There are many aspects of the climate change/global warming debate that are clearly frustrating for many of those involved, but one might think that fundamentally everyone is interested in the same thing: understanding the science associated with climate change. It may not be true, but it’s possible. Given this, maybe one should expect climate scientists to hide their frustrations and try and engage openly and decently with “skeptics”.
The problem I have with the possibility that deep down everyone is interested in the same thing, is that I regularly encounter things that make me seriously doubt that some really have any actual interest in understanding the science. One example that I encountered today was Andrew Montford promoting Murry Salby’s tour of England. So, why is this an issue? Firstly, Andrew Montford is regarded by some as an honest broker. Secondly, Murray Salby is very simply wrong. Not just a little bit wrong, but almost completely wrong. If even someone regarded as an “honest broker” can promote someone who’s ideas are completely wrong, what does that say about “skeptics” in general.
Why is Salby wrong? Well, if you want to know more, you can read one of my earlier posts or you can read Skeptical Science’s take on Salby’s ideas. Salby is also quite famous for showing two graphs, one of which indicates a huge mismatch between temperature and CO2. At best, this is an incredibly embarrassing mistake and at worst, intentional deception. Tom Curtis explains why here.
The point is, some things are just wrong and should be acknowledged as wrong. Some of Salby’s mistakes are so trivial that if you don’t realise that they’re wrong, you really should stop considering that you understand anything about science and start listening to those who do. I think engaging in discussions about climate science and global warming is fascinating. There is much we can all learn. However, I do find it incredibly frustrating engaging with those who seem willing to consider ideas that are trivially shown to be incorrect. If I’m frustrated imagine how actual climate scientists feel. Maybe we should give more credence to those willing to engage without letting their frustrations show. On the other hand, maybe showing a little more frustration may help some people to realise that some of what they think has merit really doesn’t.