Author: Edward

The Science Is Weak and the Consensus Is Not Wrong

The Science Is Weak and the Consensus Is Not Wrong

Rural climate skeptics are costing us time and money. Do we keep indulging them? If we don’t, they’ll just keep arguing.

Rural climate skepticism is a political problem, not a scientific one.

In the final months of President Trump’s tenure, there’s been an increasingly loud chorus of self-styled “climate skeptics.” This is true in many ways: these “skeptics” are almost all climate-change believers, or else have a strong climate-change bias, and they make strong and repeated arguments with climate science. At this precise moment, the most prominent of them is Bill Nye.

This is a problem because, for the most part, rural climate skeptics have a point.

The climate-change consensus is strong and is not likely to change much under President Trump. Many of these critics argue that that the science is weak and the consensus is wrong. The skeptics might argue that warming to 2 C is dangerous, that CO 2 is a pollutant, that there is too much carbon in the atmosphere, that warming is occurring more quickly than many scientists predict, or that the greenhouse-gas effect is overstated, to name just a few.

But they’re wrong.

The science is not weak and the consensus is not wrong.

None of the individual skeptics’ criticisms of the science stand up. Their arguments are weak and circular. They have not even tried to understand the science or its limitations.

That’s a problem.

It’s bad not because these people are wrong; they’re wrong about a lot of things. It’s bad because these people use flawed logic to argue for positions they are ill-equipped to make. It’s bad because, like most climate skeptics, they base their arguments on a false understanding of science. And, like many climate skeptics, they also use their politics as an excuse for bad policy.

There is, however, one way in which the skeptics’ criticism is right: the science is weak and the consensus is not wrong.

Yes, the science is weak, and we should be worried about it, but it’s weak for a different reason than they think. Climate skeptics don

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