I’m glad there is a serious disagreement about global warming here even among secular humanists. This is an issue I have been grappling with for the past few years. For every study I read which points to human-centric GW causes, I find another that seems to offer just as compelling data which shows GW regardless of human behavior. My best guess after digesting the “flood” (pun intended) of data is as follows:
1. We are coming out of an ice age. The earth is warming by (fill in the blank from favorite climatological study here) degrees each year. However, it seems in some cases we also find some areas of the earth where the mean temp is dropping, underlining the fact that we are dealing with an immense, dynamic, complex system.
2. However, man is very probably contributing to GW — how much and to what long-term effect is still worthy of study.
3. We should be cautious before slapping an alarmist label on any change in natural processes (“See, It MUST be GW!”) Some phenomena like shifting glaciers can also be caused by an increase in parts of the icecap (sounds crazy I know but I have read several references and can produce same if asked). Again, the climatological system is very complex and most changes are caused by a variety of factors. That doesn’t mean ruling out GW.
4. A continued reliance on dwindling fossil fuels is a no-win game and alternatives should be researched which are viable (some highly touted ones like biofuel from corn have problems). It’s also smart given the limited amount of fossil fuels to invest in more efficient methods of production and transportation. This is not a GW issue as much as it is a common sense priority. That also revisiting our old friend nuclear power.
5. There does appear to be telling evidence that at least some of climate scientists have been pressured to sign on the global consensus. It’s equally clear some scientists have been influenced by industrial lobbies to join the contrarian camp.
6. Given the obvious disagreement (even in this forum) it’s clear that politicians who know very little about science should step VERY carefully through this rhetorical minefield and refuse to pass regulations which only pretend to consider all the scientific data. While many environmental regs have proved beneficial, several have led to damaging, albeit unintended consequences which far outweighed any imagined public good.
There, I have surely managed to piss EVERYONE off. But, I’m not going to lie and proclaim the issue is all tied up in a nice “earth day” themed bow. I have to admit I don’t know where to go next. Personally, I can start by being smart with my own transportation needs and continuing to advocate an open dialog between both “sides.”