Ronald Bailey is the science correspondent for Reason.com. On 3 April he posted: “What Would Convince You That Man-Made Global Warming Is Real.” He was, at one time, a skeptic but several years ago, changed is mind and became a believer in the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) theory. His posting has examples of why he changed his mind and wonders if these examples might convince other skeptics to become a warmer.
The posting resulted in a number of responses, some of which I will cover in this posting. The responses essentially are refutations of Bailey’s reasons for his conversion
To begin with, Bailey is not an alarmist. We skeptics share with him many views of the global warming debate. For example Bailey says in his posting the following:
“Welcome to the most politicized science of our time. So what evidence would convince you that man-made climate change is possibly real? Keep in mind that despite what progressive dimwits like Naomi Klein might assert, the scientific evidence does not mandate any particular program”.
And quoting from his conclusions:
“However, in my best judgment the preponderance of the evidence suggests that the greenhouse gases produced by humanity are warming the climate and that it could be a significant issue later in this century. In the foregoing I have aimed to cite data, not model outputs. I have long been a critic of computer climate models.
To restate: The existence of man-made warming does not mandate any particular policies. So back to the headline question: If generally rising temperatures, decreasing diurnal temperature differences, melting glacial and sea ice, smaller snow extent, stronger rainstorms, and warming oceans are not enough to persuade you that man-made climate is occurring, what evidence would be?”
The last sentence summarizes Bailey’s main points and you can review his arguments for those points by reading his entire posting by clicking here. The two highlighted links in the above comments by Bailey (..Naomi Klein and climate models) are recommended reading, as well.
I am including Roy Spencer’s and Christopher Monckton’s responses to Baileys initial posting.
Spencer reply was posted on his website and titled:” Answering Ron Bailey’s Question: “What Evidence Would Persuade You That Man-Made Climate Change Is Real?” Doctor Spencer has three problems with the Bailey posting:
“The first problem I have is with his premise: that skeptics believe humans have no role in climate change. I don’t know of any serious skeptics who hold such a view. Now, maybe he is addressing people who deny any human involvement in global warming. His article is vague, and maybe he can clarify his intent for us.
The second problem I have is with Ron’s list of a variety of evidences of global-average warming, which (again) no skeptic worth their salt disputes. The science dispute is over how much of the warming is manmade versus natural. Like too many others, Ron conflates climate change with human-caused climate change, which are not the same thing.”
A third problem I have with Ron’s article: he uses “falsifiable predictions” of the future as evidence supporting his case! Really? Well, we’ve already had abundant predictions of what would happen by now from modelers like James Hansen that have turned out to be wrong. There you go, skeptics have real falsified predictions they can point to….not predictions of what might happen 10 years from now.
Why didn’t he mention the recent increase in papers (our APJAS paper included) with evidence that recent warming has been partly natural? Yes, as he says, natural variability can work both ways (warming OR cooling), but the available evidence is that recent warming was partly due to nature. Significantly, that warming occurred during the period when climate modelers developed their models, and since they assumed all warming was manmade, they had to increase the models’ sensitivity. Now, they are between a rock and a hard place, continuing to publish overly-sensitivity models they know are wrong (based upon both surface AND deep ocean warming rates).
Such a travesty would never be allowed in a hard discipline that uses physics, like engineering. An impartial judge with any cajones wouldn’t even allow climate models as evidence in a court of law since they have, so far, largely failed in their predictions. “
There is more detail in Dr Spencer’s posting and I recommend you read it.
Lord Monckton’s posted on WUWT website titled: “How to convince a climate skeptic he’s wrong”.
Monckton begins as follows:
The true scientific question, then, is not the fatuous question whether “Man-Made Climate Change Is Real” but how much global warming our sins of emission may cause, and whether that warming might be more a bad thing than a good thing.
However, Mr. Bailey advances no rational case. What, then, are the elements of a rational, scientific case that our influence on the climate will prove dangerous unless the West completes its current self-shutdown?
Here is the mountain the tax-gobbling classes who tend to favor profitable alarmism must climb before they can make out a rational, scientific case for doing anything about our greenhouse-gas emissions.
The tax-gobblers’ mighty mountain
|Step 10. Would the benefit outweigh the cost?|
|Step 9. Can we afford the cost of CO2 mitigation?|
|Step 8. Will any realistic measures avert the danger?|
|Step 7. Will warmer worldwide weather be dangerous?|
|Step 6. Will temperature feedbacks amplify that warming?|
|Step 5. Will greenhouse-gas emissions cause much warming?|
|Step 4. Are humankind raising CO2 concentration substantially?|
|Step 3. Are humankind increasing atmospheric CO2 concentration?|
|Step 2. Is a consensus among climate experts compatible with science?|
|Step 1. Has any climate warming beyond natural variability taken place?|
If the answer to the question at any Step from 1 to 10 on the stony path up the tax-gobblers’ mighty mountain is “No”, there is no rational, scientific basis for climbing any further. Unless one can legitimately reach the top by answering Yes to all ten questions, there is no credible justification for any investment of taxpayers’ funds in trying to make global warming go away.
Monckton responded by replying point by point to Bailey’s posting. The posting is good reference material for any skeptic’s library.
This posting assigns you a lot of reading. Even so, it does provide, using the links, a pretty basic understanding of how the thinking of the skeptic and the warmer differ.
In the next blog edition, another Ronald Bailey posting will be featured. That posting shows how far from reality the IPCC has gone over the years.