Thursday, May 30, 2013

Why I Don't Trust the "Climate Consensus"

Freeman Dyson is a Princeton, New Jersey physicist who columnist Paul Mulshine identifies as the heir to Albert Einstein's title of "most brilliant physicist on the planet." Dyson is also a proud skeptic of the global warming "consensus" and major critic of today's computer model-driven climatology field.

One thing I found particularly interesting is Dyson's belief that "Atmospheric CO-2 may actually be improving the environment." Mulshine writes:

   "It’s certainly true that carbon dioxide is good for vegetation," Dyson said. "About 15 percent of agricultural yields are due to CO-2 we put in the atmosphere. From that point of view, it’s a real plus to burn coal and oil."   In fact, there’s more solid evidence for the beneficial effects of CO-2 than the negative effects, he said.

Dyson touched on one of the reasons that I don't trust the so-called "climate consensus."

I left these comments:

Dyson's observation that "there’s more solid evidence for the beneficial effects of CO-2 than the negative effects" is a breath of fresh air. It's long past time that the extraordinary benefits of fossil fuels are recognized.

Global warming ideologues give no consideration to what's good for human beings. Their concern is only for the "environment"--meaning, untouched nature. What about the human environment? Raw nature is misery and death to human beings. Industrialization--man-made alterations to the natural environment, powered predominantly by fossil fuels--has made our lives longer, healthier, and happier. Fossil fuels have vastly improved earth's environment, from the perspective of human life as the standard of value. Even if one concedes that human activity is the primary driver of global warming, the gentle warming over the past century and a half is a small price to pay--if it even is, on balance, a price--for the vast improvement in our standard of living brought about by fossil fuel-driven industrialization. 

There are several other reasons why I believe the "consensus" is far from what it is portrayed to be.

Environmentalists have succeeded in making global warming (or "climate change") synonymous with disaster. Floods, droughts, bigger storms, wildfires, mass extinctions, heat waves, cold waves, and even blizzards--you name it, if it's bad, it's global warming. But, the contention that the effects of global warming are uniformly catastrophic is absurd on its face. A warmer planet has historically correlated with flourishing life. The disaster scenario does serve a political purpose, though: It serves as a rationalization for government expansionism to head off the disaster.  

Which leads to my next reason for my mistrust of the consensus: The "solutions" to global warming are uniformly statist; i.e., expanding government power and shrinking liberty and individual rights. This indicates that the global warming consensus is really a statist political movement. 

Further, the politicization of science brought about by government funding renders the "science" behind global warming suspicious, to put it mildly. Who pays the piper calls the tune. How much of the "consensus" is true and how much of it is geared toward satisfying politicians with the "correct" conclusions so as not to jeopardize future funding? Government funding does not automatically mean that the science is wrong, of course. But how much is it skewed? It's impossible to know without reading the minds of scientists and politicians. Government funding is by nature and definition politicization, and science funding is no exception. The very presence of government funding casts a political pall over the "consensus". Climate science can not be fully trusted until government funding of science ends.

Finally, the heavy use of ad hominem tactics—smearing opponents personally rather than refuting the issues raised is a method used by intellectual cowards. The refusal, in most cases, of climate alarmists to understand and debate issues raised by "skeptics" indicates a lack of conviction for their case—and an element of panic. As increasingly shrill predictions of climate catastrophe or "chaos" meet with growing indifference on the part of the public, so grows the climate alarmists' ad hominem attacks. 

Related Reading:

Climate Cabal Exploits Sandy for Statist Ideological Purposes

The Wreckage of the "Climate Consensus"

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