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Why We're Doomed

Collide-a-ScapeBy Keith KloorOctober 27, 2010 9:15 PM


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Last June, I explored the blogospheric polarization of the climate debate in this conversation with two climate bloggers who consciously avoid hyperbole. Naturally, their readership is tiny compared to WUWT and Climate Progress. I got to thinking about this climate divide again after I read a comment by Zeke Hausfather on Judith Curry's "Heresy" post. Zeke nails the cause (my emphasis):

I think part of the problem (and, frankly, the retrenchment among some scientists) is how monochromatic climate science has been cast. You are either a warmest or denier; you either believe every word of the IPCC or believe all of climate science is a scam. Any flaw or criticism gets trumpeted as "bringing down the house of cards" or "driving the final nail in the coffin of AGW", and this tends to create an environment poisonous to good skeptical science. These strawmen do not reflect the way the majority of scientists think (or people in general, I would hope), but tend to be overwhelmingly present in blog discussions. Its quite possible to criticize parts of the IPCC (hello working group III"¦) or how uncertainties have been systematically understated by media reports and advocacy groups while still being concerned by the facts that doubling CO2 would increase radiative forcing by ~3.7 watts per meter squared and that the vast majority of evidence we have collected to date suggests that climate sensitivity is positive. The lack of a basic foundation of agreement to argue upon has the unfortunate effect of making many blog discussions something of an exercise in futility.

A similar point was made in a comment over at Roger Pielke Jr's blog, in a thread that also pertained to Judith's "Heresy" post. The reader asserts that,

those who disagree seem to beunable to even find a venue that they can debate in. You and Curry want to do it in blogs that are dominated by dogmatists who don't even accept the basics that you and Curry do, and you expect them to wade through that. They want you and Curry to do the debate in traditional journals. You and she do that to some degree, but your efforts in your blogs fall on deaf ears in their community for the most part. I don't know what the answer to all of this is, and I'm not saying it's ALL your and Curry's fault. But it certainly isn't all the IPCC/RC crowd's fault either. We live in a partisan world and that partisanship undermines rational debate in many areas, not just the explicitly political.

In other words, we're doomed. Seriously, I don't see any way around this. Judith Curry wants to talk about "climate models" and "climate sensitivity" in this environment? If the blogospheric debate is so thoroughly dominated by partisans and dogmatists who snipe at each other from opposite sides of the climate divide, then what is the way forward?

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