Sunday, May 26, 2019

Farewell to the climate debate

I have been debating climate change since at least 2009 - ten years - on and off. I started on the Daily Mail comment lists, and have spent a lot of the last 10 months or so on a Twitter debate with about 50 tweeps on its list. This cluttered my Twitter timeline badly.

I now know it is a waste of time. Man-made climate change deniers are, in the main, not seriously into science. Science is about understanding, reflecting on and explaining the processes that are going on in the natural world in a coherent way, building a picture of reality.

The deniers, and I use the word advisedly, are not interested creating a coherent view of the world. They just want to deny, question and nit-pick every single statement that climate science makes. Everything. It is not a to and fro argument about the observations or how they are put together. It is just a game of gainsaying, of having a question for every answer.

Deniers should be pressed to defend their hypothesis, but this I now find is also a waste of time.

I find it interesting, as a psychiatrist, that they do not simply use denial, but also projection, where they accuse scientist of all the weaknesses that they possess, to the point that they present a mirror image of their own state onto climatologists, attacking their funding, presenting them as a conspiracy and a cult.

I will miss the debate, because it kept me dipping into the science, which is fascinating.

Like medicine, climate science is both simple and complex. The simplicity of it is this:

  1. The Greenhouse Effect is real.
  2. CO2 is the major non-condensing greenhouse gas
  3. We are causing CO2 levels to increase by burning fossil fuels
  4. When we double CO2 levels,which will happen about 2075 at current rates, the planet will be committed to a temperature increase of about 3C
  5. Such an increase would mean disaster for human civilisation
  6. Therefore we must break our addiction to carbon energy as fast as possible.

Deniers oppose every single one of these points, but their aim is just to delay the implementation of point 6.

So, reluctantly, I have quit the climate debate scene, in order to work on what we have to do to leave our addiction to carbon based energy, sketch out a broad route map for travelling from where we are now to where we need to be in future, as we use the energy income that the Sun provides for our planet.

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