Friday, February 01, 2008

Quack? Quack, Quack. Quack! Quack! Quack, Quack, Quack!!!

Years from now, when we are dealing with the consequences of anthropogenic global warming we will look back and wonder just how in God's name a supposedly reputable paper could publish nonsense like this in the name of forestalling action.

The article is so illogical it's actually hard to Fisk.

The core argument, as best I can determine, revolves not around science but around words.

Environmentalists, you see, use the term 'climate change' as shorthand for anthropogenic climate change. But, the writer informs us, the Earth's climate has always changed. Therefore the term 'climate change' is misleading. Therefore anthropogenic climate change is not real.

People also, we learn, talk about 'carbon trading' and 'carbon emissions'. This is misleading as carbon and carbon dioxide aren't the same thing and using the term carbon in place of carbon dioxide makes people think that a natural gas is a dirty pollutant. Therefore Carbon Dioxide emissions can't be causing climate change.

Arguing this is a bit like saying that people use the term radiation to refer to nuclear radiation. Therefore nuclear radiation is harmless. And, anyhow, radiation is natural, therefore it can't cause cancer.

Having wowed us with words, the oped concludes by telling us that relationship between rising CO2 and rising temperature is "a point of strong debate among climate scientists". After all the linguistics, a nice simple lie.

Why does this nonsense keep getting written? Why does it keep ending up in the Herald?

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