Tuesday, November 20, 2007

What if We're not Responsible for Global Warming?

Soon it will be even more difficult for those who deny the human responsibility for Global Warming to keep a straight face while making their arguments. A report is about to be published by an exceedingly impressive list of respected scientists outlining the state of the globe and prospects for the future with regard to climate change (as the deniers prefer to call it). The report comes just in advance of the meeting of industrial nations to follow up on the Kyoto accord. USA, the most important signatory of that treaty has of course abandoned it and justified doing so with some very poorly done, lobbyist sponsored science.

Canada has actually dramatically increased it's greenhouse emissions since signing the accord and the Conservative government tried initially to minimize or debate the truth of global warming, but even they have had to come around and might even surprise some people in the next wave of treaties. They are probably doing this more as a reaction to recent polls that suggest Canadians are becoming more green every day and are even willing to vote for the Green Party. Research also shows that we are willing to pay more for green products and services and would even pay higher taxes if it went toward cleaner environmental policies. Elizabeth May is well positioned here with her party, the Liberal party is making changes to their policies, while the NDP need to find a way to balance their commitments to labour and heavy manufacturing to become greener or they will be left in the dust.

I have always been amused by those who deny that we humans are having a dangerous effect on the climactic shifts of our planet. I understand science is always open to debate and I would always encourage it. The evidence in this case is so dramatically shifted towards one set of theories over another that anyone who argues the weaker case would need to be seen as a maverick in the best case, a quack in a middling case or a fraud in the worst case. I don't mind that some middling science is poorly done and can create false conclusions. I accept that this happens but these instances are easily shown to be faulty and soon discarded. The worst cases are those that take money from lobbyists and then fraudulently produce custom results. These people are the scourge not only of science but of all things dear to humanity and they should be vigorously exposed.

As for the best case scenario in which a scientist authentically engages in science and insists on findings that go contrary to commonly accepted understanding. These people often point to the examples of Galileo or Copernicus as their models. For every Galileo or Copernicus there have been thousands upon thousands of people who also went against commonly accepted notions of science and were never in the end proven to be right simply because they were wrong. Just because you're a maverick and everyone thinks you're too extreme doesn't automatically make you right. There's the distinct and more likely possibility that you might just be an idiot.

Let's take the extremely unlikely possibility that one of these deniers of Global Warming is not a middling and incompetent scientist but is rather a maverick, does science authentically without skewing his results to suit lobbyist or political masters and arrives at the conclusion that Global Warming is not caused by Humans. If this remotely unlikely possibility which I am in principle willing to entertain is true then what? Even if this were the case how could anyone deny the benefits of removing millions and millions of tonnes of pollutants from the atmosphere, making the air fresher to breathe, reducing toxin originating cancers, birth defects and other ailments? How could anyone deny the benefits of conducting business more efficiently and the creation of new innovative technologies that would result from these reductions? Even if we're wrong about the real cause of Global Warming which is really not in debate, then we still need to go full steam ahead in reducing emissions for all of the other benefits that would result.

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