The Climate Denier Strawman

The first thing you must know about serious climate change deniers is that they are not denying “science.”  The science involved in studying climate dynamics includes thermodynamics, atmospheric chemistry, heat transfer mechanics, and a host of other basic sciences.  The conclusion of some scientists that the Earth is headed for a catastrophic warming is not science.  One of the basic requirements of good science is that the propositions derived must be falsifiable.  There is no experiment or computer model that can be conducted to demonstrate that climate catastrophe is false.  Thus it is the climate “alarmists” who are in denial of science.

No sensible “denier” fails to acknowledge facts about the climate.  It HAS been getting warmer since the mid 1800s as the Earth emerges from the Little Ice Age, which began in the mid 1400s (or thereabouts.)  Glaciers are melting.  Carbon Dioxide is, unquestionably, a greenhouse gas.  CO2 concentration has risen from 280 ppm to just over 400 ppm today.  And finally, human burning of fossil fuels has contributed to this increase in CO2.  Deniers also are in full agreement with the science involved — mathematics, thermodynamics, chemistry, and all the rest.  Spend an hour at the website “Wattsupwiththat” and see what I mean.

So where’s the disagreement?  Many eminent scientists disagree that a rise in CO2 is sufficient to unbalance our climate system and lead to catastrophe.  A small rise in CO2 (from .028% to .040%) is not enough.  When you get down into the weeds on climate change, there must be positive feedback loops that amplify the small effect of CO2.  Scientists disagree on the magnitude and direction of these feedbacks.  The IPCC itself talks in probabilities that are considerably less than 100% certain.

Unfortunately global warming, or more properly “catastrophic, anthropogenic global warming – CAGW” has become thoroughly politicized.  It has become the cause against which all of society must be organized — in other words, the perfect excuse for centralized control of energy and pretty much everything else.  CAGW has become the ultimate justification for socialists and progressives the world over.

Of course, conservatives are wise to all this and are resisting.  Meanwhile, the left continues to beat up your strawman — that anyone who disagrees with CAGW is denying “science.”  Yes, there are some voters who believe the whole thing is a hoax, just like there are many who still believe vaccines cause autism or that organic foods confer positive health (I can list a dozen cases where the left “denies” science that contradicts their cherished world view.)  But in general, there are many, many scientists and engineers who understand the science quite well who disagree with climate alarmists for sound, scientifically grounded reasons.  Psychologists will not be able to dismiss those folks.



Income Inequality

An influential new book about income inequality, which I suspect we will be talking about a lot in coming months and years.  Conservatives should read it and be aware of the arguments it makes and where they are mostly wrongheaded.