Believe it or not, I was once a skeptic about man-caused climate change.
Back around 1998-99, I often wrote to an ultra-progressive, liberal list whose name was something like positive-living. (I have searched for a half-hour, but can't find it on Google.) As you might expect, many of the participant were anti-GM foods, anti-western society, and firmly believed in anthropogenic climate change.
I had some fun debating them. At that point I didn't buy the case for AGW. But, in truth, I didn't know anything about it.
That fall I moved from Gilford, NH
to Ogunquit, ME
, and I started to read a lot of books. I read The Heat is On
by Ross Gelbspan, and Spencer Weart's The Discovery of Global Warming
and several other books, and I learned what people were concerned about.
I started reading papers and talking to scientists and reporting on the topic, mostly for Scientific American
: Soon & Baliunas
, Michael Mann
, and several other stories on Sci Am
, other outlets, and my blog.
That was fun. But that was then.
The scientific case for anthropogenic climate change has been proven to the extent it needs to be -- i.e. that society needs to take it very, very seriously and that it ought to change its methods of energy production.
Being inherently selfish human beings, the world won't undertake this change, of course. But so what?
So what's left?
Really, I have little interest in reporting on Christopher Monckton's 466 questions to John Abraham, or even worse, his absurd, cowardly and utterly transparent demand that Abraham be disciplined by his institution. Monckton has clearly been proven wrong (and not just wrong, but now he has revealed himself as a clown) and is just in this for the celebrity. He will apparently do anything to keep his name in the press/blogs.
Sometimes I think that's all I should do -- respond with prejudice and keep my name in the links and build up the hits. Crash conferences and write demanding emails because you won't (or can't) do the legitimate, hard-core work that science requires.
But this is getting silly and tiring, almost as stupid as the travails of Bristol Palin and Levi Johnston or whatever the Kardashian sluts do to keep in the news.
So what to do?
There are a lot of really important science news stories out there, it seems to me. The lack of regulation of new nanotechnologies. And especially what's coming to light about the role of environmental chemicals and their impact on our ecology and (probably) our very own species.
The enormous and embarrassing question in physics that the public has not yet grasped: scientists do not know what 95% of the Universe is made of. What could possibly be worse, from a scientific point of view? Or more interesting?
So while climate science is interesting, I'm not sure it's any longer that relevant, news-wise. It's a done deal. There's no longer any scientific basis for criticizing it, just personal gossip type stuff
. Kind of desperate, and kind of boring.