Legislation and regulation aimed at controlling greenhouse gas emissions are predicated on the belief that science definitively shows that man’s greenhouse gas emissions are causing the Earth’s temperature to rise, with serious deleterious effects. What if the cause-and-effect relationships between GHGs and temperature are greatly overstated? What if the data used to measure temperature change and its effects are of poor quality? What if we don’t adequately understand important climatic systems (such as clouds or oceans) to simulate them accurately in the computer models used to predict climatic change? What if the stated positions of key scientific societies are under assault by the member rank and file? What if the state of empirical knowledge points to only a small human effect on climate?I reject the premise of the briefing. Legislation and regulation aimed at controlling greenhouse gas emissions
The answers to these questions directly impact the legislative and regulatory debates underway in the Congress and the Obama Administration.
My rejection of the premise has nothing to do with the state of climate science or what the Marshall Institute or their opponents belief about it. A compelling case can be made that decarbonizing the global economy makes good sense independent of uncertainties in climate science. Reactions to an earlier post along these lines from self-described climate skeptics suggest that some people will strongly resist efforts to move beyond engaging the political debate through science. This is understandable of course, because once the political debate is engaged in terms of science, it confers a distinct advantage to those opposing action. Of course, at the same time I expect that many of those calling for action will face similar difficulties in giving up on science as a political battleground. The irony of course is that both sides agree on where the battle should be waged, but only one side seems to appreciate who is the spider and who is the fly.