Climate *Skeptics* Shift Their Ground

The term climate skeptic leaves a hell of a lot of room for manouver.  It could mean you're skeptical of the policies or the science, or that global warming is bad or of the anthropogenic bit.

Or it could mean that you're just skeptical of one little bit of the conventional wisdom that is climate change science. In which case I can claim to be a climate skeptic too.

Last week I blogged about these words by Geoff Chambers  "We don’t deny that global tem­per­at­ures have been rising irreg­u­larly for cen­turies, and that anthro­po­genic CO2 may be respons­ible for some of the recent rise. Where we dis­agree with the con­sensus is on the higher estim­ates of cli­mate sens­it­ivity endorsed by the IPCC and the cata­strophic effects which are sup­posed inev­it­ably to follow." Skeptics are moving the goalposts here. How is global cooling or Svensmark's cosmic ray theories, say,  reflected in that statement ?

But it's a statement that makes the goalposts much much narrower, in fact it's basically unfalsifiable.

Perhaps that's why  it's a meme being explored more and more by the skeptical blog-o-sphere. Witness Jo Nova's bad tempered blogpost in which she states "the debate (which you evidently aren’t aware of) is not about whether CO2 absorbs infra red, but whether that warming effect is significant."

So who's right, the majority of the world's top scientists or Jo Nova and co?  Hell I don't know. But I'd venture the majority of the the world's top scientists trumps it because the question of the net importance of the greenhouse effect means weighing up a whole bunch of pluses and minuses to form a collective opinion. Climate skeptics cant and aren't matching that, they are merely picking holes - perhaps it should really be called Climate Pedantry.

Jo Nova is author of The Skeptics Handbook which states (amongst other things): "Proof of Global Warming is not proof that greenhouse gases caused that warming" I'm looking forward to reading how Jo Nova has disowned that work.


  1. "I'm looking forward to reading how Jo Nova has disowned that work.'

    You'll be wating a long time. Proof of global warming is still not proof that greenhouse gases caused that warming. Her statement still stands in my view.


  2. Hi Anonymous,
    I'm not quibbling with that statement from Skeptics Handbook. I'm pointing out that in Skeptics Handbook Nova frames the debate as hinging on a CO2 attribution and now she is saying the debate is CO2 irrelevant.