Wouldn't It Be Great If Climate Science Had It All Wrong?

Posted on September 28, 2019

Belief is surely one of humanity’s most dangerous forces. It ignites vast and ruinous battles; both ‘culture wars’ and real ones. It divides culture from culture; community from community; friend from friend; father from son. Belief is the heart of who we are and how we live our lives. And yet it is not what we think it is: not a product of intelligence or education or logic. There are invisible forces at play here. And I have no idea what they are.

Will Storr, The Unpersuadables, 2014

Imagine climate science had it all wrong. Wouldn’t that be an enormous relief? I am leading a very comfortable life in a very pleasant city right now. I immensely enjoy my holidays and my travel, and the comforts of my home. I would very much like to continue as usual.

So I have engaged in discussions with lots of people in the last few weeks who are less alarmed than I am, and have considered the kind of advice they have for me.

There are excellent sources of information about climate science and global warming available on internet. A place to start could be the Wikipedia lemma on Global Warming. This is only useful, of course, for those of us who have some trust in the reliability of Wikipedia. My own trust in Wikipedia is based on what I know about how articles are created and vetted, and how controversy is handled. A useful website for climate science sceptics is skepticalscience.com: it has a list of 197 false sceptical claims, with their refutations. Again, this will only be convincing for those who have some experience with how science works.

OK, I have accepted what science has to say about the climate. And it frightens me. In fact, I am scared stiff. And as I adjust, I can reflect on what I - or you and I - can do with this very very inconvenient knowledge.