The debacle of the leaked emails, data and code from the University of East Anglia showed that reputed global warming scientists were petty and cheaters. As always, the pursuit of excellence is often at the expense of rigor.
To put a stop to growing skepticism, Scientific American published Seven Answers to Climate Contrarian Nonsense. They rehash what most scientists—me included—accept :
- Climate warming is real;
- Climate warming is caused by CO2;
- Human beings are responsible.
But what are they hiding? What is the conspiracy?
Most likely, there is no conspiracy. Large communities of scientists do not lie. They may be wrong, but never on purpose. However, they are often misguided.
The telling tale is often in the question that are not being asked. That is the most important lesson any new scientist must learn about research papers and science in general. What points are omitted from the discussion?
Here are some questions I have asked myself about Global Warming. Feel free to help me find answers:
- Can global warming be stopped or significantly reduced if we change by a small amount our CO2 production? With India and China ramping up their standard of living, surely nobody expects more than a stabilization of our CO2 production on the short term? We won’t reduce our oil production until we run out. That is for certain.
- Is global warming necessarily harmful for everyone? Intuitively, Montreal could benefit from a little warming. (Update: If farming conditions improve in Canada and Siberia, we may produce more food globally.)
- If global warming is unavoidable, shouldn’t we try to adapt our farming technology? What about fruits and vegetables able to grow with little water and under intense heat? How do we preserve the productivity of the soil under a difficult climate?
- What is the best way to protect vulnerable countries, such as most of Africa? Will a small reduction of our production of CO2 save them from chaos?
Note: I am a Computer Scientist. My research has nothing to do with climate change.
For the record: We own a single car, which we only use during the week-end or to drive the kids to the doctor’s office. I use public transportation whenever I go on campus. We recycle. We make our own compost. We own a small house (on purpose). I avoid air travel (unlike almost all other scientists).