If the Debate Is Over, Why All the Hedging?

An article at ScienceDaily illustrates the shaky science undergirding the global warming scare. The article draws attention to key “tipping elements” that suggest the planet is teetering on the brink of catastrophe. That, of course, is the message the reader is supposed to take away.

But read the article carefully, and it’s obvious that the science behind this alarming headline is suspiciously thin. Words like “could,” “may,” “potentially,” and “suggest” occur over and over again, leaving room for a lot of variation in climate outcomes — not exactly what the lead paragraph implies.

Furthermore, several statements in the article clearly assume worst case scenarios that are by no means certain, or declare outright that actual outcomes are unknown. Some examples (emphasis added):

  • The exact tipping point for disintegration of the ice sheet is unknown . . .
  • A worst case scenario shows the ice sheet could collapse within 300 years, possibly raising sea level by as much as five meters.
  • But a global mean warming of three to five degrees Celsius could cause a collapse of the West African monsoon. This could lead either to drying of the Sahel or to wetting due to increased inflow from the West. [Wet or dry, take your pick. Either way, global warming is to blame!]
  • The Indian summer monsoon could become erratic and in the worst case start to chaotically change between an active and a weak phase within a few years.
  • A global mean warming of three to five degrees Celsius could push the element past the tipping point so that deep water formation stops.

In addition to all the hedging language, did you notice that a couple of these scenarios assume a global mean warming of three to five degrees Celsius? Allow me to set the assumptions like this, and I can build an equally strong case for no global warming, or even global cooling.

I have no problem with scientists exploring future climate trends, or even raising concerns about possible dangers in those trends. What I resent is journalists and politicians taking those concerns and manufacturing apocalyptic horror stories designed to panic the public into accepting draconian policy changes.

UPDATE: In contrast to all the hedging in this story about a very iffy future, take a look at what is actually happening around the world this winter, and see if you can still make a case for global warming.

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One response to “If the Debate Is Over, Why All the Hedging?

  1. a lot of the could, woulds can now be replaced with is… so we actually dont need scientist to tell us this….duh!

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