Scientists should be skeptics

This seems about right:

… everyone involved needs to embrace the idea that all scientists are skeptics; that all scientific theories are open to doubt; and in particular that future projections of climate change are subject to considerable uncertainty. Furthermore, the economic and environmental impacts of warming are also uncertain, as are the costs of CO2 mitigation. When scientists hide these uncertainties, or simply don’t discuss them, they lose credibility. Climate scientists are clearly unable to “save the world” alone. But they are stewards of key data that are essential to shape wise policy. Their credibility is much more important than their political opinions.

The climate for discussion has become so polarized that rational, skeptical inquiry is extremely difficult.  If you aren’t for Copenhagen, you must be against it.  I take a different view; the climate is almost certainly warming, and it has been since the Little Ice Age.  Much less certain is the contribution from human emissions, CO2 in particular.  Remember, correlation is not causation.  The historic pattern has been for CO2 to lag climatic changes rather than drive such changes.  I would also urge a skeptical approach to the proposed dangers of warming.  There are certain to be positive aspects to a warmer climate.  The economics and human cost of mitigating CO2 emissions are yet other arenas where a dispassionate, skeptical approach would better serve humanity than alarmism.

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