Michael Shermer's Five Questions on AGW Skepticism

Chill Out” blog on AGW skepticism by nonskeptical Skeptic Michael Shermer (Sep 29).

Shermer’s point is so incredibly obvious, I am sure very few people will be able to “get it”:

In my opinion we need to chill out on all extremist plans that entail expenses best described as Brobdingnagian, require our intervention into developing countries best portrayed as imperialistic, or involve state controls best portrayed as fascistic. Give green technologies and free markets a chance

Will the above earn him (again?) the label of Denialist? Who knows? For well-known reasons, his mention of Bjorn Lomborg seems to have caused a stir (even if they both are firmly in the AGW camp…I presume that’s what happens when one agrees with people all too ready to label as “denialist” anybody that doesn’t fully agree with them).

Shermer suggests also five questions to help establish if  one is “a global warming skeptic, or […] skeptical of the global warming skeptics“:

  1. Is the earth getting warmer?
  2. Is the cause of global warming human activity?
  3. How much warmer is it going to get?
  4. What are the consequences of a warmer climate?
  5. How much should we invest in altering the climate?

Shermer’s answers: (1) yes, (2) “primarily“, (3) “moderate warming with moderate changes” (following the IPCC, no less), (4) “consequences must be weighed in the balance” (that is, positive consequences should be considered too), (5) much less than the “Brobdingnagian proposals being talked about, and not even as much as recommended by the IPCC (with references to Lomborg and Nordhaus).

Interestingly, Shermer shows his skepticism increasing from nil (questions 1 and 2) to almost 100% (question 5)

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How do you score on Shermer’s questions? I can answer also on the basis of my About page: (1) yes, (2) slightly, (3) between almost nothing and half of what Shermer expects, (4) overall, consequences will be positive and (5) zero.

Spiked Online's Christmas All-Out Attack on AGW

(a) “Al Gore: enviro-tyrant” by Brendan O’Neill (Dec 18)
After Bali: In aspiring to ‘control the destiny of all generations to come’, Gore has unwittingly unveiled his anti-democratic streak

As he flies around the world to tell people that they should fly less, or organises rock-star extravaganzas to tell the masses they should live more meekly, some sceptics have asked: ‘Who the hell does Al Gore think he is?

(b) “Eco-imperialism at the Bali summit?” by James Heartfield (Dec 18) 
After Bali: Are Western powers offsetting their industrial growth by blackmailing poorer countries to foreswear development? One writer thinks so

More than most scientific questions, the state of the environment has been deeply mixed up with international rivalries. In fact, some nations seem to have politicised environmental claims as a weapon in their economic competition. CO2 emissions mirror industrial output. The agreement in Bali to limit CO2 emissions looks to me like an attempt by the Great Powers to regulate industrial competition.

(c) “Hairshirt posturing vs everyday reality” by Robert Lyons (Dec 18)
After Bali: It ended in stalemate because while everyone poses as an opponent of CO2-emitting technologies, the fact is humanity needs them.

‘It was exactly what we wanted, we are indeed very pleased. We will have now two tremendously demanding years, starting right in January.’ So said the European Union’s chief negotiator Humberto Rosa following the outline agreement forged at the UN climate change talks in Bali last weekend. But it seems quite clear that, on the substantive issues under negotiation, everyone simply agreed to disagree.

(d) “Return of the Skeptical Environmentalist” by Tony Gilland (Review, Dec 2007)
In his new book Cool It, Bjørn Lomborg shows how ‘the science’ on global warming – covering everything from polar bear extinction to the disappearance of Greenland – has been distorted and politicised

(e) “Who’s afraid of…Greenland melting?” by Rob Lyons (Dec 13) 
Rob Lyons says we should keep cool about the ongoing scare story of Greenland’s melting ice.

Why They Hate Lomborg