Are climate skeptics helping prevent AGW policies from being implemented? That may well be true: but the actual situation is much more complex.
In truth, one cannot fault people expressing their opinions, and their dissent from “consensus”, for the fact that their views appear to be listened to by politicians (not sure they truly are), whilst the “consensus” usually results into idle talk or cures that are worse than the illness (see biofuels, or the idiotically expensive Kyoto treaty).
One important point to remember is that much of the Anglo-Saxon world’s brouhaha around climate change is linked directly to the hysteria accompanying a lot of AGW proclamations and actions. Likely due to political naivete, groups of scientists-advocates have joined Greenpeace and the likes in an escalation of hyperboles, with the world depicted almost as turning into cinder by Tuesday, if we don’t all go back to living in caves.
As some AGW scientists said about Al Gore’s movie, those hyperboles are not scientifically right, but are deemed ok to “convey the message”.
Distortion of science for a good cause was and unfortunately still is in fact a tactic devised to break down the BAU inertia (aka the “cost of Doing Something”). The problem is that there are only so many times such inertia can be countered with doom-and-gloom. AGWers have been unlucky enough to show up years if not months after major scares have fizzled out, like Y2K and SARS.
The general population then, and many politicians, have been healthily inoculated against unwarranted exaggerations. That’s why the AGW camp, still using obsolete influencing techniques, have literally painted themselves into a whining-and-crying corner, with few listening to them unless when there is an occasion for swindling public money (see US corn subsidies, and the European cap-and-trade system).
You can just read Dr Pachauri’s incredible declarations about the latest Antarctic huge iceberg, to see what I mean by hyperbole, exaggeration and distortion of science:
“if the huge bodies of ice of western Antarctica and Greenland ice sheets, sitting on land, were to collapse [...]“
There is no danger nor forecast nor model that suggests anything of the sort happening for a long long long time even under the direst temperature increases we can imagine. So what is the point of talking about that, rather than more pressing concerns, such as the droughts and floods that do seem to come out of the model runs???
And so the situation is: in a corner, AGW scientists and advocates kicking and screaming for action. In the rest of the world, lots of people that are turned off any meaningful action…by the kicking and screaming of those AGW scientists and advocates. Little wonder politicians do nothing of any meaning on the topic, apart from when they can spread “pork” and get more votes.
Every once in a while some analysis appears begging the “environmental” movement to change their ways of communicating what they care about:
But the AGWers are still in the dark ages, as far as advocacy is concerned.
Lately the only novelty is that they appear to have decided to be relentless, as if following the old saying that if you keep repeating a lie, eventually it will be taken as truth. But time is not on their side: year-on-year climate fluctuations are larger than any AGW “signal”, as admitted even by RealClimate.
There is so much we can say, think and care about the world in 2020, let alone 2050, when the models say evidence would be so much stronger. And when the news talk about a catastrophe for the 1,000-th time, the impact on the public will be much much smaller than it was 999 times before.
Anybody believing in AGW can keep on lamenting the situation…just please, try to understand: the lament is part of the problem. The existence of scientist-dissenters is not.
Just look at France: where a “green package” was discussed, defined and delivered without anybody running around like headless chickens. Believe it or not, I may have even signed that package myself!