Sunday, December 07, 2008

Humbug environmentalism

This from the always excellent Climate Resistance:
  • Climate scientists and science correspondents imbue statistics with undue political significance. Therefore, they have to resort to use combative rhetoric when the trends offer conflicting evidence they cannot yet explain. Rather than contradicting themselves about the significance of short term trends, and moving the goal posts constituting long terms trends, climate scientists ought to be distancing themselves from the political significance of their work. Because to do otherwise is to legitimise the very 'deniers' they seek to diminish. If 'climate science' is where politics happens, then it is not only reasonable to ask if changes in the direction of change do represent a weakness in the prevailing view, it is essential.
Weather, and short term trends, are not definitive: but neither should they be dismissed for ideological purposes, nor embraced for promotion of dogma.

Besides, who needs to bother with any of that stuff? Just keep modifying the data so that it fits your theory. Its not as if the real temerature data are any more reliable.
Then, of course, there is the question of the whole greenhouse supposition itself: does increased carbon dioxide in the air really constitute a problem? Do increases in emissions actually cool rather than heat the atmosphere? Confused? Don't worry, so are a lot of people.

The problem with environmentalism as an ideology is that it derives all its credibility from the certitude of its science. When that science is suspect (either through weak method, contradictory empirical data and/or appeals to consensus for authority), there is an increased tendency for that science to become politicized and the fall into the domain of hucksters, prophets and profiteers.

And to support the whole edifice, well intentioned people have their idealism and civic passion injected with a heavy dose of stasist moralism, polemics and indignant rhetoric. It is both deceitful and mean spirited. Humbug.

If Dickens were alive today, Scrooge would be a climate alarmist, trading in carbon offsets, waiting for a visit from the ghost of climate's past, present and future.