The last of the sceptics
As the formal release of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report on Climate Change draws nearer, quite a few skeptics have been going public to say that the evidence is now overwhelming. Here, for example, is Michael Shermer, who, appropriately enough, writes the Skeptic column for the Scientific American. He’s no fan of eco-alarmism, but he is a skeptic in the true sense of the term – someone who demands convincing evidence but is willing, when presented with such evidence to change their views. And here’s Sir David Attenborough.
There may still be a few more such announcements to come. But it’s clear by now that the evidence is more than enough to convince genuine sceptics. Those who refuse to accept overwhelming evidence are more correctly described as denialists.
If the accumulation of evidence isn’t enough to convince former ‘sceptics’ to change their tune, how about the embarrassment of being associated with the clown show that is denialism in 2006? To take a few of many examples, how about:
* The Competitive Enterprise Institute ad campaign on the theme ‘CO2: they call it pollution, we call it Life!’; or
* ‘long range weather forecaster’ (ahem) Ken Ring, who says that “CO2 is also nearly twice as heavy as air (molecular weight 44, that of air 29) so it cannot rise anywhere beyond haze level of a couple of hundred feet.” His work is published by the New Zealand Climate Science Coalition (via Tim Lambert?
At least Ring and Landscheidt are or were sincerely deluded. The same can’t be said of the CEI, which is at the centre of the dark nexus between global warming denialism and the tobacco lobby, symbolised by people like Stephen Milloy, Fred Seitz and Fred Singer.
Of course, not all the scientists who accept the evidence on global warming are sensible. Given that there are thousands of scientists working on the topic, this is inevitable. There may even be some as silly as the examples listed above (though I’m not aware of any). But take them away and you still have thousands of serious scientists and tens of thousands of papers supporting the scientific side of the argument. Take away the Lavoisier Institute, CEI and the rest from the anti-science side and you have nothing.
In this context, it’s interesting to note a failed attempt by Ron Bailey to split the difference, counterposing the CEI ads and Al Gore’s presentation of An Inconvenient Truth. While he’s taken some pretty dubious stances, Bailey has more concern for his credibility than the clowns mentioned above, and, after taking a hammering for his obfuscation, he quickly recognised that the CEI was truly indefensible.