Why the Global Warming Skeptics Are Wrong

William D. Nordhaus in the New York Review of Books (March 22, 2012) has an unpolemical response to climate change deniers.   Since the deniers do no original research nor publish scientifically vetted explanations of the observations that most have concluded mean the climate is changing, fast, because of human activity, Nordhaus takes one concise expression of denier opinion and speaks to it.

I saw an opinion piece in The Wall Street Journal of January 27, 2012, by a group of sixteen scientists, entitled “No Need to Panic About Global Warming.” This is useful because it contains many of the standard criticisms in a succinct statement. The basic message of the article is that the globe is not warming, that dissident voices are being suppressed, and that delaying policies to slow climate change for fifty years will have no serious economic or environment consequences.

My response is primarily designed to correct their misleading description of my own research; but it also is directed more broadly at their attempt to discredit scientists and scientific research on climate change.1 I have identified six key issues that are raised in the article, and I provide commentary about their substance and accuracy. They are:

• Is the planet in fact warming?
• Are human influences an important contributor to warming?
• Is carbon dioxide a pollutant?
• Are we seeing a regime of fear for skeptical climate scientists?
• Are the views of mainstream climate scientists driven primarily by the desire for financial gain?
• Is it true that more carbon dioxide and additional warming will be beneficial?

For the whole article, for a while at least see the NYRB, here.

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