Climate Change

THE ‘CLIMATE CRISIS’: DON’T PANIC, IT’S NOT THE TITANIC! Part 1 of 2

During my 45 year legal career I had direct experience in environmental hearings with numerous scientists from various disciplines, both in the preparation and the presentation of their evidence. If they could survive my pre-hearing preparatory “cross-examination” they were likely to do well at the hearing. I wrote and edited a manual for First Nations on how to present their case in an environmental hearing, one of the first such books translated into Cree and Ojibway. I was legal counsel to Canada’s first federal environmental assessment process, assessing two major projects, during which I retained several environmental scientists for the hearing panels and cross-examined others. I also advised Canada’s Nuclear Waste Management Organization in the early stages of its formation.

In the last year I have spent many hundreds of hours reading texts, scientific publications and journalists’ articles about climate change, and I continue to do so daily.

I am not qualified to judge the mathematics used in scientific debates, but I am fully qualified to judge whether there is such a debate. I am also qualified to judge the logic scientists use in justifying their arguments. And finally, I am as well qualified as anyone to judge whether much of what we read in online publications by journalists, or in sponsored posts in social media, purporting to represent “the science” actually does.

It is striking to me how much of what is presented in the popular press is collective misinformation, a journalists’ opinion piece about what that non-scientist writer thinks are some scientists’ opinions about the future, presented as indisputable fact. For example, some journalists’ descriptions of the 2015 Paris Agreement demonstrate that they have never read either the Agreement itself or what various countries have promised to do under that Agreement. They merely repeat the misinformed opinions of others.

Even worse, there is a failure to ask the obvious questions one should ask about shocking and frightening statements: is it too bad to be true? Are my emotions being manipulated? For example, when I read that last summer was the hottest “on record” if I was cross-examining that author I would ask: how far back, in what “record” did you look; and how was the global temperature measured then and now? In some cases the “record” was opened a decade or two after much higher earlier temperatures. By excluding these earlier temperatures from the record recent temperatures were made to appear the hottest in that purposely selected time period.

However, in a selected longer record including many more years or even centuries, the temperatures in the earlier years were not taken from accurate thermometer measurements of that time because no accurate, complete and globally widespread measurements existed. Rather, temperatures from earlier years were estimated, and then compared to observed temperatures in more recent years. By estimating earlier years to have been colder than was likely and making judgmental adjustments to the temperature records of the recent past (e.g., to compensate for possible sampling error), the result may be to increase the slope of the temperature graph to overstate the rate and extent of recent warming.

Even the scientists’ description of the level of confidence they have in these judgments (e.g. “high confidence”), or their probability of being right, is subjective – tantamount to saying “I have high confidence in my own unverifiable opinions.” Yet the “warmest on record” estimates are presented as “fact” in the media even though it is mostly subjective judgment.

But subjective judgments go both ways. In other cases scientists look at the “paleoclimate” in geologic history going back millions of years, perhaps even before homo sapiens, or in the earliest days of humanity (when humanity was small groups of nomads), concluding that if extreme hot or cold temperatures occurred then there can be no problem today (when humanity is 7+ billion people in fixed settlements).

The time period selected and the data adjustments made to historic and recent temperatures largely determines the conclusions. And there is no single “right” time period or “right” adjustments; some just appear more reasonable than others.

I am fully aware that the only totally open mind is a totally empty mind. That is not me or you. So all I can do is try my best to be as objective and impersonal about the evidence as I can. Let me say at the outset that I do not believe in conspiracy theories; or evil scientists fraudulently altering data to create fake science. I assume that everyone is acting with the best of intentions, whether or not I might agree with their methods or conclusions.

I am also unpersuaded by the now common articles that claim to be “debunking” a list of “10 myths” or inconvenient truths presented by someone they disagree with. The myths attacked are usually an oversimplified ‘straw man’ argument, and the debunking often includes personal attacks, as in: she went to a 3rd rate university and didn’t get a PhD in climate science; or: he got his funding from the evil X (whether the oil industry or a foreign billionaire’s charitable foundation). And therefore what they say is just a myth. Working scientists and journalists all have to get their funding from somewhere. I don’t care where.

In today’s polarized times, it is a lot easier to get funded and published in peer reviewed journals when presenting a commonly held viewpoint than a skeptical or even contrarian one. Unfortunately, peer review is no longer the powerful tool it once was if all your peers think the way you do, but reject anyone who doesn’t. For these reasons I don’t look only at the author’s credentials, peer review or alleged sources of funding, but try to judge the presentation on the merits of the evidence and arguments presented.

My interest has been to look behind the headlines to form my own tentative and evolving conclusions. In retirement, I have the time and experience to ask the difficult and sometimes embarrassing questions without needing funding or peer review from anyone. Some of my conclusions will be presented in blog posts here. Keep reading.

Today’s much publicized ‘climate crisis’ is not so much an issue with dispassionately analyzing climate science as it is with some media creating extreme anxiety and a sense of impending doom. A large part of this emotional suffering is caused by dramatic, emotion-laden language and images that ‘go viral’, and which are meant to push our emotional buttons, particularly those labelled ‘fear’ and ‘anger’. “The hottest year on record” headline and story sells subscriptions and brings ads to eyeballs; a two-page spread on why this year’s temperature is less than the temperature in 1930’s is unpublishable.

Human understanding of complex factual issues is much better when we avoid extreme language and scary images which provoke and escalate anxiety. We don’t have a climate crisis, we have an emotional crisis about the climate.

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying there are no concerns about our changing climate, but to call it a crisis at this stage is unwarranted.  As well, the solutions usually proposed using currently developed technology can only be implemented over many decades, and at enormous cost. Wishful thinking is not a solution to anything.

In this initial blog post on climate change I will try to explain what is seriously wrong with the visual and verbal vocabulary used to describe climate change. Subsequent posts will deal with specific climate issues and proposed action.

Climate science discussions have become highly politicized and polarized in the last decade. This has made rational discussion more difficult for scientists and policy makers alike. That is why we now have climate crisis strikes, people needing psychological help for climate anxiety, international agreements that are never fulfilled and rising CO2 emissions causing even more anxiety.

End

Scientists and policy-makers calling each other nasty names like “deniers” and “alarmists” have increased rather than reduced anxiety. Dilbert creator Scott Adams has illustrated how this can play out with one of his usually ironic and hilarious cartoons.

DILBERT © Scott Adams. Used By permission of ANDREWS MCMEEL SYNDICATION. All rights reserved.

Dilbert2

Climate Deniers: A Vacant Category

There are currently two extreme, directly opposed viewpoints, perhaps best expressed in the US.

According to the Obama administration, 97% of ‘climate scientists’ actually agree that global warming is an urgent problem. If that was right it would follow that the 3% who do not share this view, the tiny group of “deniers”, are either incompetent or dishonest scientists, supposedly on the payroll of the fossil fuel industry. The “deniers” have been compared to the tobacco industry lobbyists who misled the public into believing that cigarette smoking was harmless. So “deniers” are depicted as evil and cruel people for propping up the dying fossil fuel industry, even as increasingly severe extreme weather events are killing more people and will soon make the planet uninhabitable for our children. You can’t get more evil than that!

On the other side of the swinging political pendulum, according to some in the Trump administration, human caused global warming is a ‘hoax’ by socialist “alarmists”, to benefit China. Also some right of centre commentators have criticized the United Nations, which created the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)  as promoting a fake ‘climate crisis’ to present the UN as the only possible world government capable of solving this existential crisis. It will do so by replacing greedy Western ‘capitalism’, global socialism, and redistributing the wealth of the developed nations to the poorer, developing ones.

What is particularly destructive in this debate of extremes is the name calling and personal insults between scientists with different views. Do we really want to have Republican science and Democratic science in the US, or Liberal science and Conservative science in Canada, depending upon who is currently in power? Do we really want one group of scientists calling another “deniers” and their opponents calling them “alarmists”, where each attacks the integrity and good faith of the other?

Here is well-known climate scientist Michael Mann insulting well-known climate scientist Judith Currie on Twitter:

Is this the way science should work? Skeptical testing of hypotheses against observations is the essence of science; name calling is not. Name-calling is not a persuasive argument. Calling someone a denier or an alarmist is substituting insult for information.

Who is a “climate change denier” (sometimes just called “climate denier”)? No one denies that the climate always changes. No one denies the existence of “climate”. Thus, “denier” is just an empty and meaningless swear word.

There are no facts about climate change – or anything else – in the future. There are only forecasts. A forecast is the opinion of the forecaster. It was common for the forecasters I saw testifying to say in self-defence something like “The only thing I know for sure about a forecast – mine or anyone else’s – is that it will be wrong. What I don’t know is by how much, and in what direction.” Another self-deprecating comment is that whoever lives by the crystal ball must be prepared to eat ground glass.

How much the global climate will change, over what time, and as caused by what, are essentially guesses about the future and causality. These guesses are subject to significant debate within the scientific community.

Some people (scientists, journalists and politicians) get very defensive and angry if you disagree with, or even just do not support, their opinions; opinions which to them are obviously the only correct ones. So they may call anyone who is less than an enthusiastic supporter a denier. When used in this dogmatic way, a denier is merely someone who disagrees with someone else’s opinion, usually about the future. If you don’t think someone else is as smart as they think they are then you are a denier. It is more socially acceptable for a scientist to call another scientist a denier than to use the common vulgar expression for the orifice at the opening of the rectum. Hence the usual expression is “denier”. But make no mistake about what is meant.

If disagreeing with, or even being skeptical about someone’s unverifiable opinion about the future gets someone called denier, so what? It reminds me of what former Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau responded when told that US President Richard Nixon had called him “an asshole”. He said “I have been called worse things by better people.”

If one scientist expresses the opinion that most of the recent climate change is warming caused by increasing atmospheric CO2, while another scientist disagrees with that opinion, each scientist denies their approval of the other’s opinion. Therefore, one is just as much a denier as the other. So if someone calls you a denier you could call them a denier in return – unless you consider such name calling to be juvenile.

Of course, the epithet “denier” intentionally evokes the image of a Holocaust denier, which is to imply that a scientist who is a denier is just as immoral as an anti-Semitic bigot. So if you disagree with, or are skeptical about a scientist’s forecast of the planet’s climate 80 years from now are you no better than an anti-Semitic bigot who denies the Holocaust? The person engaging in such smear tactics is more deserving of criticism that anyone so described. This is adolescent schoolyard bullying unworthy of scientists, or even politicians and journalists. Just don’t do it.

It would be more accurate to change the word “denier” to “disagreer”. But that would deprive the user of “denier” of the satisfaction of swearing at someone who has the nerve not to agree with their opinion.

Climate Alarmists

“Alarmist” is also an insult, but somewhat less offensive, as it does not convey the Holocaust denial image. Nevertheless, someone who believes the problem is worse than you believe it to be is as much entitled to their opinion as you are to yours, without being called an alarmist, or any other names.

Calling someone names merely suggests that the name caller could benefit from a course in anger management or good manners.

The Science

To talk about “the science” as in “I have listened to the science” or what “science has shown” is metaphorical. It is personifying science. But science is not a person to whom one can listen or with whom one can agree. There is no such person as “the science”. There are only individual scientists. That is why when our Prime Minister says he has listened to the science, he should tell us which scientists he has listened to, and why he agreed with them rather than with other scientists.

Greta Thunberg recently told world leaders to “unite behind the science”. That is to objectify science, and treat it as if it was a single, correct finding of fact. But science is neither a thing nor a fact.

Science is a method – of collecting, analyzing and debating observations to test hypotheses, by verifying them or falsifying them. See the famous and hilarious lecture by Nobel laureate Richard Feynman on the scientific method, in just 60 seconds: Richard Feynman.

When people say “the science has shown” (a personification) what they are really telling us is usually just what they heard or read about someone else describing what that other person heard someone else saying about what the science has shown. This is not a critical examination of scientific evidence but essentially gossip about science.

If you are not a scientist, or have not actually read and understood the numerous relevant scientific articles on both sides of an issue, you should not pretend to have scientific knowledge by using expressions like “the science has shown”. It would be more honest to admit that “ I have not read the numerous scientific reports on this subject, but my impression from the newspapers, TV and social media is that some/many/most scientists predict that …. etc.”.

A prediction or forecast – a mere human guess about the future – is not a proven fact, unless and until it happens as predicted. Any prediction of the global average temperature in 2100 will be unverifiable and unfalsifiable until 2100. A weather forecaster would be risking ridicule to publish a forecast more than two weeks ahead because the forecasting error would quickly be seen. However, a climate forecaster takes no risk publishing a forecast 80 or more years ahead because both the forecaster and the readers of the forecast will probably be dead by then.

Unless and until a climate scientist’s hypothesis is verified by actual observations it cannot be presented as a scientific fact. Numerous such forecasts that agree with each other closely may be called a consensus of the forecasters surveyed. But they cannot yet be called a scientific consensus because they are unverified by actual observations.
How much the planet’s climate will change, over how many decades or centuries, and with what causes, is an unresolved issue about which there is significant debate within the scientific community. In future blog posts I will canvass some of the issues in this debate.

Part 2 of this post will be published shortly. Stay tuned!

10 replies »

  1. Well said. Science has earned it’s well deserved reputation because of the scientific method: controlled, repeatable experiments that can be falsified. Climate Models are not science, they are speculations based on our current very limited understanding of many varying factors (sun cycles, planetary motion, cosmic rays, positive and negative feed back from clouds, the greenhouse effect of which CO2 is only as small player). The “97% of scientists” claim is meaningless: fewer than 1% of scientists study climate causality and most of them are highly specialized on the study of only one of the factors mentioned above. A zoologist can get funding to study the possible effect of changing climate on the Guatemalan tree frog, but he has no clue about climate causation.

    The CO2 panic is entirely explained by the human vulnerability through religious history to any claim by some authority of collective guilt.

    You will find similar thinking most excellently presented by Tony Heller on Youtube and by the Manhattan Contrarian on the web.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. A very well-argued appeal to authority (yours, not the climate scientists). The fact remains, however, that you are not a climate scientist and therefore not qualified to render most of the opinions in this blog post. That said I appreciate your analysis of legal issues. Stick to your knitting, is my opinion.

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    • The focus of this introductory post is about the semantics of the debate, the use of language like ‘denier’, ‘alarmist’, ‘the science’ etc. I don’t think I was offering climate science opinions as such.

      However, there is no single definition of climate science, which is also a problem. Physicists, statisticians, meteorologists, engineers of all sorts, chemists, economists etc. are all opining and arguing regularly on scientific, economic and policy issues related to climate, from their different perspectives. Some have undergraduate degrees, some have PhDs. So who is a climate scientist? In practice, whoever says they are. (I make no such claim.)

      Someone who got a degree in political science or meteorology or physics or law 30+ years ago has probably forgotten most of what they learned, and a lot of it is now obsolete. Almost everything I learned in law school was rendered obsolete within 1-2 decades by the legislature legislating us into ignorance. But the real lesson of law school was to learn to educate myself, as the new laws were written or new interpretations created by the courts. I have applied that lesson to studying climate change.

      Someone not originally educated in mainstream climate science at university decades ago can still learn a lot from reading and thinking, and in time, become almost as knowledgeable about climate issues as the PhD from 30 years ago.

      I will, indeed, stick to my knitting, but that is not limited to analysis of laws as written or practiced. From years of working as counsel for, and opposing counsel to numerous environmental scientists I have developed some understanding of sound and unsound scientific arguments. As I said above, a scientist calling another a nasty name is not a sound argument.

      In a future blog post I will analyze the Paris Agreement, which is widely misreported in the media. That will be more law-related than this two-part introduction.

      Liked by 2 people

    • The appeal to authority is entirely yours. What qualifications would be necessary to render an opinion on this issue? Are you even qualified to judge someone else’s qualifications?

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  3. Thank you Andrew for clarifying our understanding. In response to the posting above, you are more than qualified to render the opinions in this blog. And being that the subject of climate change covers many disciplines, we need foxes as well as hedgehogs. I look forward to your future posts.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Nice summary, Andrew. My only critique comes from a funny angle: your reference to PET’s reaction when he was told that all(!) of Richard Nixon’s references to him in the White House tapes took the form “that asshole Trudeau”!
    At the time, I was a young liberal green Nixon-loathing peacenik university instructor chasing my best job offer (after a sheltered 3-year junior faculty post at Princeton) by immigrating to Toronto and UofT. So I was unusually interested in demonstrations of the relative impressiveness of the two countries and their leaders.

    At the time, IIRC, Nixon was about to be impeached, except that he resigned first, and PET was in Europe trying to diversify Canada’s petroleum exports past the USA when the press caught up with him for comment.

    And I think that variations on the classic “I’ve been called worse things by better men” were somewhat more frequently heard than they are today.

    When I heard PET responding to the Nixon revelations, I assumed that he would be repeating that cliché – as you have recalled. But he did not! He twisted the cliché at the end! What he actually said was “[On reflection… I’m sure that …] I’ve been called worse things… by worse men!”

    On my way from Princeton to Toronto, I was reassured that my new country’s leader wasn’t just NOT Nixon, but also seemed to have a few dozen IQ points on him! 🙂

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  5. While denier IS a rather nasty, though meaningless, deliberate pejorative, the same cannot be said for alarmist, as alarmist is an accurate description of the radical position and rhetoric of the believers. Despite it’s radical nature given the paucity of definitive evidence to support it and the extremity of the consequences were the alarmist-based policies to be implemented, it is nevertheless the mainstream view.
    So in my opinion one term is appropriate and the other not.

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  6. I know you wrote this post some time ago. I did want to offer my thoughts on the “CO2 is (or isn’t) a pollutant” non-argument as I find it a nice blend of science and policy.
    First I am going to disagree, mildly, with your saying that it isn’t, and then I am going to show why I agree that saying it is is, indeed, misleading and unhelpful.

    It is true that CO2, exhaled by both animals *and plants* is part of the necessary currency of all life on earth, and probably anywhere else in the universe where it might also exist. No one can know what the optimal concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere would be. All we can say is that life on earth has both changed the CO2 content (through photosynthesis) and evolved in the presence of whatever the content was at the relevant times, present and past. Whether it would be “better” if it were higher or lower than it is now is strictly a human-values question. And the likely answer is the usual, “better for some, worse for others”.

    However, there is no doubt that atmospheric CO2 behaves as a greenhouse gas. The argument (not made by you but by one of your commenters) that the cause of global warming is “the sun”, is easily refuted by noting that if that were true, the upper atmosphere would become warmer along with the land and oceans. But in fact it has become cooler as CO2 levels have risen, just as the outside of a thick down duvet you have snuggled under in a cold room is cooler than the outside of the thin cotton sheet that was allowing your body heat to leak through it. Less heat is being radiated back out to space. (You may recall this principle during the Occupy Toronto protests when it was reported that the police were using infra-red cameras to verify that for much of the time no one was actually spending the night in any those tents. Either that or they had really good sleeping bags, which prevented the cameras from seeing their body heat.)

    So rising levels of CO2 in the atmosphere will, *all else being equal* (but it never is) cause the atmosphere to warm up. How much? Would that be a bad thing? I don’t know. But if we believe it would be a bad thing, we have to regard rising levels as bad and a proper object of attempts at reduction. We do have to consider bang-for-the-buck arguments, sure. But in the broad sense it is behaving like a pollutant.

    There is also no doubt that water vapour accounts for most of the “greenhouse” effect, and water vapour is produced by respiration of living things, all combustion (including pure hydrogen), and many industrial processes. Molecule for molecule, CO2 absorbs far more infrared than H2O, but there is far more H2O in the atmosphere than there is CO2, so both gasses have important imacts on the heat flux of the atmosphere. But unlike CO2, whose concentration can rise without bound, the amount of water vapour that the atmosphere can hold is limited by the dew point: at a certain temperature, any further water vapour condenses out as fog or rain. CO2 can’t be made to condense at any naturally occurring terrestrial temperature. The amount of water vapour the atmosphere can hold rises with temperature, so a warmer atmosphere traps more heat simply because the water-vapour content is (slightly) higher when the air is (slightly) warmer, giving rise (theoretically) to a positive-feedback runaway. Unlike CO2, the water-vapour content (“humidity”) varies markedly around the world and from day-to-day in the same place, making it difficult to peg the impact of water vapour on the long-term greenhouse effect. When the atmospheric modelers say they can’t account for clouds, this is partly what they are referring to. But making the true statement that water vapour is a greenhouse gas does not say anything about whether CO2 is worth tackling and is therefore a red herring.

    Finally, I must take issue with the argument that CO2 can’t be a pollutant because we breathe kilograms of the stuff out every day, and green plants use it to make sugar and oxygen. The flux of CO2 (and H2O) from things living today represents carbon that was fixed into food molecules (by crop plants or food animals that ate them) a few weeks or months ago. It doesn’t result in net CO2 being added to the atmosphere and in that sense is absolutely not a form of pollutions, unless you are trapped in a sealed room with no way to eliminate the CO2 you breathe out. Then you will die, even with a supply of oxygen. (Agriculture and grazing may have other impacts, good and bad, but those are beside my point.)
    The burning of fossil fuels, on the other hand, releases CO2 that was fixed into those fuel molecules by ferns and dinosaurs over an astonishingly large number of millions of years. Instead of all decaying when they died, thus maintaining a “modern” carbon cycle, their remains were laid down as the world’s great coal beds and oil & gas basins. All that photosynthesis, unbalanced by decay, lowered the CO2 level — this we know — and raised the O2 level, possibly — just my conjecture — paving the way for quick-moving birds and mammals with a high metabolic rate per unit surface area that could be sustained only by abundant atmospheric oxygen. Widespread burning of fossil fuels since 1750 is returning that trapped “reduced” carbon (pure carbon as coal and the hydrocarbons of petroleum, and trapped in coal as well, which is where most of the smoke and soot from coal come from) back to the atmosphere as CO2, catching up with what natural decay failed, through an accident of geology, to do in eons past.

    So burning of fossil fuels has a fundamentally different impact on the earth’s heat budget than the respiration and decay of modern living things, or even the burning of wood that was grown many years ago. Even old-growth forests are nowhere near the age of even a “young” oil basin. Similarly, planting trees today to sequester carbon might be useful as a short-term carbon sink, but when those trees burn or decay, they will release carbon (as CO2) promptly back into the atmosphere. If we are serious about AGW (and I am not, because no one else is, really), there is really no choice but to leave the oil and coal in the ground for all eternity.

    Now I will show why, notwithstanding the forgoing, labelling CO2 as a pollutant is indeed misleading.

    1) Most people think of pollutants as minor or trace by-products of industrial processes, with clear toxicity to health, that with sufficient regulation, fines, or lawsuits against the “polluters” can be eliminated through technological finesse without any cost or inconvenience to themselves. Sometimes this works. Bronze is no longer made with arsenic and steel is better (and cheaper, once we learned how to smelt it) than bronze for almost every application today anyway. So, by the same argument, we should make the polluters pay for the CO2 emitted by the processes that make things that we want to buy, just like we made them pay to get rid of mercury, lead, soot, fluorocarbons, and nitric oxide. As it happens, all these “pollutants” except the last have no biologic role and are poisons, pure and simple. Since the best value, from a health perspective, loose in the environment is zero, elimination seemed sensible. (The DDT story is more complex. It has saved more lives than any other chemical but is harmful to raptors.)

    However, most people are surprised to learn that the CO2 released from a smokestack or tailpipe weighs more than 3 times as much as the fuel burned. Some are even surprised that it is not possible to burn any fuel except hydrogen without this tyranny of basic chemistry. Support for a carbon [dioxide] tax of $150/tonne quickly turns into a rock-throwing riot when this translates to a gas tax of 65 cents a litre. And (in France) that was before Covid tested our social obedience. Even if the tax is levied on “polluters”, like the oil and gas industry, whom do the people think will pay the resulting costs of the products we buy from them, or made and transported to us with fossil fuels?.

    2) Most “pollution” is local. Engineers when I was in school said, “The solution to pollution is dilution.” Build a taller smokestack in Sudbury and the trees will grow back as the plume falls in a more dispersed pattern farther downwind where it does less harm. It all rains out eventually, just like forest-fire smoke. So it made sense to improve air and water quality in one’s own country or province or town, by fiat if necessary. But, as you said, carbon dioxide knows no boundaries. It doesn’t rain out or turn into something else until taken up by a green plant and a few percent of it turned into biomass. Even one’s most vigorous efforts to reduce CO2 emission locally will make no difference unless the countries that make most of the products we consume stop making them for us. This, as you and Prof. Viminitz agree, is a collective action problem which, like all CAPs where there is no “king” to impose a law that everyone must comply with, is intractable. (We are seeing this at work now with the dispute over fishing for lobster out of season, where the “king” won’t act and some of the subjects think they subjects of no “king” but themselves.) Even if one claims the AGW science itself is iron-clad and we are all doomed, trying to pretend that CO2 isn’t a CAP (by pretending that local reduction of CO2 “pollutants” will benefit us — or, worse, “do our part to benefit the world” even as it harms us — is intellectually dishonest.

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    • You have a far better understanding of the science than I do, but I try to make my blog accessible to people with degrees in history, sociology, law, or no degree at all. Instead of writing in detail about the scientific issues around the extent to which climate change is caused by various factors, including CO2, I focus on policy issues. This often brings me to the manipulative vocabulary politicians and some NGOs use to “sell” certain policies, and the media’s uncritical amplification of this vocabulary.

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