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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.