Last week What’s Up With That, a great website for those who are skeptical about the alarmist claims about catastrophic man-made climate change, posted a story about the testimony of Dr. Judith Curry before the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space and Technology as part of their hearing on the President’s UN climate pledge.
The summary given of her verbal testimony is given on the site and is worth reading in its entirety. One paragraph jumped out at me as a key idea.
While there are substantial uncertainties in our understanding of climate change, it is clear that humans are influencing climate in the direction of warming. However this simple truth is essentially meaningless in itself in terms of alarm, and does not mandate a particular policy response.
These two sentences really summarize the climate debate. In the first, she is pointing out that the climate is a complex system of both natural and man-made elements and the man-made elements, such as CO2 emissions would, all other things being equal, tend to lead to warming. In the second sentence she points out that all other things are not equal and thus knowing that human activity may tend toward warming is meaningless. Without a better, more complete understanding of the climate system, no claim of human caused warming should be cause for alarm nor should it be used to justify any particular policy, such as drastic reductions in fossil fuel use. (This point was also made by Dr. Soon on The Yaron Brook Show’s Earth Day edition earlier today.)
The post on WUWT also includes a link to Dr. Curry’s written testimony, which I found very interesting and accessible as well. Here is just a small sample, the full text is also worth reading:
The Precautionary Principle enjoins us to do our utmost to avoid the possibility of catastrophe or ruin, and is arguably a decisive consideration for ruin problems. However, arguments that we face the possibility of ruin in the 21st century from climate change are very weak and not supported by the evidence that we have.
Overreaction to a possible catastrophic threat may cause more harm than benefits and introduce new systemic risks, which are difficult to foresee for a wicked problem . The known risks to human well-being associated with constraining fossil fuels may be worse than the eventual risks from climate change, and there are undoubtedly some risks that we currently don’t foresee.