Save the world now! (Before the skeptics destroy it!)

At a dinner the other night, a woman sitting next to me was carrying on quite heatedly about Global Warming and Greenhouse Gas theory, and while I didn't want to start trouble, when she finally demanded to know what I thought, I expressed skepticism as gently as I could. Far from calming her down, my skepticism only caused her to crank up the volume. She grew more insistent, and told me that the greenhouse gas theory is not a "theory," but is an absolutely proven scientific fact. That in the next few years the Gulf Stream will stop, Europe will freeze, the whole world will be flooded, etc. We are doomed! she said. And all scientists agree. Seriously, she behaved as if my expression of skepticism was as immoral as if I had advocated sex with children.

In an enjoyable post about the dangers of crying wolf, Greenie Watch quotes Dominic Lawson on this hysteria:

One of the more entertaining aspects of the current "climate catastrophe" caterwauling is that some of the scientists who are most alarmist - such as that brilliant writer James Lovelock-were thirty years ago warning that we were on the verge of a new Ice Age. One reason was that between 1945 and 1975 global temperatures fell. Between 1975 and 1998 global temperatures rose slightly - and set off a symmetrically divergent panic. Over the past eight years, global temperatures have been as close to stable as makes no difference. I can therefore understand Professor Hulme's agitation. He knows that the alarmists have based their scare tactics on a dramatic rise in temperatures across the world in the very near future. That won't happen. When that fact dawns on most people, they will begin to ignore all experts' warnings about the weather.
In my more cynical moments, I think the fact that it won't happen is precisely what explains the absolutely manic push to impose Kyoto restrictions by any means necessary.

We need Kyoto right now! Before it's too late!

Why is that? Might there be something even worse than the non-occurrence of the "dramatic rise in temperatures across the world in the very near future."

There might be.

What if temperatures dropped in the near future? Is such a thing possible? I think it is possible (as Dominic Lawson notes, "between 1945 and 1975 global temperatures fell") and I suspect there may be a legitimate worry among environmentalists that if the Kyoto restrictions are not in place in advance, the resultant public outcry might prevent them from ever getting them.

On the other hand, with Kyoto in place, any drop in temperature will mean only one thing.

Environmentalists saved the world!

While skeptics (who ought to face Nuremburg trials) tried to destroy it!

In my defense, at least I try to temper my dangerous skepticism with healthy cynicism.

posted by Eric on 11.16.06 at 11:44 AM


Hear, hear!

-Dennis, whose new teaching gig has kept him away from this blog and some very good friends for too long. (We'll try to rectify that after Thanksgiving.)

Dennis   ·  November 16, 2006 1:07 PM

I contend the recent hysteria results from their creeping realization that they are utterly wrong, that the Mann et al. hockeystick is a fraud, that Hansen is a liar, that the Medieval Warming Period and Little Ice Age did in fact occurr, and that all their emotional investment in the end of the world as we know it is just a crock.
However, there is one serious point: the Russian scientific community disregarded the Nuclear Winter hysteria of the 80s and has geneally pooh-pooed Anthropogenic Global Warming as well, but at least one of thier astronomes at Pulkovo has recently been claiming that we are due to slide back into the Little Ice Age again around the end of this decade. As a Bostonian, I prefer the idea of palm trees on Storrow Drive and global warming, thank you.

John Costello   ·  November 16, 2006 3:28 PM

One more reason to counter the claim that we should be ruled by scientific opinion.

Brett   ·  November 18, 2006 1:51 PM

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