Having taken a break, I am ready to and finish the topic of CO2 emissions. The first thing I would like to talk about is the idea that CO2 Emissions and AGW have become more religion then anything else.
You often hear conservatives say this about liberals. “Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) is just a religion to you people!”
AGW Skepticism as Religion Too
Another fair question is, why do conservatives make a religion out of it too?
“No they don’t!” you shout, religious fervor in your eyes. 😉
No, seriously, most do. You might personally be an exception. Or you might just not realize you aren’t an exception. Give me a chance to explain and then judge for yourself.
My Position on CO2 Emissions (Not AGW) Summarized
Now let’s be clear. I am an outright AGW Skeptic. I do not claim that any increase of heat is currently being caused by CO2 emissions. I do not discount the possibility either. I’m therefore a “Skeptic” in its natural and most correct sense.
Personally I only acknowledge four points:
- There seems to be a consensus across Skeptics and Believers that CO2 in the atmosphere is growing due to humankind’s additional CO2 output and there is currently no large swing to a technology that is going to change that fact on it’s own.
- There seems to be a consensus across Skeptics and Believers that it is getting hotter. (However, there is no consensus if it’s natural or man made, or even if it cyclical or not.)
- There seems to be a consensus across Skeptics and Believers that CO2 is a greenhouse gas. (However, there is no consensus as to how important it is compared to other gases.)
- There seems to be a consensus across Skeptics and Believers that in theory we could scorch the earth into a Venus by crossing some unknown tipping point. (However, there is no consensus as to where that line is.)
All of these points are considered to not be in controversy, even by most skeptics. As I pointed out in my previous posts:
1. AGW elite Skeptic, Steve MacIntyre, acknowledges #1 and apparently (according to this AGW Sketic commenter) most AGW Skeptics do.
2. AGW Skeptic John Stossil, as well as many AGW Skeptics making comments, acknowledge #2.
3. #3 is beyond the doubt of anyone.
4. Physicist – and staunch AGW Denier — Frank Tipler acknowledged #4.
Therefore, unsurprisingly, I’m in favor of taking some level of action. As of yet, I haven’t been very specific as to what. I have not advocated any specific program so far. And I have already stated I’m against any action that will destroy the current economy.
My ‘facts’ are pretty much beyond dispute. My conclusion, vague as it is so far, should be completely innocuous to AGW Skeptics. For all they know up to this point, I’m advocating very little action. All I’m saying (so far) is ‘Let’s find any appropriate level of response to mitigate a possible risk.’
How do you argue with a point like that? You can’t (so far.)
Yet AGW Skeptics insist on arguing with me over it. Why?
AGW Skepticism (Often) Goes Beyond the Rational
Everyone here commenting on this site has been very polite to my point of view. And Geoff should be lauded for allowing me to post these posts. I asked him if it was okay before I started and he encouraged me to do it.
But that sort of polite and even warm reception isn’t true of AGW Skeptics everywhere. In fact, I’ve found that AGW Skeptics generally become openly hostile to my views – despite their being rather innocuous.
So why do AGW Skeptics feel the need to toe-to-toe debate a person that (so far) said little more than ‘We should find an appropriate level of response to mitigate a possible risk?”
I can tell you why. Because it’s more then just a debate to conservatives. It’s more than just an attempt to make a wise rational decision on a specific point. AGW Skepticism has become a defining point of Conservatism. It’s become, to some degree, religion.
And don’t I know it!
The moment I say in front of most self-defined AGW Skeptics ‘well, actually I feel like the risk of CO2 emissions is worthy of taking at least some level of action on’ I get assaulted. And, unfortunately, not necessarily in the nice tone everyone here has used.
The irony is that I’m way closer to their point of view then to the AGW Believers they accuse me of being.
Imagine a scale of 1 to 10. 1 means you are an outright AGW Denier. Nothing could ever, even in principle, convince you to act on AGW. 10 means you believe ‘it doesn’t matter if we destroy civilization in the process – we need to stop CO2 emissions yesterday.’
Where do you think I would land? Where do you place yourself?
I believe I’m probably somewhere between 2 and 3, perhaps a 4. Yet AGW Skeptics (particularly ones in real life) always treat me as if I’m a 10 because any level of dissent means, in their eyes, you’re a 10.
Even the super smart, very polite AGW Skeptics commenting on my posts here have more or less mounted a massive (but respectful) assault on my basically incontrovertible position (so far). So it’s hard to miss the fact that there is some ‘religion’ mixed into AGW Skepticism at almost all levels.
There seem to be two other strong pieces of evidence that AGW Skepticism has become somewhat religious in nature.
First, AGW Skeptics rarely if ever try to argue with my actual points — as benign as they are, they’re hard to argue with. Instead, they assume I agree with Al Gore (or someone else whose views I do not share) and then argue against Al Gore. When I stop them and say “I disagree with Al Gore” they usually continue to argue as if I agree with Al Gore.
Second, AGW Skeptics never seem to notice the distinction between doing something about CO2 Emissions and doing something about Global Warming. I never say we need to act to reverse man-made global warming. The words I always use are ‘Man Made CO2 Emissions.’ Yet AGW Skeptics always hear me say “Global Warming.’ Even stopping them and saying “I didn’t say Global Warming, I said CO2 Emissions” will often fail to register.
So in conclusion, while I agree with the conservatives that liberals often treat AGW as a religion, all I can do is shrug my shoulders and say “So what?”