid entrenching positions, on either side.

But in the mean time, it's only prudent to assume human activity is artificially affecting the climate, and act responsibly. We can't wait for 100% proof/disproof, and the 'proof' side currently carries a lot more weight.

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