Sunday, November 04, 2007

20/20's Stossell enters AGW debate

We're all going to die. We're all going to drown -- it must be true, say kids, because Al Gore says so. It must be true, say big kids, because "the debate is over." Everybody knows. ("Everybody knows the fight is fixed.")

John Stossell doesn't know. He challenges the "errors" of Big Al and the warmist machine in this eight-minute presentation for ABC's 20/20.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Eddie said...

John Stossel? Please.

For the record, I'm no knee-jerk fan of Gore. There have been strong defences of AIT from the scientific community, but some more cautious climate scientists disagree on some points in AIT.

(See especially William Connolley:
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/10/tuvalu_1.php
http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2007/10/the_boring_truth.php
)

My own view is that talk of environmental refugees from Tuvalu is probably overblown. I wouldn't go so far as calling it a lie, since Gore seems to sincerely believe that he is ahead of the consensus view on SLR, and that if he waits long enough it'll catch up with him. He may be right.

However, I also think it's ridiculous that Gore has become catnip for the sceptic crowd. The implicit goal seems to be that "errors" in AIT therefore disprove AGW. News flash, people: it doesn't.

It is however, worth looking at just what Judge Burton said, because it says a lot about whether climate "scepticism" has actually made any progress by its own lights.

One illuminating passage from the ruling regards the plaintiff's expert witness, Bob Carter:

"All these 9 'errors' that I now address are not put in the context of the evidence of Professor Carter and the Claimant's case, but by reference to the IPCC report and the evidence of [the defendant's exert witness] Dr Stott." (para 23)

In other words, given the choice between two expert witnesses, the judge chose to disregard Carter. He states that this is because Carter's view does not accord with the IPCC -- so the AR4 has solid credibility as a scientific document. It's ironic that even the sceptic movement now is forced to use the AR4 to argue their case.

A lot of people are trying to spin this case as a win for climate scepticism. But the Guidance Notes had already been amended in a way that allows the judge to state:

"In the circumstances, and for those reasons, in the light of the changes to the Guidance Note which the Defendant has agreed to make, and has indeed already made, and upon the Defendant's agreeing to send such amended Guidance Note out in hard copy, no order is made on this application, save in relation to costs, on which I shall hear counsel." [Emphasis added.]

The sceptics did perform one service, and that was to get the UK educators to re-focus on the actual (IPCC) science, and for that they should be congratulated. But if their aim was to discredit AGW in general, then they failed.

11/04/2007 08:08:00 pm  

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