They seem like they’re genuinely interested in generating discussion, and they have; there has been a lot of back-and-forth in the comments to their posts. But they’re asking for scientific explanations for skepticism, so the comment discussions are all sciency, so I didn’t feel like I had anything to contribute.
But the reason I don’t delve into the scientific intricacies of the global warming issue is because I don’t think that it even rises to the level of a scientific discussion yet. While people are debating the significance of this percentage concentration of CO2 or that many degrees Celsius change over the next hundred years, there are too many fundamental questions of logic that have gone unanswered.
My position on man-made global warming is that there is no such thing, and I hold that position just because I’m aware of a little bit of history, a little bit of human nature, and the way these things usually play out. If anybody wants to know the unscientific, purely gut-level and personally empirical reasoning behind my position, here it is:
1) As commenters have pointed out, the climate of the earth moves in million year cycles, and has ever since it developed an atmosphere four-odd billion years ago (or, if you’re a young-earth creationist, last Tuesday). Over that time, the temperature of the earth has been hotter than it is now, and it has been colder than it is now. No one has sufficiently explained why I should be more concerned about this particular change that’s occurring now, other than it’s happening at a time when we all happen to be alive and planning trips to the beach.
2) Considering that the earth has been around so long, the data of the global warming promoters seems woefully inadequate. They say that we should be concerned because such-and-such a measurement has shown an alarming trend over the last ten or twenty or fifty years. In the history of the earth, fifty years doesn’t even count as a data point. The earth could have a hiccup that lasts for 200 years. Come see me when you’ve got a couple thousand years of data.
3) If the climate is changing, and we consider that a problem, the implication is that the current climate is the ideal right and proper way it should be. How do we know this? What makes this temperature better than all the other temperatures the earth has been, other than it’s the one we’re used to, and we think that palm trees in Nashville would just look weird? Might we just as easily be moving toward the ideal temperature as away from it?
4) Does nobody remember the global cooling scare of the late 70s/early 80s? How can anyone who remembers that take the global warming panic seriously?
5) Why do the most vocal promoters of global warming, the people with the best access to the most undiluted science, not act like we’re on the brink of the catastrophe that they claim we are? They all seem perfectly content to live in big houses using lots of electricity, fly on planes, and buy goods that are shipped hither and yon on diesel-burning ships, trains, and trucks. Have any of the scientists who sign those climate science consensus documents started growing their own food in their backyards? Have they eschewed junkets to big global warming conferences in favor of low-carbon-footprint teleconferences?
If my roommate walked into the living room and told me that the kitchen was on fire, and then plopped down on the couch and started eating Cheetos, I would strongly suspect that the kitchen was not on fire. To quote Instapundit, I’ll believe it’s a crisis when the people who say it’s a crisis start acting like it’s a crisis.
6) People who make a habit of calling things “crises” always propose solutions (like the infamous Kyoto Protocol) that involve more regulation, higher taxes, and bigger government. It’s almost as if their primary goal is bigger, more intrusive government, and they’re just looking for excuses to justify it. I know it’s crazy to think that way, but I just can’t help myself.
7) In the end, so what? The claim is that climate change will be catastrophic. What catastrophe will occur that humans won’t be able to adapt to? Human beings are the Michael Jordan of survival, the Ken Jennings of adaptability. In the Survival Olympics, we take all three places on the medal stand (after cockroaches are disqualified for rampant blood doping).
Will there be mass population migrations? Disease? Starvation? All that’s happening right now, and has been throughout human history. Can global warming really be worse than the crippling of the global economy they say is required to prevent it? I think it’s at least debatable.
So there you go: my unscientific apprehensions about global warming. Once all these unscientific concerns are put to rest, maybe I’ll be ready to start dealing with the numbers.