Drop conspiracy talk, just look at your thermometer

The other day in the Herald, Mr Chris Barton took up the topic of global warming in an article headed “Climate debate adrift on rising tide of lunacy“.

With hardly a mention of the subject, Barton gets stuck into those who question the orthodox view of the subject. He tries various techniques to get the opposition to shut up; in fact, he tries everything except actually, well, listening to them.

He gets a bit confused, too. At one point he says, of the “madness” of the climate change debate, “there is a lot of it about”. But later he’s forgotten that and, trying to mis-characterise the strength of the opposition, he says “Like the rest of the world we have a small but very vocal group spreading their stupidity”.

He picks up on a typographical error by a correspondent and makes merry with the new word as though it represents a marvellous new insight. But it’s just old-fashioned stupidity.

This is a professional journalist who ought to support a vigorous debate for the good of the community, but instead he’s thinking up dirty tricks to silence a well-informed, well-meaning opposition. I’m ashamed of him.

If he wants to be taken seriously, he can address these questions: Why are global mean atmospheric temperatures falling as carbon dioxide rises? Why is the heat content of the oceans falling as carbon dioxide rises? What is the evidence that the temperature increases of the late 20th century were caused by carbon dioxide? What is the evidence that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide will result in dangerously higher temperatures? Is he happy to bring our productive systems into disarray and ruin our lovely environment with noisy, ugly windmills on the basis of climate models that are known to be wrong and without performing any cost-benefit analysis?

If Barton actually observes the climate and its history he will quickly discover for himself why we’re so doubtful that anything dangerous is about to happen. Perhaps then he will hear the shrill voices of alarm as we hear them: as dogs barking and fleas biting but nothing of consequence.

What else can be said to him? I tried this the next day: Continue Reading →