When I’m really busy, as is the case at the moment, my reading of the climate blogs is almost perfunctory–I steal a glance at blogs when I’m in a taxi or on a plane, but I’m really just scanning for actual news or something that isn’t a bland repeat of old stories and arguments.
This week actually had stories of interest and I’m sorry I didn’t have time to delve more deeply. But in one sense, rationing my time brought something else new to me–the dawning realization that those strongly committed to a certain segment of the spectrum of opinions on climate change are so far apart and deeply entrenched that I don’t see any chance of reconciliation. The most I think we can hope for is that the argument drifts away from climate change and on to the next millenial threat.
The follow up paper by Stephan Lewandowsky was one of the most widely covered topics of the week, including my dismissal of it as actual science here. Skeptics joined me in denigrating its methodology, analysis and conclusions–Bishop Hill having posted several times on it, the final one (so far) being here, while Jo Nova posts on it here.
Defenders of the story have tellingly kept to the comments section. And their defense is not of the actual paper, but of the a priori opinions that drove Lewandowsky to write it.
Since I called Lewandowsky a charlatan in my earlier piece about his paper, I might as well go the whole hog and say that I think he is lying about one aspect of this whole sorry affair. I believe that his original paper, an incendiary string of insults based on a phony push polls that he falsely claimed were the opinions of skeptics, was in fact bait set out to garner responses for his second paper.
It is Earth Hour as I write this, and Earth Hour has received a lot of attention from the skeptics this year, as it has for the last few years. While environmentalists want to use it as a symbol of the world’s commitment to reducing energy consumption and the CO2 it brings, skeptics point out that energy is actually just as much a symbol of humanity’s ability to conquer the elements and bring light, heat and wealth to a species that cowered in caves.
No reason we can’t do both, of course, but as a Lukewarmer, let me offer a third reason to honor our ingenuity in producing energy and our concern for the consequences. Let’s make Earth Hour a commitment to the billion people on this planet unable to make this gesture, as they don’t have power to switch off for an hour. Let’s tie a yellow ribbon around a light pole and start every newscast with ‘Day Number 100,000 of humanity held hostage, with one in seven of us unable to access the energy grid that leads to health and prosperity.’