Environment

A Climate Convert Roils the Waters

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorJun 20, 2011 11:12 AM

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This is an interesting and peculiar "conversion story" of a climate skeptic who is

now persuaded that anthropogenic global warming is real.

The piece offers some excellent advice to the left and right sides of the debate, but it also contains standard conservative hyperbole about Al Gore ("He's clearly looking to ride global warming to greater wealth and power"), the supposed climate change stalking horse ("The Left has seized on it as an opportunity to dismantle free markets and grow government"), and a certain flawed global institution ("The UN is a systemically-corrupt, left-wing political organization"). Forget the climate change conversion, what does it take for a "skeptic" to realize he is viewing the world through an exaggerated ideological lens? All in all, the piece is a mixed bag for those who would co-opt it for their side in the climate wars. Right now, it seems to have mostly rankled climate skeptics, for obvious reasons. Regarding the larger climate change debate at hand, this commenter helpfully reminds us what we should strive to do more often:

To clarify discussions about AGW, separate the topic into (at least) three parts: 1. The scientific evidence "” what has been measured up until today "” and the AGW scientific theory to explain this evidence. 2. Projections, predictions and scenarios of the future. This is based on the evidence and theory, but has not yet happened. 3. Debate, proposals and decisions about what we will do about AGW. This is the legitimately political part. It is, and will be, based on parts 1 and 2, but is distinct from them. The AGW discussions I've seen that get most confused are those where the moderator/initiator has not taken care to clearly make such a division and/or doesn't try to persuade commenters to do the same.

I'd say that much of the acrimony in the climate debate owes to these distinctions willfully not being made.

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