So inel’s post here hipped me to the New Scientist’s feature that details climate change myths, and the evidence that exists to counter these myths. I’ve been meaning to write more on this, especially after exploring some bloggers’ posts who seem to think that anecdotal arguments (see this Urban Renaissance Institute’s article on how the IPCC selection process is supposedly biased because of one entomologist (bug scientists) feelings towards them), and politicians such as James Inhofe (press blog here, his “skeptics” article here) calling all climate change press coverage a hoax, are sufficient “arguments” against climate change.
What I just don’t understand, is where does rationality stop and the concept of “belief” start taking over how you make decisions about the world? We are in a modern world, where belief and “team politics” should be secondary to evaluating information with a critical mind. For more on this topic, and a reminder of how some of the horrors of the 20th century were created and propagated by taking advantage of people unable or unwilling to examine things critically – see Jonathan Glover‘s Humanity, which I initially found in the end notes of Sam Harris‘ The End of Faith.
Anyway, back to applying rational thinking to climate change, and following inel’s lead, here’s the start to the New Scientist Article:
Climate change: A guide for the perplexed
* 17:00 16 May 2007
* NewScientist.com news service
* Michael Le Page
Our planet’s climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence it, from massive events on the Sun to the growth of microscopic creatures in the oceans, and there are subtle interactions between many of these factors.
Yet despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to human activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and if emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with increasingly serious consequences.
Yes, there are still big uncertainties in some predictions, but these swing both ways. For example, the response of clouds could slow the warming or speed it up.
With so much at stake, it is right that climate science is subjected to the most intense scrutiny. What does not help is for the real issues to be muddied by discredited arguments or wild theories.
So for those who are not sure what to believe, here is our round-up of the 26 most common climate myths and misconceptions.
There is also a guide to assessing the evidence. In the articles we’ve included lots of links to primary research and major reports for those who want to follow through to the original sources.