[posted by Justin Levine]
This series of posts isn’t just to spout off my own personal opinions (after all, who really cares?), but to stimulate a much needed debate. However, one commenter asked me a legitimate question – what exactly do I believe or not believe as a self-proclaimed “skeptic” on the global warming issue.
In a nutshell -
I am certainly NOT disputing the fact that the climate is changing – but I believe that the climate is ALWAYS changing. Therefore, the mere assertion that “the climate is changing” is insignificant.
I also don’t dispute that the nature of the recent changes have brought about slight warming relative to last few hundred years.
I don’t dispute the fact that the Earth is currently the warmest it has been in roughly 400 years. (Nor do I know any other self-proclaimed skeptics who dispute the last 3 statements above.)
I believe that comparing changes over merely 400 years to be a very short time span relative to Earth’s modern climatological history – and thus is of little scientific use.
I believe that specific and accurate temperature records only go back to about 1850. So when someone refers to it being “the hottest since daily temperatures have been recorded”, they are only talking about the last 150 years at most (which one again, I believe to be scientifically insignificant).
I DO dispute the notion that the Earth is warmer now than it has been in the last millennium (1,000 years).
I don’t dismiss the notion that the changes are brought on at least in part by human activity – but I don’t believe that it has contributed to the majority of the net changes (like everyone else on both sides of the debate, I can’t specifically quantify it with any certainty – but I believe mankind to be significantly less than 50% of the overall cause.)
I believe that the level of changes in temperature are still relatively small in terms of concrete degree measurements. (Correspondingly, I believe the amount of changes caused by man-made factors to be even more miniscule.) I believe that “record tempertaures” can be set and measured by less than one-tenth of a degree – so I am not automatically concerned when we have set “record” temperatures in the last 11 of 12 years going only back to 1750 (which I beleive is the base year that the IPCC uses in its report summary.)
I do NOT believe that any of the current (or likely future) changes will lead to dire consequences (* perhaps the key belief here in this debate) .
I do NOT believe that the Earth will automatically continue to always get warmer and warmer if we fail to do anything about CO2 levels relative to where we are right now.
I believe that a cooling trend (relative to where we are right now) will eventually happen as part of Earth’s natural changing cycle EVEN IF CO2 levels increase substantially to where we are right now.
I hope this clarifies things for the debate. Now at least we can be clear about what you all think I am in denial about. Furthermore, I assure that I have an open mind about everything listed above. However, I need to be convinced – and merely asserting that there is “consensus among all scientists, except for those in the pcokets of big oil” is irrelevent to me regarding this particular issue.
Enough of my “beliefs” for now…back to the science.
[posted by Justin Levine]