Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Cimate Caper

The Climate Caper by Garth Paltridge, is a brief overview of the whole Global Warming thing and the proposed carbon reduction scheme. I was skeptical of Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth and have since observed a powerful bandwagon emerge against which any dissent is discouraged. Paltridge a climate scientist with the CSIRO, questions the manner of measuring global warming and the danger of having a supposedly iron clad "scientific consensus." It's one thing he argues to say it seems global temperature has increased and that there may be a correlation with increased carbon in the atmosphere but it's a whole another thing to say that human activity directly causes global temperature increase and it's completely unclear how to manage human culture's interaction with the global environment. I really enjoyed the chapter about the changing nature of science. Paltridge argues that most fields should rely on the use of hypothesis, holding conclusions loosely, reproducing results and keeping politics at arm's length. Climate change, his specific area of expertise he argues is a difficult area to make large-scale and long-term predictions. However, from a theological perspective I was interested to read about from Paltridge's perspective the way in which the whole global warming thing has become almost pseudo-religious, complete with it's own orthodoxy and heresy, priestly establishment and eschatology. Here is a more polemical sample paragraph for your reading pleasure:

The hugely popular doomsday cult of climate change and global warming has developed virtually all the nasty aspects of political correctness, of which the most obvious is an unthinking, and highly public, intolerance of the opposing view. And it is certainly true that we are on the brink of wasting in its name mind-numbingly large amounts of money and resource on strange unproven exercises of social engineering. (94)