Saturday, September 26, 2009

Climate Complexity

Jonah Goldberg comments on a recent New York Times article on the ambiguity of recent global climate trends and how it complicates what is perceived as the urgency of the issue of "global warming". He hits the nail on the head with this paragraph.
Now I'm open to the possibility that the explanation for the cool spell we're in is not a refutation of the general case for climate change. Climate is a complicated thing and we could be in a short cooling period in the middle of a long warming period. Or, we might not be. No need to rehash that whole argument here. But what I find absolutely galling is the failure of the Times or the scientists quoted to take seriously the possibility that the potential cooling period is an indictment of the tactics, rhetorical and otherwise, used by the alarmists. Ten years ago the models didn't predict any of what has transpired or appears to be transpiring. They undermined their own credibility. And now that they want to communicate "nuance" instead of fear - solely because the data forces them to - they're having a hard time of it. Well boo hoo for them.

Jonah Goldberg rightly points out the complexity of climate science here and the stubborn refusal of proponents of the man-made global warming proposition to consider the recent cooling trend as anything but a short-term temporary aberration to global warming. It is important for proponents and skeptics (notice I try to avoid terms like "believers" and "deniers") alike to be open minded to the complexity of climate science and that there is really much we do not yet understand.

As for climate policy, this means we should pursue vigorous climate research and monitoring plus a broad development of energy resources and other environmental policies that make sense whether man-made global warming is real or not. We should not pursue policies such as the current "cap-and-trade" bill that would turn our lives and economy upside down over a "crisis" on which respected scientists remain divided.

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