Over my first cup of coffee this morning I came up with a little irony which you and I may live long enough to see metastasize into a big one. I think the germ of it came from the comment on a previous post that "I lose" because polls show that "humans are not responsible for changing the climate".
It occurred to me that global warming skepticism generally encompasses two principle lines of thought: first, that it is not happening at all, and second, that even if it is happening, humans have no hand in it. In either case, the skeptic must come up with some kind of explanation for why a prohibitive majority of qualified climate scientists disagree.
These explanations begin with the relatively innocuous belief that scientists really aren't sure, but as a rule are just too timid to speak out against the prevailing consensus - to the various conspiracy theories, in which scientists are somehow joining together to fool the public as part of a larger effort to acquire wealth and power.
But in every explanation, the skeptic must accept the net result that scientists are just lying to us.
Forget for a minute the "anthropocentric" contributions to global warming and consider this. If, and I repeat if, global mean temperatures continue to rise as scientists are predicting, we should see some tangible effects in the next twenty years or so. Even a modest increase of a few inches in sea level for example could have noticeable effects on low lying coastal areas from Louisiana to the Netherlands. Patterns of agriculture in most countries would also be affected.
Now I'm no great expert on the future consequences of global warming, but I do believe that if this last decade was the warmest on record since 1850 - and if the next decade is even warmer (which is the prediction) - then one should anticipate at least some noticeable consequences will materialize within a period of years and not centuries. What then?
Who then will the public (bless their hearts!) turn to for solutions? If climate scientists have all been exposed as unreliable liars and cheats, how can they be relied upon to furnish an explanation - much less solutions - for global warming? Wouldn't the public (in its infinite wisdom) be better off turning to the skeptics, who had the right answers all along? I mean, don't you think people like Anthony Watts, Joanne Nova, George Will, Jim Inhofe, Christopher Monckton and Andrew Breitbart are the ones we should put in charge of dealing with the consequences of global warming?