(Admittedly Matt, I can appreciate that hiding from my intellectual challenge, like Jim Steele does, makes more sense than joining the debate in a fair and square manner and revealing how bankrupt your arguments are - still the invitation remains.)
Now on to considering your "cheerleading for alarm" section.
Part Two ±450-935 (out of 5950 words)
Matt Ridley: Cheerleaders for alarm. This is precisely what has happened with the climate debate and it is at risk of damaging the whole reputation of science.
What precisely? You define nothing!
Matt Ridley: The “bad idea” in this case is not that climate changes, nor that human beings influence climate change; but that the impending change is sufficiently dangerous to require urgent policy responses.
Matt, I suggest your "bad idea" is to tailor your sentences toward belittling scientists and rejecting their evidence without ever even considering that evidence.
On top of that you show profound disregard for the wonders and complexities of our modern society and zero appreciation of how utterly dependent all that is on the relatively benign and predictable weather regime, and sea level, under which our human society developed these past thousands of years.
Matt Ridley: In the 1970s, when global temperatures were cooling, some scientists could not resist the lure of press attention by arguing that a new ice age was imminent. Others called this nonsense and the World Meteorological Organisation rightly refused to endorse the alarm. That’s science working as it should.
Here's another example of dragging the discuss away from the real topic at hand.
What about the nuances, or the questions scientists were asking each other, what about how accumulating evidence settled many unknowns with ever decreasing uncertainty margins? Why never actually look at what the scientists were saying?
What were climate scientists predicting in the 1970s?
1970s ice age predictions were predominantly media based. The majority of peer reviewed research at the time predicted warming due to increasing CO2.
Matt Ridley: In the 1980s, as temperatures began to rise again, some of the same scientists dusted off the greenhouse effect and began to argue that runaway warming was now likely.
- Convention on Long-Range Transboundary Air Pollution (LRTAP), Geneva, 1979.
- Environmental Protection: Aircraft Engine Emissions, Annex 16, vol. 2 to the Chicago Convention on International Civil Aviation, Montreal, 1981.
- Vienna Convention for the Protection of the Ozone Layer, Vienna, 1985, including the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, Montreal 1987.
So on and so forth, Matt do you realize that most of our quantitative knowledge regard CO2's radiative properties and its behavior in the atmosphere comes from military research? The US and Australian government's spent decades dedicated to accumulating a thorough quantitative understanding of greenhouse gas behavior throughout the atmospheric column.
Matt Ridley: At first, the science establishment reacted sceptically and a diversity of views was aired. It’s hard to recall now just how much you were allowed to question the claims in those days.
Here again nothing but conspiracy ideation. The scientific community is skeptical and many questions and challenges are made. The scientific community really is a skeptical intelligent lot. Richard Alley has an excellent perspective to share:
Matt Ridley: As Bernie Lewin reminds us in one chapter of a fascinating new book of essays called Climate Change: The Facts (hereafter The Facts), as late as 1995 when the second assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) came out with its last-minute additional claim of a “discernible human influence” on climate, Nature magazine warned scientists against overheating the debate.
Who is Bernie Lewin? What has he studies? What about hearing from an actual expert in the field !?
- Ian "iron sun" Plimer who has been fairly quiet since his heaven and earth fiasco (I sometimes wonder who really wrote that book)
- Patrick J Michaels - one half of Pat'n Chip from CATO, who argue that global warming will be okay because we can just buy air conditioners
- Richard Lindzen of the flawed iris hypothesis, who spends time these days talking climate science denial to anyone who'll listen
- Willie Soon who has had to resort to lending his name to a paper by the potty peer Christopher Monckton and the ratbag William M Briggs and scrounging funds from the Heartland Institute to publish some nonsense in a little known Chinese journal (not a climate science journal)
- Robert M Carter - an Australian who retired from his job as an academic to take up science denial for the Heartland Institute and related organisations. He's recently "come out" as an ice age comether.
- John Abbott, who I've never heard of
- Jennifer Marohasy, a denier from Australia who makes silly accusations about the Australian Bureau of Meteorology when she's not campaigning against the environment in general
- Nigel Lawson, an ex-public servant, who now heads up an anti-mitigation, pro-global warming lobby group in the UK appropriately named the Global Warming Policy Foundation
- Alan Moran who works for the IPA (he, like Patrick Michaels, is just doing what he's paid to do)
- James Delingpole, a sensationalist blogger, who doesn't do science and describes himself as an "interpreter of interpretations"
- Garth Paltridge, an ex-climate scientist turned global warming campaigner
- Joanne Nova, the pseudonym of Australian Jo Codling, an ex-children's television entertainer turned climate science denier who, with her partner the rocket scientist from Luna Park, promotes Force X and the Notch
- Kesten Green and Scott Armstrong, who write very dumb papers claiming that the world isn't really warming or if it is it's "natural"
- Rupert Darwall, who I've never heard of
- Ross McKitrick, an economics professor who keeps trying and failing to prove there aren't any hockey sticks in the world, or something
- Donna Laframboise, who thinks that no scientist should be paid any mind if they write or achieve anything while they are younger than 40 - presumably including Marie Curie, Louis Pasteur, Ernest Rutherford, or any of hundreds of other scientists who did some of their most amazing work when they were young - often before they received their higher degrees. (She wrote another "book" putting her instructions on the cover.)
- Mark Steyn, a sensationalist blogger/hack, who speaks of climate scientists with allusions to child molesters and is being sued for defamation
- Christopher Essex, about whom I know little except that he seems to be a one man organisation that grandly calls himself the "World Federation of Scientists" and moves and seconds motions decrying climate science then carries these motions himself
- Bernard Lewin, another person I've never heard of
- Stewart Franks, an engineering academic from Australia who belongs to the same anti-environment organisations as Jennifer Marohasy (above)
- Anthony Watts, an american who runs a blog for science deniers and conspiracy theorists and who wonders if global warming is being caused by Russian steam pipes
- Andrew Bolt, an Australian blogger who got his own television segment here. Similar to James Delingpole in that (so I've been told) he prides himself on his ignorance, confusing ignorance with independence. His tone and language is usually a tad milder than James, but the sentiment is the same.
Matt Ridley: Since then, however, inch by inch, the huge green pressure groups have grown fat on a diet of constant but ever-changing alarm about the future. That these alarms—over population growth, pesticides, rain forests, acid rain, ozone holes, sperm counts, genetically modified crops—have often proved wildly exaggerated does not matter: the organisations that did the most exaggeration trousered the most money. In the case of climate, the alarm is always in the distant future, so can never be debunked.
Oh boy, now we're getting into Republican/libertarian hysteria range. You think with one causal wave you can dismiss that entire laundry list of complex issues. That's an appeal to willful ignorance.
Where's the simple foresight to realize what's happening at the poles is going to radically damage coastal infrastructure and all who inhabit them.
Matt Ridley: These huge green multinationals, with budgets in the hundreds of millions of dollars, have now systematically infiltrated science, as well as industry and media, with the result that many high-profile climate scientists and the journalists who cover them have become one-sided cheerleaders for alarm, while a hit squad of increasingly vicious bloggers polices the debate to ensure that anybody who steps out of line is punished. They insist on stamping out all mention of the heresy that climate change might not be lethally dangerous.
Matt Ridley: Today’s climate science, as Ian Plimer points out in his chapter in The Facts, is based on a “pre-ordained conclusion, huge bodies of evidence are ignored and analytical procedures are treated as evidence”. Funds are not available to investigate alternative theories. Those who express even the mildest doubts about dangerous climate change are ostracised, accused of being in the pay of fossil-fuel interests or starved of funds; those who take money from green pressure groups and make wildly exaggerated statements are showered with rewards and treated by the media as neutral.