Tuesday, April 05, 2011

A (hypothetical) conversation with a climate alarmist

It's hard when you're a climate alarmism skeptic to carry on a conversation about global warming climate change climate challenges with a true-believing climate alarmist because once they find out you're a skeptic they invariably end the conversation and storm off in a huff, presumably to breathe into a paper bag for a few minutes before dashing off to an Al Gore seminar to have their fears validated. So here I'll try and speculate how such a discussion might go if an alarmist ever stuck around for a discussion.
SCENE: Office break room in April, with snow falling outside the window.

Me: Wow...I could really use some of that "global warming" right about now.

Climate Alarmist: It's not called global warming any more.

Me: Oh, that's right, excuse me...global climate change.

CA: No, it's called "global climate challenges" now.

Me: So we've gone from the fairly specific "global warming" to the rather nebulous "global climate change" to the totally amorphous "global climate challenges"?

CA: Um, yeah.

Me: But what does that even mean?

CA: That we'll be faced with desertification, rampant flooding and other forms of climate extremes.

Me: You mean half the planet will be desert while the other half is under water?

CA: Well, not exactly. It's complicated.

Me: And how do we know this? I mean, just how do we know that weather patterns and cycles are significantly different now from, say, ten thousand years ago? It's not like we have concrete global historical weather data going back more than 150 years or so.

CA: Climate scientists use proxy data to figure that out.

Me: And just what are the proxies for precise historical weather data?

CA: Well, it's complicated, but they look at tree rings, among other things.

Me: Ah, tree rings. Well I guess that settles it. So everyone living in coastal areas should immediately move to higher ground, which will soon be desert?

CA: It's not quite that simple--

Me: No, of course it isn't.

CA: --but it's generally accepted that sea levels will gradually rise over the next 50 to 100 years and that some areas will experience drought while some very dry areas will see increased rainfall.

Me: And that's never happened before in the history of the planet? Ever?

CA: Well, um, yeah. It has.

Me: And why is this a crisis now?

CA: If we don't stop the warming of the planet soon--

Me: Wait a second...didn't you just say it's not called "Global Warming" any more?

CA: Uh...

Me: First it's warming, then it's not, then it is again. What is it, exactly, that's causing these "global climate challenges"?

CA: Greenhouse gases.

Me: Which do....what?

CA: Um, raise temperatures. Like in a greenhouse.

Me: So, the problem once again is global warming.

CA: It's complicated.

Me: Yeah, so you've said.

CA: Could you hand me that empty paper bag over there?


FIREBIRD said...

The sea level WILL rise - it rose to the bottom of my parents' windows in 1999 - it was called a HURRICANE! and those horrible greenhouse gases - how could God, in all his/her wisdom... deign to make carbon dioxide a byproduct of photosynthesis ... and after 2 billion years, we are now smart enough to know He was screwed up!

Funny post.... makes me wanna go out and take a baseball bat to a Chevy Volt

Ayrdale said...

Interesting to see that Monbiot of the UK Guardian, has had a Damascene coversion after interviewing helen caldicott. Well worth a look...