Not so fast say proponents of modern GW theory. Yesterday a story shot across the news cycle that 'NASA' research suggested GW alarmists were a bit off course. This brought a wave of stories debunking this latest find. An example of it is here, at Live Science.
Now the science behind it all is a little beyond my expertise. I don't know what to think. But I noticed something. While the Live Science article did bother, beyond some of the other pieces that took offense at this latest critique of GW status quo thinking, to mention some of the actual science, it rested heavily on who Spencer, the NASA scientist in question, actually was.
Several times it was mentioned that he is a 'Global Warming Skeptic.' And? Why not say the others are 'Global Warming Advocates'? It also had a section on 'Science and Politics.' Yeah? And? Couldn't it be true that both sides could be guilty of letting non-scientific factors influence their interpretation of the data?
That's what hit me in all of this. First, the headlines said 'NASA Study suggests....' when in fact the individual was affiliated with NASA, but it doesn't look like it was a grand NASA conclusion or anything (they're busy packing up their boxes since we'll now be hitching rides with the Russians and Chinese for our space travel). Yet most criticisms came, not focused on his actual science, but focusing on him.
It reminds me of an old Charlie Brown cartoon. The girl Violet comes up to Schroeder and Charlie Brown, who are engaged in a heated debate. She hears what they are saying: "Who plays the piano all the time!", "You do, all day at that dumb piano!", "Oh, yeah! Well at least I can catch a baseball!" And on and on they go. Violet then asks them, "What are you two arguing about?" They both answer, "We're arguing over who was better, Beethoven or Davey Crockett." As Violet walks away, she gives a quizzical look as she overhears the debate continue: "Who wears a stupid shirt with a stupid stripe?", "You do..."
That's about it. Basically I get the feeling everyone is sure the science agrees with them because as soon as someone suggests either side is wrong, folks just dismiss them by attacking who they are, what 'Side' they are on, or whatever. Which makes it difficult if you think about it. It certainly does me, since I don't think either side is more prone than the other to let non-scientific purposes enter into their thinking. To paraphrase Longshanks from the movie Braveheart: The problem with science is, it's full of scientists!
I do know it's been hot this summer after a terrible winter. I know the seasons are overall different than I remember them. I know we do break records, but often they were set decades ago, or we only 'nearly' break the records, meaning there were other times it was worse. I know that the 1930s looked pretty bad as a decade, and many records were set then that still stand. And I know the climate has been changing for eons, and that things like the Medieval warm ups weren't part of some Northumbrian conspiracy to thwart children of a future age.
So what to think? My guess there's truth behind climate change since it's always been happening. Are all the pollutants and carbon we belch into the air a good thing? Probably not. Can we make changes that could at least reduce our part of the damage? Sure. Is the very presence of humanity, as some claim, the culprit? Doubt it, that's selling this old world pretty cheap, and also typical of the generational arrogance that is so prevalent nowadays.
Overall, the lesson? My lesson is this: Scientists say we should turn to science to solve our problems. Yet according to scientists into MMGW, the reason we have these problems today is that two hundred years or so ago when the scientists and inventors told everyone to give them a blank check, that they would solve the world's problems, and nothing could possibly go wrong, we said OK. Lesson learned. Science can certainly help us, but only the greatest generation of fools would say we are on the brink of destruction due to giving science, technology and industry a blank check, and then conclude our only hope is to give science and technology a blank check. Fool me once, after all.