What Does "Non-Skeptic Heretic" Mean?

The IntersectionBy Chris MooneyJan 3, 2007 7:04 AM


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Gosh, I have so much work to do, I feel like blogging..... A dialogue/debate is starting up over this whole concept of a "middle ground" on global warming, or the idea that one can be a "non-skeptic heretic." See here and here and just generally all over the place. Labels are dangerous, so let me just tell you briefly how I think about all this. I am a "non-skeptic heretic" if it means the following:

1. The kind of person who thinks global warming is real and human-caused, but gets really uneasy when environmental groups and their ilk oversell the science, whether it's by blaming global warming for individual weather events or just generally by trying to make everything seem more certain than it actually is. Don't get me wrong, environmental advocates are generally my intellectual "allies"--but that's precisely why I want to hold them to a higher standard. I've spent a lot of energy criticizing the James Inhofes of the world, but Inhofe-type abuses do not justify similar abuses on the other side. 2. The kind of person who thinks there is going to have to be some sort of cap on emissions but who also realizes that we're committed to plenty of global warming already no matter what we do, and who remains dubious that Kyoto alone can get us out of our problems. There isn't one solution to global warming, there have to be many solutions, some combination of adaptation, mitigation, and innovation (technologies that can help get us out of this fix). 3. The kind of person who thinks, as Matt Nisbet does, that the global warming debate has been poorly and damagingly framed as a big "science fight," and that arguments over uncertainty have bogged us down and distracted us from finding the solutions we needed yesterday. The global warming debate desperately needs re-framing, and I'd very much like to see that happen.

If this is what "non-skeptic heretic" means, sign me up. If not, I'll continue to go un-labeled, thank you....

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