Monday, July 23, 2007

Global Warming

This is why I don't get too worked up about global warming one way or the other. Apparently scientists are not seeing the kind of warming in Antarctica they would expect based on the climate models they're using.
Does this mean that global warming isn't happening, or that the anthropogenic theories are wrong? Nope. It doesn't mean they're right, either. It means that the Earth's climate is unbelievably complicated, and that scientists are still trying to figure out how it all fits together. This is a laudable goal. It is also one that will take a great deal of time, in all likelihood. What this particular piece of data means will take some hard work to determine.
Which is why it's hard for me to get energized for either side of the global warming debate. The plain truth is that even climatologists are still working out what precisely is happening to our climate. And the vast majority of those who take a strong position on the issue are doing so out of faith, not science, because the number of people who have both the scientific chops and the time to actually review all the data out there are vanishingly small. Everyone else is just picking a position they happen to like and running with it. That's their business; I'm certainly not going to tell anyone else how they should live their life. But I'm not going to get all worked up about something I can't evaluate for myself, and I'm not too proud to admit that climate science is outside my area of expertise.
As an aside, before someone decides to declare me a 'climate change denialist' (a charge that tends to undermine the cause of global warming, for my money), I suspect that the consensus about global warming is correct. I simply am noting that I don't know enough about the issue to know; and neither do most of those most worked up about it, as far as I can tell.

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