Thanks for the feedback • 5 August 2008 • The SnowBlog

Thanks for the feedback

Hasn't this been fascinating? Lots of detailed replies to my question about man-made climate change and those who doubt its reality. Given that so many people are working hard to begin a process that will turn the planet's economy upside-down in order to reduce CO2 emissions, and given that based on our little sample plenty of people think the whole idea is bunk, it seems like there's still a lot of work to be done on establishing the facts. I thought this debate had been settled and we were all just ignoring the inevitable. But it seems like the debate still needs to happen. Every bit of evidence that any of us have heard needs to be dragged out in public and affirmed, or debunked, and then placed in its appropriate pigeon hole in the consensus view of what's going on. Because we clearly need a consensus view of what's going on, and not just six billion different variations on anecdote, instinct, analysis and trust. I've been taught the basics of mathematical modelling once when I studied physics, once when I studied physical chemistry and again when I worked as a business analyst, and I can say this for sure: those models are best left to the experts. If our faith, or lack of it, in current climate predictions hinges on our own personal assessment of someone else's mathematical model then I think we're all in big trouble. No, all of us are going to have to trust someone on this - to be swayed by people we've decided are experts (unless we plan to train as climatologists). It seems very clear to me that this argument needs to be had in public, in detail, right now. We need every theory about sun spots or medieval warming or feedback mechanisms or ocean temperature trends to be given a proper airing, where all of us can watch if we please, so that we're clear on the transparency and rigour of any findings. Not only do we need to get the strongest consensus we can; we also need to do it in full view, so that no one feels anything has been covered up or brushed aside. I would think everyone - those who think we must act now, as well as though who are certain that there's no need - would all agree this needs to be publicly settled very quickly. Any thoughts on how we could all end up broadly agreeing about what's happening? (Clearly deciding what to do about it will be much more contentious.)


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