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Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Responding to the climate change debate

I have been browsing some of the Australian blogs on politics looking at the arguments over climate change. Mostly the debate seems to get stuck on the issue of measurement of global warming and its explanation.

The case for climate change does not depend simply on the evidence of global warming. Michael Northcott in his strongly argued book A Moral Climate: the ethics of global warming makes the point that the case for climate change driven by the increasing scale of human industrialisation is cumulative for climate system change, resting on triangulation of increased temperatures, extreme weather events and widespread ecosystem change evident in species behaviour, including migration, earlier ripening of crops etc over recent decades.

The climate change denial case seems to depend almost solely on critiquing the measurement, motivation and character of the scientists who are in some deep complex conspiracy with government.

I have seen very little debate around the other vectors of evidence pointed to by Northcott.

The three vectors which are separately and independent in terms of the measurement processes when intertwined provide a case that is cumulatively stronger than each single strand of evidence taken on its own. Human causation shifts to a very high probability level when the evidence of all three vectors is taken into account.

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