Sunday, November 13, 2011

Sticking points in accepting human-caused global warming; from a Republican, Mormon former skeptic

Utah geophysicist and former doubter Barry Bickmore had doubted human-caused climate change, since his understanding was that:
  • There was lots of scientific controversy about human contributions;
  • Climate projections were based solely on complex computer models of physical systems, which (having worked on them, he knows) are easy to screw up;
  • There’s always uncertainty involved in science.
In this recorded presentation, Barry says, "I briefly talked about how I had made the transition from being a climate change “skeptic” to being an outspoken advocate of mainstream climate science. I then discussed how it is that people like me can so effectively avoid the truth about climate change."

The talk is well worth watching for anyone who still harbors doubts; its conclusion, which is quite strong, also serves as a guide to what's covered:
These contrarian objections almost always have a kernel of truth:

* Liberals do sometimes spin environmental issues;
* There are some legitimate climate scientists who object to the consensus;
* There might be a climate Galileo on the horizon;
* Non-experts should try to figure out climate science as much as we can;

There’s always room for doubt, especially in science. But when we are:

* turning veterinarians & metallurgists into climate experts;
* pointing to articles in dog astrology journals;
* putting forward potential Galileos who can’t put together any decent evidence;
* and relying on a fake member of parliament who claims to have developed a miracle cure-all;

- then we’re trying too hard to avoid the truth.

(It's 40 minutes long, so if you're short on time, you can
read the notes.)

For more detail (on climate physics, etc), see Barry's previous talk, Climate Change: What We Know and How We Know It.

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