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Edward A. Reid Jr.
Posted On:
Dec 8, 2020 at 3:00 AM
Climate Change
Photo by US Senate


1 : an attitude of doubt or a disposition to incredulity either in general or toward a particular object
2a : the doctrine that true knowledge or knowledge in a particular area is uncertain
2b : the method of suspended judgment, systematic doubt, or criticism characteristic of skeptics
scientific skepticism: an impartial attitude of the mind previous to investigation



Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D, RI) has renewed his threats to hold “star chamber” hearings in the US Senate to expose and attempt to humiliate those he describes as “climate deniers”. He appears willing and anxious to harass anyone who does not accept the “climate crisis” and support heroic actions to diffuse the “crisis”. The senator is a “climate hawk” who has delivered more than 250 speeches on the subject on the Senate floor. His choice of the descriptor “denier” in reference to such individuals characterizes his attitude toward them.

The senator is highly unlikely to find a true “climate denier”, or a true “climate change denier” or even a true “anthropogenic climate change denier” to harass in his “star chamber”, though he will likely find numerous serious climate scientists who possess and profess a healthy skepticism of a climate “crisis” or “existential threat”. Numerous climate scientists understand that climate science is hardly “settled” and can speak with authority regarding the numerous areas of uncertainty regarding our understanding of earth’s climate.

Skeptical scientists would point to the ensembles of climate models which produce “spaghetti diagrams” projecting future temperatures which differ by a factor of five among themselves; and by a factor of 2-3 from numerous actual observed temperature records over 30 or more years. Skeptical scientists would also note that the model mean in these “spaghetti diagrams” is merely the mean of an ensemble of model outputs, at least all but one of which, if not all, are incorrect. They would point out that not one of those models has ever been verified.

Skeptical scientists would point out the use of a range of estimated values for climate sensitivity to a doubling of atmospheric CO2 (3+/-1.5) which has been in use for more than 30 years without resolution. They would also note that the majority of recent studies of climate sensitivity have reported values close to or even below the range of values used by the IPCC.

Skeptical scientists would also note that measurements of the rate of sea level rise taken by satellites show rates of rise twice the rate measured by tide gauges located at geologically stable sites; and, the current inability of the climate science community to explain and rationalize this difference.

Skeptical scientists would note the differences between global temperature measurements made by satellites and those made by near-surface measurement systems; and, they would note the differences among the various near-surface temperature anomaly products. They would also point out the ongoing need to “adjust” the near-surface data to resolve suspected data inaccuracies; and, the need to “infill” temperature estimates where no data exist.

Skeptical scientists would also point out the differences between assertions of increases in hurricane, tornado, drought and flood frequency and severity and actual observations and data. They would also note the inaccuracies of “attribution” studies which purport to show a climate change contribution to the frequency and intensity of severe weather events.

In summary, skeptical scientists would express doubt about particular aspects of the climate science consensus, highlight the uncertainty of current climate knowledge and would suspend judgment regarding the existence of a climate “crisis”. Skeptical scientists would recognize that, based on current knowledge, assertions of a “climate crisis” or an “existential threat” are political constructs unsupported by the science.

Those such as Senator Whitehouse who attack scientific skepticism are “anti-science”.