Monday, January 27, 2014

Adventures in Climate Land

In recent weeks I've attended meetings of a local climate skeptics (denialists) group and of a pro climate action group. The AGW skeptic group was heavily populated by former colleagues of mine, and they were very polite and friendly despite my skepticism of their facts and reasoning. I've been invited back to talk about my point of view. I'm not under the illusion that they are likely to be persuaded by anything I say, but I figure its worth the effort just to find out what their reasoning is. What I would really like to know is how they wound up believing what they believe. Nearly all are technical people with a background in meteorology, but mostly not in atmospheric radiative transfer.

I also attended a climate action group meeting. I'm pretty sure they are right on the facts, have a sound approach (a carbon tax with rebate), and a sensible action plan. I'm also pretty sure that they are wildly unrealistic about the prospects for action. They seem to be mostly professors, but mostly without a strong background in the radiative transfer issues central to the effect.

Civilization has spent 300 plus years now feasting on fossil fuel energy, and I just don't see any quick way to wean our now vastly greater population from it. China is now the big source of CO2 and India is well on its way to catching up with the EU and the US. Absent big technology breakthroughs, I expect carbon emissions to grow for at least twenty more years - and very likely more.