Saturday, 30 January 2010

Wishing away climate change

Don't you just wish this whole climate change problem were a big misunderstanding? A joke, a trick, perhaps "a hoax"?

Plenty of people are out there willing to tell you just that - this whole issue is not actually real, the voicing calling for greenhouse emission cuts are all "alarmists", and scientists aren't actually sure we're in any trouble. They'll tell you scientists aren't unanimous; they'll claim the evidence is tainted, sexed-up by rogue alarmist conspirators devoid of integrity. All the claims that Earth is warming at an unnatural rate are down to someone cooking the data. All the forecasts of looming trouble from further warming were unnecessary: CO2 is just "plant food" and we'll all be better off with happier crops as we watch the CO2 level blow past 400, 450, 500, 550 ppm. Where will it end? Doesn't matter, no harm done. Oh, and ocean acidification from rising CO2 - that's another myth we can just ignore.

Can you imagine? Wouldn't that be so much easier? We could all just relax, head for the mall in our SUVs, and forget. The bookstore wouldn't need to have any books about Incovenient Truths, Chilling Stars, Weather Makers, Skeptical Environmentalists, or any of that. It would all be moot.

Maybe Richard Lindzen might turn out to be right, and temperatures should only be expected to rise very slightly as CO2 builds up -- but how sure can we be sure about that? What about the dozens of other experts all saying Lindzen's estimate is far too low? Can we be sure they've all over-reacted? Maybe they're all in cahoots together trying to scare us. Maybe all the reports that temperatures are still setting record highs have been faked. Fox News thinks that's what happened. Maybe next year it will all turn around and temperatures will start settling back down to the levels of the 1990s.

Maybe arctic sea ice will recover. George Will thinks it will. Maybe glaciers are all going to be fine, worldwide. Someone found a mistake about Himalayan glaciers in an IPCC report; maybe all the other glacier data, from every continent, is also a mistake -- or, another arm of the conspiracy!

Maybe all the reports of birds migrating and plants flowering earlier each year were a mistake, or perhaps even another branch of this huge conspiracy!

That's got to be it: all the bad news is just nasty corrupt scientists trying to scare us. The Canadian icebreaker expecting multi-year ice, and only finding floating fragments - maybe they faked the video, and all the data. The CBC film crew could have been in on it too.

I wonder if they faked the ice cores and lake-bed sediment records, too? What if they are faking the ocean acidification data, and the coral bleaching? It's amazing what you can do in LightWave and Maya these days.

Wow, it looks like almost every scientist, naturalist, and environmental journalist might be in on this vast eco-fascist conspiracy. They've got all the granting agencies and national science academies. It's everywhere! All the major science journals must be in on it too - except plucky little Energy & Environment, the last hold-out against the onslaught. Too bad nobody takes E&E seriously!

I wonder who's orchestrating all this massive deception? Who could get so many people from so many different countries, professions, areas of research and specialization? How would you manage all the different players, and ensure nobody ever let slip what they all really knew? A cover-up of such proportions would require a powerful secret army of enforcers and a mastermind to create and plant all the fake claims, the stories behind them and plans for how to keep the real data hidden.

Even Dan Brown could only dream of such a far-reaching empire of deceit.

Only one man could be this conniving, this cunning and ruthless. Only one man could marshall every journalist and videographer, every scholar and postdoc drilling in the mud or ice on every continent, every analyst, statistician and reviewer.

It can only be one man:

Al Gore!

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