November 1, 2008
Ronald Bailey (in Carbon: Tax, Trade, or Deregulate/Reason/July 2008) says that the science of global warming has finally lined up for him. He claims that perhaps more relevant than the “air of trumphalism” among attendees at the U.N. conference on climate change in Bali was the fact that a “lot of the climatologists who were there sounded very scared.” Neither trumphalism nor fear is a solid standard for evidence.
The Canadian environmentalist and columnist Lawrence Solomon, of the National Post, and the Toronto Financial Post, has written a series of columns in the last few years on the subject of scientists who have developed research data that refute many of the claims of the warming catastrophists. The series, called “The Deniers,” is available online and has been turned into a book of the same name this year.
Early on, after describing the views of several of these scientists on such topics as the (in)famous hockey stick graph, hurricanes, and Antarctic ice sheets, Solomon tells us that all of them assume global warming is real and is caused by human activity – based on the reports of other scientists. They each know that the evidence they have observed refutes specific claims for anthropogenic global warming in their area of expertise.
That says a lot. The evidence relating to climate issues comes from many highly specialized areas of scientific research. If each, or most, or even a significant subset of the evidence for warming is questionable and justifiably disputed by reputable scientists, then having everyone assume that everyone else knows what he is doing in claiming dangerous warming is like seeing a forest when no individual trees are in evidence.