September 24, 2006

Global Warming--Uncertainty Should Breed Skepticism

At least that should be the lesson when scientists' conclusions are disputed:
The words "global warming" provoke a sharp retort from Colorado State University meteorology professor emeritus William Gray: "It's a big scam."

And the name of climate researcher Kevin Trenberth elicits a sputtered "opportunist."

At the National Center for Atmospheric Research, where Trenberth works, Gray's name prompts dismay. "Bill Gray is completely unreasonable," Trenberth says. "He has a mind block on this."

Only 55 miles separate NCAR's headquarters, nestled in the Front Range foothills, from CSU in Fort Collins. But when it comes to climate change, the gap is as big as any in the scientific community.

At Boulder-based NCAR, researchers project a world with warmer temperatures, fiercer storms and higher seas.

From CSU, Gray and Roger Pielke Sr., another climate professor emeritus, question the data used to make those projections and their application to regional climate change.
"Science needs skeptics," said NCAR researcher Warren Washington. Hear, hear!

More from the article:
Most scientists also agree extreme weather events like Hurricane Katrina or Los Angeles' July record 119-degree Fahrenheit temperature cannot be directly attributed to global warming.

On this much there is some scientific consensus.
The whole article details some of the main contentions from both "global warming"/"climate change" adherents, and the counter-arguments made by skeptics like Gray and Pielke. What is clear is that the science underpinning the understanding of a complex system like Earth's atmosphere does not lend itself to simplistic explanations, and therefore consensus should not easily be achieved. Even if observed global temperatures have risen since the 19th century, as scientists argue, the reason for the warming is much less clear. There lies the dispute, and the need for a healthy dose of skepticism.

Enviro hacks and "global warming" scaremongers misapprehend and misrepresent what motivates skeptics to draw alternative conclusions to their rather dire forecasts. Skeptics do not wish to pollute more, increase profits for some oil company, or advance "George W. Chimpy McHitlerburton"'s evil global scheme for empire. Skeptics do, however, wish to base public policy on sound science. Conclusions made without meaningful backing (scientific proof instead of "consensus") lead to meaningless gestures that ruin economies and could trigger worse environmental worries than those caused by stable, growing economies.

Just think what an economically depressed world would be to environmental standards, as states compete for dwindling and increasingly expensive fuel and raw material resources. Healthier and wealthier economies, like the United States, have the economic ability to pursue expensive alternative fuel methods, and improve environmental standards through invention, free-market reform, and capitalism. To the hard-left/enviros this represents "evil" exploitation. To level-headed rational people, this represents a much better alternative to toothless Kyoto-style treaties filled more with hope and wishful thinking and based on shoddy or agenda-driven science.



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