Blogging about another blog may seem a little excessive, but I found one blog to be a perfect example of what I consider to be the cult of global warming. The website grist.com is a great source for news on the energy and environment, and I find them to be somewhat reasonable in posting information that may contradict their agendas (which are very transparent). Being an environmental website they do not hesitate to make it known that manmade global warming is real and certain.
If you’ve read my blog before you probably can tell I am very skeptical about manmade global warming. The reason for this is pretty simple; these reports are based on scientific evidence and study, and the scientific method suggests you should remain skeptical in the face of insubstantial evidence. We unfortunately do not have substantial evidence; we have models that show a rise in temperature as our CO2 levels have gone up, over a very short period of time. To correlate these two and model future change based on a small sample size (of reliable data) and a completely insufficient understanding of how our global climate system works will never get you forecasts you can take to the bank. However, I certainly will say that these models do show what could happen, and if there is only a 1% chance they are right we should still try to prevent them. If there was a 1 in 100 chance your plane would crash, you’d probably bring a parachute, right?
So as a responsible skeptic of global warming, and someone who also has contempt for flat out irrational climate change deniers I was very interested to read the following blog entry on grist.com:
The blog starts out well and good, outlining the difference between global warming skeptics and global warming deniers, and even goes on to praise skeptics to a degree for their importance in the scientific process. However as you read further the blog does what just about everything written to support global warming does; make sweeping claims that verifiable data is the same thing as verifiable long term forecasts.
The blog notes that skeptical scientists found the data behind global warming studies to be true. That is all well and good, but that does not mean the long term projections on climate change or models that correlate CO2 levels and global warming are accurate. There is a big difference between verifying recorded data and verifying models of the endlessly complex climate system on our planet.
I suppose a true global warming skeptic will be very hard to win over. We aren’t likely to come to full understanding of how all the different systems on our planet (atmosphere, ocean, ecology, solar activity, etc) interact to impact our climate. Without understanding that system completely any long term climate models are no more accurate than trying to predict a quarterback’s performance over a season without accounting for the defenders he will be playing against.
Those who endlessly beat the drum of manmade global warming are no doubt important in getting the public to be aware of the potential problem and what we can do to prevent it. But these people also do themselves a serious disservice with their sense of absolute certainty in something that is really nothing more than an incomplete forecasting model.