Climate Change Scoffers

>Jeffrey Simpson has articulated a thought that has long been ill-formed in my mind about the irresponsible, and fundamentally dishonest, position of what he calls climate change “scoffers”. Not full deniers, who are willing to take a position on what we should do about it (nothing, in their case). But those who just “throw darts” at the science, while maintaining they do not deny the basics climate change. 

The problem is that, by holding the science to levels of proof not asked of the skeptic, they are effectively advocating we shouldn’t take action, but never actually commit to the position. As Simpson puts it:
” … scoffers on the sidelines of the Canadian debate, the ones who throw little darts at this or that revelation of scientific overstretch while never denying the reality of global warming, [are] thereby adopting the ultimate position of justifying doing nothing without ever actually counselling that position”
Brilliantly put. A scoffer is a coward. A denier is not.
A climate change skeptic willing to be open about their skepticism, in the sense that they take responsibility for a logical connection to a policy commitment in which we do nothing – put their money where their mouth is (so to speak). Those who argue climate change is not real, and connect to the conclusion that we do nothing – or wait to take real action – are being intellectually honest. I think they’re dead wrong, and don’t understand the science, but they’re honest. They put their stake in the ground, and take responsibility for their position – “do nothing” they say, “it’s not real.”
But those who are happy to throw mud on the science – but never admit that climate change is not real, or that we should not act – are effectively dishonest. Holding the science to a level of certainty normally reserved for mathematical proofs, while not publicly advocating that we actually do nothing, is having your cake and eating it too. When the poop hits the fan, they ensure they hold a safety card that says “I never actually said it wasn’t real!” 
The ‘scoffer’ holds a cowardly position. Throwing darts is easy. Grown-ups needs to take responsibility for an actual decision – do we act, or don’t we? 
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2 Responses to Climate Change Scoffers

  1. Anonymous says:

    >Let me get this straight, scoffers are people who believe in AGW but criticize the science which supports it? They expect the science to be better than it is. They are called scoffers? These people are correct to criticize; they might believe in AGW but they are correct the science which supports it is weak. And they re right to criticize or throw darts as Simpson says. I think they are people who are on the brink of swinging over to the skeptic side. I was in that position 3 years ago until I read the UN IPCC Ar4 report. Up to that point I Believed, but the science was so weak that I ended up converting to the dark side. I think these scoffers are in the same position. In other words, you believe in AGW even though the science is poor, what do they call people like you?

  2. Tom Rand says:

    >"Even though the science poor" – I've no idea where to start on that. Do you mean a particular piece of the several thousand bits of evidence for AGW is 'poor' – or is the aggregate evidence poor? This is my key point: "scoffers" point to a single scientific over-stretch (for example) and allow the IMPLICIT conclusion that the "science is poor" which then implies we do nothing.

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