Wow! It is amazing how the climate is changing concerning climate change (lazy pun intended).
My own opinion about it has been expressed in this blog before (see here: “Climategate and faith in ‘science'”), and I think that James Taranto in today’s Best of the Web well summarizes the position I have held:
“As we’ve written on various occasions, we didn’t know enough about the substance of the underlying science to make a judgment about it. But we know enough about science itself to recognize that the popular rendition of global warmism–dogmatic, doctrinaire and scornful of skepticism–is not the least bit scientific. The revelations in the Climategate emails show that these attitudes were common among actual scientists, not just the popularizers of their work.”
But, wow, how things are shifting! From Dr. Phil Jones hedging his positions carefully to more public concessions and statements by scientists that the weather stations showing some increased temperatures have been more affected by local changes that global ones, such as local urbanization (which many AGW skeptics have pointed to for years) — it seems as though some honesty and information is creeping into the public debate & discussion.
I remain an global warming agnostic: Yes, Phil Jones concedes that the rise in temperatures that have been observed over 1995-2009 are not statistically significant and that there possibly has been a decrease in temperatures since 2002 — again, however, not statistically significant. But it is also true that the matter of climate change is a complicated beast, and that these considerations, alone, aren’t enough to overturn an argument.
But the information that has been presented in the past several years are not enough to strongly establish an argument, either. And that’s what I appreciate about Climategate, the IPCC revelations, etc. — the facts are beginning to be discussed more broadly, not just the hype.
In light of all of this, a television program I saw on History Channel International last night seemed truly archaic. It was produced in 2006, I believe (could be wrong about that) and discussed the “Top Ten” (Five? Twenty?) means by which mankind could be destroyed. Number one on their list? Global Warming. They included clips of various ones — scientists like the now Michael Mann, I believe, and supposed-guru former Vice President Gore — discussing how the “debate is over” and all I could think is, “This is so behind the times…”
When even Dr. Phil Jones is willing to say that the debate is not yet over (as he does in this BBC interview), it seems to me like that History Channel International show is too anachronistic to be shown on air any longer. (Of course, it is the History channel…)
I know the Bible speaks of a great deal of (earned) destruction headed our way, and I know that God says that He will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (Rev. 11:18). But these days I need to see more evidence and clear, unencumbered scientific testimony to see if anthropogenic global warming is a part of that destruction. Actually, as I said in an old post:
Don’t get me wrong: I do think man’s stewardship of the earth has been lacking, and Revelation’s prophetic statement that God will “destroy those who destroy the earth” (11:18) will come to pass. It’s just that when it comes to “destroy[ing] the earth” I can’t say that I know exactly and in intricate detail the nature of the charges that man will be brought up on related to destroying the earth (other than the fact that it will involve sin). As a certain senator recently said in a less-than-artful dodge, such a determination is above my pay grade.