Great kid, don’t get cocky
Megan McCardle is slowly coming around to the impact of the ClimateGate scandal. Still, she wants everyone to know that she still isn’t one of those crazy skeptics. Would make the beltway camaraderie that much more uncomfortable if she steps farther out on that limb.
She does make the valid point though that this scandal does not DISPROVE anthropogenic global warming. So, I think the calls by the skeptics (particularly the Inhoffes and Glen Becks of the world) that this proves that AGW is a “hoax” or a “fraud” are prematurely taking their victory lap. The political wind behind the alarmist position is still at full speed ahead and the media is trying like hell to bury the story.
I think the skeptics need to be very measured in this and focus on the core issue and core goal: prevent any international regulatory scheme to solve the supposed crisis. Let the academics hammer out the science. But, the whole problem with this episode is that the science has been heavily politiczed, primarily by statists who need a good excuse to forever increase the size of the state. That’s the target.
I frankly don’t know what role CO2 plays in global temperature. I get the idea of it being a greenhouse gas and that should be straightforward enough. But, we know that we have had periods of cooling when CO2 was increasing and we know that we have had dramatic periods of warming before industrial CO2 was ever a large factor on this earth. The reasons for these “oddities” have never been explained to my satisfaction. Then there is the flaming ball of fire in the sky. I have searched in vain for the science that says the sun is NOT a significant factor. Given its role in heating the earth, and given that we’ve never been able to properly study what the sun actually does beyond some nice theories, why wouldn’t a minor change in the sun’s output have a marked change in our climate? It can heat a planet a very damn long way away from it. A minor blip for the sun’s disposition could be major for us. I think its entirely possibly that AGW is just another example of man’s narcissism. It must be us! We must be the ones screwing it up. And as long as we believe that, then we also get to believe we can prevent it. Its very comforting, except for part about some government and multi-government regulations that will make you poorer.
The bottom line is this: The Science is Not Settled. Even if you believe the causality, can you REALLY state with certainty the predictions? We wouldn’t bet a significant part of our income on a 10 day forecast but we want to bet the planet’s prosperity on a 100 year forecast? I’m sorry, the precautionary principle cuts both ways. This is not an “asteroid will hit the planet” or “mass plague” type of catastrophe. Study it more and clean up the science. Then make some predictions. Then wait 5-10 years to see if those predictions were accurate. If yes, then we revisit the global policy angle. But not until then. That’s The Point.