AGW, Missing “Step Two”

I think you should be more explicit here in step two

I think you should be more explicit here in step two

Does the average AGWer understand exactly how we go from step one (“CO2 emissions”) to step three (“the world is doomed because of AGW”)? Some notes from Max Beran, originally published in the Climate Sceptics mailing list:

I suspect [some AGWers] think man-made climate change is an actual force that is permeating the environment and quite capable of impacting on everything and anything. It doesn’t need to act first on some intermediate agency that is the proximate cause of whatever phenomenon they are interested in, man-made climate change is just out there in the world doing its evil business. This “paradigm” comes across time and time again in vox pops, and the mouths of lobbyists but it is not absent either in trained scientists, especially those in the softer (non-number- based) realms of science.

What I have in mind is the implication of the words that people use. For example: AGW carries the malaria bug, AGW empties reservoirs, AGW kills off whole species, AGW forces poor people from their homes etc etc, like it was some sort of toxic mist blown in on the wind. This came over strongly with Greenpeace activists and their ilk who were demonstrating in the streets at Copenhagen. It was quite plain from their responses to journalists’ questions that they were totally clueless about what AGW actually was supposed to be and how it would work, capable only of repeating mantra-like shibboleths about what dreadful things it did. It was pure “rentacrowd”, hired to make a noise but no knowledge of what their noise was all about other than it was against a bad thing.

When I managed a global change programme biologists would cite global warming as their agency of first choice when looking for a cause of some population or ecosystem change. There was no need to have a hypothesis about what weather elements actually controlled the phenomenon or even if it was weather sensitive – indeed I knew they wouldn’t have a clue where to go looking for such data for their locality or how they would measure it if they had to. All they knew was that global warming was out there and you could get the Central England Temperature data off the CRU website if you needed something to put on the X-axis of the graph.

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  1. 2010/01/12 at 16:45

    Central England has good company as an ideal X-axis for any linear trend:

  2. 2010/01/12 at 12:17

    This incarnation of AGW as a sinister masked entity in the world reminds me somehow of TS Eliot’s Macavity the Mystery Cat:
    http://www.poetry-online.org/eliot_macavity_the_mystery_cat.htm

    Macavity, Macavity, there’s no one like Macavity,
    He’s broken every human law, he breaks the law of gravity.
    His powers of levitation would make a fakir stare,
    And when you reach the scene of crime – Macavity’s not there!
    You may seek him in the basement, you may look up in the air –
    But I tell you once and once again, Macavity’s not there!

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