I just put this up as a comment in response to Clive James pisspoor piece on Radio 4 last Friday supporting the cause of man-made climate change denialism.
OK Clive, you admit you know naught about climate science, that's OK. I bet you don't mind putting a bob or 2 on the horses, so let's start from there.
Let's look at it from a betting perspective.
Despite what you say, the consensus among scientists (yes, with a few exceptions, as is always the case in science, and when you say the number of sceptical scientists is increasing, you mean that they have gone up from 31 to 32 or some such, but at the same time, the Grim Reaper is taking their numbers down, because most of the "sceptics" have been drawing their pensions for a couple of decades)... where was I? Ah yes, the consensus among real climate scientists is that we should decarbonise our economy as a matter of urgency.
So what would the bookies say?
Say we decarbonise our economy, and it turns out (against all reasonable expectations) that the scientific consensus view was wrong, and that Clive James had it right all along? Well, we will have created hundreds of thousands of jobs in insulation and renewable energy manufacturing and taken thousands out of fuel poverty. We will also have reduced the shock of Peak Oil and Peak Gas, and reduced the acidification of the oceans. And addressed our energy security problems. And increased prosperity in hot countries. And created wonderful new natural diverse forests. And so on. Not bad, not bad at all.
Say on the other hand, we go the way of the denialists/skeptics, and it turns out, as per all reasonable expectations, that they are wrong and the atmospheric scientists are right?
We will be facing problems with energy security, Peak Oil, Peak Gas, acidified oceans, acid rain, fuel poverty, unemployment, poverty, civil unrest and finally, massive, catastrophic climate disruption from droughts, floods, crop failures, disease, and war. With massive migration caused by environmental collapse. Not good.
Any sensible punters would put their money on decarbonising the global economy.
In the end, this is not an academic debate, because we and our children are part of the experiment. We have to make a choice, and if we get the choice wrong, it's not going to be funny at all.