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Opening Arguments

Madness abounds

No kidding:

In their efforts to capture the public's attention, then, have climate scientists oversold global warming? It's probably not a majority view, but a few climate scientists are beginning to question whether some dire predictions push the science too far.

"Some of us are wondering if we have created a monster," says Kevin Vranes, a climate scientist at the University of Colorado.

Vranes, who is not considered a global warming skeptic by his peers, came to this conclusion after attending an American Geophysical Union meeting last month. Vranes says he detected "tension" among scientists, notably because projections of the future climate carry uncertainties — a point that hasn't been fully communicated to the public.

The science of climate change often is expressed publicly in unambiguous terms.

For example, last summer, Ralph Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences, told the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce: "I think we understand the mechanisms of CO2 and climate better than we do of what causes lung cancer. ... In fact, it is fair to say that global warming may be the most carefully and fully studied scientific topic in human history."

Vranes says, "When I hear things like that, I go crazy."

Remember "Reefer Madness," the anti-marijuana screed that so exaggerated the dangers of pot that it became celebrated for its awfulness? Such exaggerations had the unintended side effect of making drug experimenters distrust all drug warnings, to their detriment. Global-warming preachers, by exaggerating the certainties of climate science, are becoming like that. So are the anti-smoking crusaders with their wildly exaggerated claims about the dangers of secondhand smoke that are absurd on their face. (One whiff, and you're going to die!) Those who misuse science to push the public in the direction of a perceived good might regret it if the result is a mistrust of all science.

Posted in: Science


brian stouder
Tue, 01/23/2007 - 8:59am

"Those who misuse science to push the public in the direction of a perceived good might regret it if the result is a mistrust of all science."


did you read about the latest magnum opus that they are about to foist upon us? The first installment is 1600 pages....MSNBC reported about it this morning, and this passage caught my eye

" The first phase of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is being released in Paris next week. This segment, written by more than 600 scientists and reviewed by another 600 experts and edited by bureaucrats from 154 countries, includes

Jeff Pruitt
Tue, 01/23/2007 - 11:19am

Of course then there's those who bury their head in the sand and refuse to acknowledge the pile of scientific papers supporting the idea that human actions are the leading cause of climate change.

Which is worse?

tim zank
Wed, 01/24/2007 - 7:20am

Jeff, how about somewhere in the middle where rational people can agree the world isn't going to end tomorrow and it's a good idea to make long range plans and goals without using the issue to get elected or satisfy the ego of a political has-been?