Profile of a global warming skeptic
Posted by sanityinjection on March 30, 2009
The New York Times Magazine gives us an in-depth profile of one of the most respected scientists to stand up in opposition to the global warming panic industry. Actually, it’s not really fair to label Freeman Dyson as a “global warming skeptic”, because in fact Dyson does believe the earth is warming and does believe that human-generated carbon dioxide is partly responsible.
Rather, Dyson’s departure from orthodoxy is this: He doesn’t think global warming is a problem. In fact, he thinks it could actually be a good thing in certain ways.
The article is quite long, but my point is to illustrate that contrary to what Al Gore and the media would have us believe, there is a great diversity of views among scientists about climate change. It is in no way “settled science.” Dyson is getting old, but he is in no way a crank, loony, quack, or tool of big business: “According to the global-warming people, I say what I say because I’m paid by the oil industry. Of course I’m not, but that’s part of their rhetoric. If you doubt it, you’re a bad person, a tool of the oil or coal industry.” In fact, Dyson is an Obama-loving anti-war liberal who, instead of refusing to work with the military, works to solve problems for them and influence their thinking while protesting the wars they are asked to fight.
Says Dyson: “The climate-studies people who work with models always tend to overestimate their models. They come to believe models are real and forget they are only models.”
Now that’s exactly what I’ve been saying for years, but my scientific credentials are less than zero. As for Dyson, although he is a nuclear physicist with no formal credentials in climate science, he has been studying climate change and fossil fuel issues since 1976. Back then, he published a paper arguing that any carbon threat to the atmosphere could be offset by simply planting 1 trillion new trees.
If you read nothing else, just read the dialogue between Dyson and his independent-minded wife at the very end.