I Made A Mistake

In the debate on global warming and it’s impact on climate change, the left has successfully framed the position such that you are either a believer in catastrophic climate change that requires dramatic and immediate economic damage in order to save the world from literal existence or you are a denier who believes man walked with the dinosaur.

I happen to take the very real and legitimate position that :

  1. CO2 is a green house gas.
  2. Green house gases cause temperatures to rise.
  3. Man contributes to an increase in CO2.
  4. The world is warmer than it might otherwise be.

I do NOT ascribe to the belief in the positive feedback models that are necessary to create the catastrophe that the alarmists envision.

And now there is one more of me in the world.

One of the leading alarmists has changed his tune.  And to his credit, he is admitting that he was wrong and explains why others in the field might not be able to:

In 2007, Time magazine named Lovelock as one of 13 leaders and visionaries in an article on “Heroes of the Environment,which also included Gore, Mikhail Gorbachev and Robert Redford.

“Jim Lovelock has no university, no research institute, no students. His almost unparalleled influence in environmental science is based instead on a particular way of seeing things,” Oliver Morton, of the journal Nature wrote in Time. “Humble, stubborn, charming, visionary, proud and generous, his ideas about Gaia have started a change in the conception of biology that may serve as a vital complement to the revolution that brought us the structures of DNA and proteins and the genetic code.”

Lovelock also won the U.K.’s Geological Society’s Wollaston Medal in 2006. In a posting on its website, the society said it was “rare to be able to say that the recipient has opened up a whole new field of Earth science study” – referring to the Gaia theory of the planet as single complex system.

The man is a hero of the revolution.  And he’s now tracking back a bit:

“The problem is we don’t know what the climate is doing. We thought we knew 20 years ago. That led to some alarmist books – mine included – because it looked clear-cut, but it hasn’t happened,” Lovelock said.

“The climate is doing its usual tricks. There’s nothing much really happening yet. We were supposed to be halfway toward a frying world now,” he said.

“The world has not warmed up very much since the millennium. Twelve years is a reasonable time… it (the temperature) has stayed almost constant, whereas it should have been rising — carbon dioxide is rising, no question about that,” he added.

Asked if he was now a climate skeptic, Lovelock told msnbc.com: “It depends what you mean by a skeptic. I’m not a denier.”

There’s dogma on both sides; beware the shaman of either “Weather God.”

2 responses to “I Made A Mistake

  1. I was talking about this (global warming) as well as theories of economic collapse, peak oil, and a variety of ideas out there. They’re all driven by real evidence, and interpretations of possible crisis are possible in each. Yet if you look back at Y2K and other “threats,” it’s human nature to imagine a worst case scenario.

    I recall when I was visiting Fulda, Germany for the first time. The “Fulda gap” was where the Soviets were going to attack, and I knew some military people who were convinced something would cause a Soviet invasion. We had systems in place to blow up the world because of that fear. Yet really? Were the Soviets ever likely to simply invade? If you analyze charts, capacities and plan, it’s easy to make an unlikely possibility a “near certainty.” And the concern about ‘bird flu’ and other possible epidemics was legit — but people again took “a possibility we should be concerned about” and turned it into what many thought a near certainty.

    I ultimately come down thinking oil is likely to become more scarce and expensive and probably does contribute to climate change of some sort, perhaps catastrophic, but likely not – so I support trying to shift our economy to greener technologies. More importantly I’d like us (the West) to have the lead on this so it’s a real option to emerging economies. China would be a much nicer place to live, I am told, if they didn’t have all the pollution. But in general, it’s human nature to magnify the likelihood of a horrific outcome, especially if you’re deep into the information about it.

    • Fulda, Germany

      I grew up near Fulda, Minnesota. The owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves grew up there.

      Years ago a tornado destroyed the whole of the town, I think only the Post Office remained. He paid to have the town rebuilt.

      I ultimately come down thinking oil is likely to become more scarce and expensive

      I do too, but I think we’re decades away from that, perhaps 80-150 years.

      probably does contribute to climate change of some sort, perhaps catastrophic, but likely not

      I agree. I firmly believe the world is warmer than it would otherwise be. But not by a lot. And for it to tip into catastrophic land there would have to be significant positive feedback cycles that we’re just not seeing.

      I support trying to shift our economy to greener technologies.

      Yes. I do not support massive economic damage to make it happen, however.

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