Yesterday someone commented on the article I published Saturday about Mark Vuletic’s global warming argument. The commenter included a link to a piece written by Mark Steyn, frequent guest host for Rush Limbaugh, aspiring singer, and tireless denier of anthropogenic climate change. The comment, and the article, provoked a response from me that I thought would just be a shame to leave buried in a comment thread. So, in the hope of encouraging further discussion on the issue, I’m re-posting the comment and my reply here.
That comment is reproduced below, followed by my lengthy response.
Posted by Anonymous:
I would go with the possible fifth option mentioned in Vuletic’s notes, personally.
I like this piece from Mark Steyn, layman or not, the article provides a good chronology of unchallenged speculation moving up the ladder to consensus. http://www.steynonline.com/content/view/2893/28/ “Glacially Motivated.”
You disagree with Vuletic that that possible (v) is really just a re-statement of (iv)? Either way, it’s a hard argument to swallow. You honestly believe that the vast, overwhelming majority of climate scientists are either a) that ignorant of their own fields, or b) that unabashedly corrupt?
Steyn’s global warming denialism (I dislike that word, but what Steyn evinces is not rational skepticism, and I can’t think of something better to call it at the moment) is based on that assumption, and on an ignorance of the evidence that is either intentional or innocent, but is certainly undeniable.
In the piece you linked, he suggests that the whole case for disappearing glaciers is based on a weak chain of, as you call it, unchallenged speculation traceable back to a single study published in New Science over ten years ago. Steyn is either himself unaware, or hoping that his readers will be unaware, of the existence of the World Glacier Monitoring Service, which has measured glaciers all over the world since the 1940s and collected overwhelming evidence that, with relatively few exceptions, the Earth’s glaciers are shrinking.
To be fair, there is some argument over exactly why the glaciers are shrinking. In some cases, including the snows of Mt. Kilimanjaro that Al Gore famously claimed were vanishing due to global warming, the actual cause is more complicated and includes factors other than climate change — like deforestation, in the case of Kilimanjaro.
But the fact remains that the glaciers are melting, and the evidence includes a lot more than a single article in a popular science magazine, as Steyn claims in his piece. That, like much of what Steyn says about climate change (including his endlessly repeated claim that the planet hasn’t warmed since 1998) is just wrong.
Steyn is either a liar with soap to sell or an ignoramus. Since he seems unwilling to give the majority of the world’s climate scientists the benefit of the doubt and insists they are the former, I’ll be kinder to him and suggest that he is the latter.
Mark Steyn, and all those who deny the evidence of climate change for political reasons, is peddling ignorance to people who have too much of it already. The science behind global warming is substantial, and the consensus among the scientific community is strong and significant, not “melting faster than the glaciers,” as Steyn claims. His arguments have the same ring as those offered by creationists against the facts of evolution. To anyone that knows better, he sounds desperate and either seriously misinformed or deeply dishonest.