The moment any political class or its media chorus line tries to tell me that the "science is settled" and that anyone who disagrees is a lunatic or a ratbag is the moment that I get worried for the future of our society.
The fact of the matter is that most of the substantial numbers of anthropogenic climate-change skeptics in the world are not lunatics or ratbags. In fact a large number of them - despite what some sections of the media would have you believe - are highly-credentialed scientists.
Many of the anthropogenic climate change skeptics in the scientific world are geophysicists, atmospheric physicists, meteorologists and other specialists who work intimately with matters concerning the earth's climate. And no, the majority are not in the pay of the fossil fuel industries, although I don't doubt that some are.
Far be it for me to suggest that you take my word for it. I strongly encourage you to do some research of your own on Google.
However, for those of you who just couldn't be bothered doing your own research and have been content to just swallow the refrain of the global warming cheer squad in the media, at social events, and elsewhere, I'm happy to assist you in making a start in thinking for yourselves.
As a starting point, whenever you hear suggestions that there is almost universal consensus in the scientific community that anthropogenic global warming is an irrefutable fact, point the protagonists to this site.
31,826 scientists in the US signed this petition stating in effect that man-made global warming is garbage:
We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
The compilers of this list of scientific petitioners have been very transparent about the credentials of those who have put their names on the list:
The current list of petition signers includes 9,029 PhD; 7,157 MS; 2,586 MD and DVM; and 12,714 BS or equivalent academic degrees. Most of the MD and DVM signers also have underlying degrees in basic science.
All of the listed signers have formal educations in fields of specialization that suitably qualify them to evaluate the research data related to the petition statement. Many of the signers currently work in climatological, meteorological, atmospheric, environmental, geophysical, astronomical, and biological fields directly involved in the climate change controversy.
The Petition Project classifies petition signers on the basis of their formal academic training, as summarized below. Scientists often pursue specialized fields of endeavor that are different from their formal education, but their underlying training can be applied to any scientific field in which they become interested.
Outlined below are the numbers of Petition Project signatories, subdivided by educational specialties. These have been combined, as indicated, into seven categories.
1. Atmospheric, environmental, and Earth sciences includes 3,804 scientists trained in specialties directly related to the physical environment of the Earth and the past and current phenomena that affect that environment.
2. Computer and mathematical sciences includes 935 scientists trained in computer and mathematical methods. Since the human-caused global warming hypothesis rests entirely upon mathematical computer projections and not upon experimental observations, these sciences are especially important in evaluating this hypothesis.
3. Physics and aerospace sciences include 5,812 scientists trained in the fundamental physical and molecular properties of gases, liquids, and solids, which are essential to understanding the physical properties of the atmosphere and Earth.
4. Chemistry includes 4,821 scientists trained in the molecular interactions and behaviors of the substances of which the atmosphere and Earth are composed.
5. Biology and agriculture includes 2,965 scientists trained in the functional and environmental requirements of living things on the Earth.
6. Medicine includes 3,046 scientists trained in the functional and environmental requirements of human beings on the Earth.
7. Engineering and general science includes 10,103 scientists trained primarily in the many engineering specialties required to maintain modern civilization and the prosperity required for all human actions, including environmental programs.
Some - in fact many - of the scientists on the above list have exceptionally impressive qualifications and are attached to prestigious US academic institutions. You may choose to believe that each and every one of them is in the pockets of the "carbon lobby" but that seems highly unlikely.
In case you're still not convinced that there are a significant number of eminent climate scientists that can be counted among the anthropogenic climate-change skeptics, here a few of the many listed at this site:
* Richard Lindzen, Alfred Sloane Professor of Atmospheric Science at the Massachussetts Institute of Technology and member of the National Academy of Sciences.
* Fred Singer, Professor emeritus of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia.
* William M. Gray, Professor of Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University.
Granted the above information comes from a site that is devoted to climate change skepticism, though that does not lessen the credentials of the scientists who have lent their names to the cause of debunking man-made global warming.
If you want a comprehensive list of well-credentialed scientists and their views that anthropogenic global warming is bunk you may want to visit this site. Yes it happens to be the site of the Republican members of the US Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. However, it provides a very detailed summary of the argument against man-made global warming packed with links to other sites.
As an initially unbiased observer who took my older son to see "An Inconvenient Truth" at my local movie theatre, I am more than a little disturbed to witness how climate change advocates have attempted to demonise skeptics and shut down debate.
"There is no need for debate because the science is settled," they say.
"Skeptics are just crazy kooks and flat earth deniers," they say.
"The IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) has spoken and man-made climate change is real," they say.
"The Himalayan glaciers will be gone by 2035 and the Amazon rain forests are under threat," they say.....oops, sorry about that.
No sir, the science is not settled just because a UN sponsored document based on some selected observations and some dubious computer models happens to declare that man made climate-change is real.
This is not a case of round earth versus flat earth as some would have us believe. There is not one scientist that believes the earth is flat. There is no such consensus on global warming; there are plenty of scientists who believe that man-made global warming is junk.
Human beings, like most animals on earth, inhale air and exhale carbon dioxide. Should we stop breathing to save our planet?