Climate Change: Politics of Science Again
After that earlier post I also had a look at some of the writings of climate sckeptics and their spokesmen. At issue is the extent to which their is consensus on the human contribution to climate change. Here are some passages from a new book* by 'skeptical environmentalist' (the labeling in publishing seems to have gotten completely carried away, this name reminds me of 'the naked chef'') Bjørn Lomberg:
of CO2 in the atmosphere, mainly from burning fossil fuels. ...
As natural processes only slowly remove CO2 from the atmosphere
our annual emissions have increased the total atmospheric
CO2 content - the CO2 concentration - such that today it is 36%
higher than in pre-industrial times. ... More Co2 will hold on
to more heat and raise temperatures. This is the
man-made greenhouse effect.”
“Our best information comes from the United Nations’
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.”
“The reason we are concerned about global warming is
due to the so-called greenhouse effect, the fundamental
principle of which is quite simple and entirely
uncontroversial. Several types of gases can reflect or trap
heat, most importantly water vapor and carbon dioxide (CO2).
These greenhouse gases trap some of the heat emitted by the
earth, rather like a blanket wrapped around the globe. The basic
greenhouse effect is good: If the atmosphere did not contain
greenhouse gases the average temperature on earth would be
approximately 59 degrees Fahrenheit colder. And it is
unlikely that life as we know it would be able to exist.”
Lomberg, hadly an extremist on global warming, proceeds to discuss these claims in a bit more detail and focuses on what sorts of political and economic responses are appropriate. That seems to be the basic pattern in these discussions. But it is clear that he in no way calls the broad scientific consensus on human contributions to global warming into question.
* Cool It: The Skepial Environmentalist's Guide to Global Warming (Knopf, 2007), pp 10-11.