I have just sent this letter to some climate scientists in the UK:
I would like to explore a new strategy designed to resolve the climate change debate speedily.
At present the debate seems interminable, like fighting the Hydra: cut off one misperception, and another two appear in its place. The sceptics' criticisms can be refuted, but they always come back with more. They attack, we defend, and the journalists deduce that there is a "controversy", which results in the lamentable situation that Joe Public is undecided, which in turn extinguishes the enthusiasm of Government to do anything meaningful to address the problem.
I propose that instead of defending our position, we should take the fight to the sceptics' own territory and force them to think critically about their own position.
In Popperian terms, if the sceptics' position is scientific, it must be refutable.
I have had a debate with Benny Peiser, which is on my blog here. There is a summary of the correspondence here:
Peiser was coy of offering a testable hypothesis, but his remarks clearly imply that he believes climate sensitivity is far lower than the IPCC figure.
It is reasonable to argue that this proposition lies at the core of the sceptics' position. Lindzen and Choi, and Roy Spencer are all putting forward papers that support low climate sensitivity.
Therefore if we focus the debate on the science around climate sensitivity, testing the fit of their proposition with what we already know, and even designing investigations that would refute (or not, as the case may be) their proposition, we could achieve a resolution of the debate.
The advantage of this strategy is that it focuses onto a single point - refutability of low sensitivity - and sidesteps the infinity of special pleadings and cherrypicked anecdotes that is the stock in trade of their hugely successful propaganda campaign.
My purpose in writing is to explore your reactions.
You might have names of contacts in academia who are focussed on climate sensitivity, or if you think the idea has merit, you might like to consider setting up seminars or debates in Bristol to take this further.
I am very grateful for your attention to this proposal.