Up is down!

Plus Ça (Climate) Change:
Statistics suggest that while there has indeed been a slight warming in the past century, much of it was neither human-induced nor geographically uniform. Half of the past century's warming occurred before 1940, when the human population and its industrial base were far smaller than now. And while global temperatures are now slightly up, in some areas they are dramatically down.
Uh-huh, and statistics suggest...

This brings me to an interview I wanted to link to last week, published at The Talking Dog:
The Talking Dog: You recently wrote of "the changing debate" (in particular, also the subject of a recent New York Times article) of a growing "middle ground view" on climate change-- that it is a serious problem and must quickly be remedied, but that "extremism" and "alarmism" are somehow counterproductive; this, indeed, is somewhat of a positive shift, because, Senator James Inhofe aside, the side paid by oil and coal companies to deny the existence of global warming or climate change is now forced to be less outright dismissive of it... A couple of questions emerge from this... For one, how do we (all people, of course, but we'll start with, for example, so-called "progressive" bloggers) address so-called "climate skeptics"?
Adam Stein: Well, you address a climate change skeptic politely and respectfully with solid arguments based in science and fact. We have to realize that most Americans just don't know about climate change. Many people are still learning about this for the first time. This can be frustrating, but it’s a long-term problem, and a certain amount of patience is necessary.
When encountering a diehard skeptic, one need not convince them -- you can't necessarily. But in any debate, there are always people on the sidelines listening in, and these are the people that your arguments should be aimed at. We need to convince less partisan onlookers with the reasonableness and soundness of our position. It’s a hard task, though. The science is complex, and even those of us who understand the scope of the problem can’t always be up to date on the latest climate research.
But a key point is that there is no scientific debate -- there is not a single peer reviewed scientific journal article that disputes the reality of man-made climate change at this point. Indeed, the scientific climate change does something unique-- they get together every 5 years and issue a report that summarizes the latest scientific evidence on climate change. This is the IPCC report that has just come out, demonstrating that there is a greater than 90% chance that climate change is not only real, but caused by man-made emissions. The scientists have made up their minds; the vast body of data is now indisputable. We now have the science-- CO2 records go back 600,000 years, and there is now no alternative explanation-- in short, the "debate" is over. The only question is just how long it takes for most people to understand, and act on this.
Another interesting fact to confront skeptics with is that the oil companies themselves have all given up their opposition to the notion of man-made climate change. They don’t dispute it anymore – Shell, Exxon, all of them. You would think that if there were any doubt left, these companies would be the most eager to reinforce it.
As a general rule, when someone brings up the "DDT ban" in reference to global warming like yesterday's WSJ op-ed linked to above, he's a wanker who doesn't need to be addressed politely. Here's another example from today's Washinton Times of an über-wanker who brings up both the "DDT ban" and how the lack of asbestos brought down the World Trade Center. [Read more on DDT here].

This is problematic since today's "skeptics" usually no longer dispute the science behind climate change like they used to; the writers dispute that anything done to slow the rate of climate change is dangerous and will kill people. They do this by cherry-picking climate change facts to suggest that we can't do much about it anyway, and they cherry-pick the effects of environmental regulations to imply that only the dirty hippies would ever think of proposing such madness. Here's a list of all the dirty hippies like General Electric Co., Citigroup, DuPont, Volvo, American Electric Power Co. Inc. and Exelon Corp who have come together to ask for regulations to curb greenhouse gas emissions. The joint statement makes clear that this is a long-term problem that requires long-term solutions, and that these solutions will not immediately cause the world economy to collapse but rather if we begin implementing strategies now we can slow the rate of warming and have a vibrant economy.

While it's fun to lay the snark on present-day "skeptics'" misinterpretation of the science, we must also realize that they are no longer beating the drum of science skepticism as much as they have in the past. We now also need to address the fundamental misconceptions leading to their policy skepticism.