I’m still waiting to hear back from Queens on that tree ring data story… but Richard Tol in today’s Irish Times notes that in cheating with its data, the CRU has risked public opinion following fools, some of whom like James actually think anthropogenic global warming is a myth. (His blog editor Damian – author of the excellent Counterknowledge: How We Surrendered to Conspiracy Theories, Quack Medicine, Bogus Science and Fake History – is doing a reasonable job of uncharacteristically sitting on the fence, whilst poking the pomposity of some of the more strident AGW proponents)…But Tol sidesteps a lot of the bullshit (and there is a lot of it flying about at the moment, in both directions):
Climate change is a complex problem. We will need 50, probably 100 years to resolve it. We will need global co-operation. We will need to spend hundreds of billions of euro. This cannot succeed unless the debate is fair and based on rigorous scientific results that do not hide that there are still many things about which we simply do not have a clue.
You can fool all of the people some of the time, and you can fool some of the people all of the time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time.
The CRU may have had us fooled for a while. A risk now now exists that public opinion will follow fools who disregard basic physics and claim climate change is not real. The apparent dishonesty and incompetence of the CRU has further polarised the climate debate, and put a solution further out of reach.
There are no immediate implications for Ireland. A carbon tax should be levied because it does less damage to the economy than higher labour taxes. But just as France will go to South Africa in shame, so environmentalists assembling today in Copenhagen know that one of their champions is a cheat.
The economic pressures which create an inertia around short term government (and oppositions) actions are real enough… take this piece in today’s Irish Indo, which articulates the fear that an environmentally responsible carbon tax will drive even more citizens to spend their income in Northern Ireland. The CSO reckons that at least 11,000 jobs have been lost in retail to the shopping bonanza…
Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty