Wednesday, August 27, 2008

It's Getting Hot in Here

Brian Micklethwait has some intriguing points regarding the argument about climate change when discussing a blog post by Will Wilkinson...
Wilkinson's point is not just that climate chaos-ism is nonsense, a claim that I increasingly find myself agreeing with completely, not least because the now undependable notion of "global warming" has been replaced by the idiotic phrase "climate chaos", or, even more idiotically, "climate change". When was there ever a time when the climate did not change? What Wilkinson is also noting is that the hysteria whipped up around the changeability of the climate was whipped up because these lunatics came to realise that they had no other arguments against a more-or-less capitalist, more-or-less-free-market world economy. They have now conceded - not in so many words, rather by changing the subject - that capitalism works, and the only nasty thing they have left to say about it is that it works so well that it ruins the planet.
I don't know that I agree with everything here, partly because I think there are plenty of honest arguments being made by people who claim that global warming is occurring and it is a problem. The problem is that there are also a good number of panicky if not dishonest arguments being made as well. I understand that people try to employ slippery slope arguments for a reason, but a number of the arguments strike me far too apocalyptic in tone (not to mention weird and creepy).

Beyond that, there's the issue of the folks who believe climate change is occurring and is a problem expressing a desire to shut down the other side of the debate. Forget free speech for a second -- aren't scientists supposed to test hypotheses and not merely accept something as dogma? Perhaps the folks who believe global warming is a problem would be better served refuting the arguments of those on the other side... assuming they have confidence in their position, of course.

I'd also mention the fact that having hip celebrities and politicians make and endorse calls for work on climate change while flying around on gas-guzzling jets looks a tad bit hypocritical to the average Joe. I don't think hypocrisy should have a negative impact on the merits of the underlying argument, but it does, because public perception is another matter. Ask Al Gore about his house if you don't believe me.


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