- "Climate science" is a misnomer; it's not a science, in the same way that economics is not a science. You can't control variables in isolation and get repeated results. In economics, many debates have gone on for decades, because there is no way to conclusively prove anything; proponents of a given theory say "see look, it happened my way", while detractors simply respond, "it would have done that anyway", or "it would have happened to a greater extent!"
Without the scientific method, who is to say who is right? I see the exact same pattern with many of these "climate change" arguments that I've been reading. You can almost substitute sentences between economics and "climate science" arguments, it's uncanny! The best thing you can do is cherry pick data that is suggestive of some conclusion, which is often goal seeked, such is deep-seated human psychology.
- Assumptions are being made that the world will remain static; I see the same mistake committed in the field of economics all of the time-- that people won't adjust their behavior as time passes due to the changing circumstances, or that other major world events won't occur that will drastically alter the picture. If you tried to extrapolate conclusions one hundred years out from 1900, you would have missed two major world wars, the Bolshevik revolution and the rise and fall of the Soviet Union, the invention of atomic energy and the dropping of two atomic bombs on actual cities, the invention of the internet, and the proliferation of automobiles (remember that convention where alarmists thought horse manure would destroy entire cities?)
- There is a suspicious amount of fear mongering going on that I found through my research that is not really rooted in reality. Particularly, lots of extremely narrow-range graphs are shown, depicting huge growth, often times in some greenhouse gas that constitutes a tiny fraction of the overall greenhouse effect, or that cherry pick ranges above normal, while ignoring the subsequent below normal mean reversions. Wikipedia in particular is filled with such charts, where no explanation is given for why a particular range was chosen. I wrote about this topic here.
Incidentally, I found Wikipedia to be a very questionable resource of information for this research. It'd be interesting to have a linguist read the various articles and rate them according to biased language; even as a non-linguist layman I could pick up on enormous amounts of selection and language bias.
- The "consensus" claims are dubious at best; the surveys that produced the infamous "97%" claim had serious methodological and sampling problems. The US Senate easily assembled a list of a whopping 400, then 600, then 650, then 700 scientists that questioned all or parts of the "anthropogenic global warming" theory.
- The "the science is settled" claims are dubious at best; such declarations were made even back in the 1980s, and tons of new papers and sub-branches of work, such as research into the solar wind and sun spots, emerged after such "settled" claims were made.
Scientists have not been able to explain how, according to atmospheric, surface air, and ocean temperature readings, the Earth's temperature has been in what's been called "The Pause" for the past 18 to 20 years-- climate "scientists" were caught off guard by that. There is tons of debate about what has been going on. From what I can tell, "climate model" predictions seem about as accurate as Fed predictions, and I think that is because they fall prey to the same psychological and methodological phenomena.
There is also a huge debate about what kind of net role water vapor plays in the greenhouse effect. Different scientists think that water vapor is a net positive, net neutral, or even net negative feedback mechanism. This changes man's role in the greenhouse effect dramatically-- I've seen numbers as high as 50%, and as low as 0.3%. Similar debates involve the solar wind and sun spots, as well as the role of Earth's orbit.
Anecdotally, this topic was the most exhausting body of work I have ever dug into, because every single aspect, no matter how minute, had page after page after page of intensive debate from informed people, with everyone throwing charts and data sets at each other. Frankly, I found very little in this debate that had any consensus at all, or that was "settled."
- There are lots of syllogistic and logical fallacies going on in this debate, such as the creation of tautologies.
- There is tons of religious zealotry in this debate, with people who bring up rational criticisms being called "climate deniers"-- blasphemers!-- and explosive, emotionally-charged responses to criticism.
- There is evidence that suggests the perspective that man is the leading contributor towards Earth's temperature rise over the past 150 years, including data and lots of quotes from various reputable scientists. There are some excellent tidbits sprinkled throughout the "global warming" Wikipedia article, for further reading.
- There is evidence that suggests the perspective that the Earth is simply continuing its billions-years long pattern of ever-changing climate, including data and lots of quotes from various reputable scientists. I found a page here that I want to single out, because I found it and its math totally fascinating. It was written by a layman too-- I've found in economics, another non-science, that layman often have a clearer picture of reality than "can't see the forest for the trees" economists do.
Normally I enjoy my intellectual forays into different fields, such as economics, philosophy, or the natural sciences; I'm an inquisitive guy who loves to learn.
But I have to admit, I absolutely hated nearly every minute of this research; it was like watching two armies firing endless volleys of partially substantiated, cherry-picked pieces of evidence at one another. Yuck. It feels good to get out of those trenches-- too much mustard gas.
As for the future, who knows, I could see it going either way; either the "alarmists" are correct, in which case human behavior will continue to slowly adapt and adjust over time until new technologies to "clean up" excess greenhouse gases are invented (and in which case the inventors will make billions of dollars), or life will go on, and the "climate models" will continue to struggle in the face of new data.