A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

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Andrew Revkin's latest

As anyone who circulates anywhere in the climate blogosphere is undoubtedly aware, Andy Revkin wrote a piece in the NYT (non-subscription link!) very recently about a "new middle ground" in the climate debate. The main point being this is a refreshing and new voice of reason between two irrational extremes ("we will all die", versus "warming? what warming?"). Since I am so slow off the mark to bring it up, much of what I might have said has been already. So in brief, with acknowledgments to those who beat me too it, are some thoughts, in no particular order:
  • Real Climate did a post which is a good starting point and with which I pretty completely concur. The middle ground is the IPCC consensus, very few serious scientific voices have strayed from it.
  • I am very grateful to all the excellent work Andy Revkin has contributed to the otherwise poor showing from the main stream media on this issue. The NYT in general deserves some acknowledgment as well. The only weakness of this article is probably from the need to make a newsworthy event out of a slow general trend. It is also on shaky grounds because it really the media reporting on itself. The media shapes the debate much more than does the reality of the issues, so how to now report on the debate changing its character?
  • the phrase "non-skeptic heretic" is unfortunate and definately not climate debate neutral, as I said in comment #3 on Roger Pielke Jr.'s blog.
  • David Roberts is pretty much right on the money WRT his comments about RP Jr, in my opinion. Coining this phrase was more self-serving and/or self-flattering than anything else. He is however too hard on Revkin who is deeply inside of a fatally flawed system.
  • Andrew Dessler makes an important point about the distinction between the political debate and the scientific debate. This distinction, or rather the lack of keeping it in mind, muddies much of many of the discussions of this article and its issues.
  • James Annan makes the tongue-in-cheek point that since everyone else is slightly off to one side or another from him, he is in fact in the middle. The serious point being that dividing a spectrum of opinion and values into boxes, especially just three (too hard, too soft, just right!) is not the Path to Enlightenment.
  • The whole notion of a two-sided debate (from which this "reasonable" middle ground then emerges) is an artifact of the mainstream media's misguided notion of balance. (h/t to Bob Ward on RC)
  • There is no moral equivalence between the exagerations of the "alarmists" and the obfuscations and distractions of the denialists, so again the notion of "middle" is inappropriate. David Roberts makes this point in another RC comment.

I did not read these other blog threads, but they are there and surely interesting: Tim Lambert, Matthew Nesbit, Chris Mooney and John Fleck

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  • At January 05, 2007 12:29 AM, Blogger Lloyd the Riddle said…

    Thank you for taking the time to do what you do. I, as well as many others I'm guessing are quite grateful! Kudos!

  • At January 05, 2007 9:07 AM, Blogger coby said…

    Thanks Lloyd!

  • At January 05, 2007 11:27 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I notice you have a piece called "How to talk to a skeptic".

    Perhaps there is now a need for a piece entitled:

    "How to talk to a 'non-skeptic heretic"

    I'd rather talk to a skeptic, to tell you the truth. It's more strightforward. From the list of group members on Pielke's website (including Bjorn Lomborg), I'd have to say that "Non-skeptic heretics" are a very confused bunch.

    This whole thing has got me wondering:

    What's a "skeptic heretic"? Is that someone who does not believe global warming is real but nonetheless thinks we should do something about it?

  • At January 07, 2007 5:14 PM, Blogger Saty said…

    very interesting blog. must thank you for keeping it going.

  • At January 25, 2007 9:32 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    Andrew Revkin is what you might call ''a despairing optimist''. He's an excellent reporter!

  • At January 25, 2007 9:33 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    why did you take Charles C commons comment off your blog? afraid of the dark? At least, let [people read it. do not censor. that's for communists!


  • At January 25, 2007 9:37 PM, Blogger Dan said…

    A Few Things Ill Considered: Andrew Revkin's latestClimate Change and the End of Humankind on Planet Earth by Charles C. Commons (c) 2006-3006 The end of humankind's time on Earth is coming to an end, ...
    /2007/01/andrew-revkins-- 37k - Cached - Similar pages

  • At January 25, 2007 10:20 PM, Blogger coby said…


    I removed that comment (and your reposting of it) because it is excessively long, not original and not on topic. You also have posted the same thing on several other posts on this blog. That is called "spamming", removing spam is not censorship!


  • At January 26, 2007 3:20 AM, Blogger dan said…

    thanks. Coby, for your reply. Understand now. well, then , how about letting just leave my blog link here and somewhere?


    it is worth discussing no? we are all in this together...

  • At January 26, 2007 6:40 PM, Blogger coby said…

    Sure, Dan. No worries about the link or a synopsis posted here. No ill feelings either, glad you understand now!

  • At February 02, 2007 3:11 AM, Blogger dan said…

    thanks! yes, we are all in this together.


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