John Kerry in the Huffington Post (9/21) goes off on a "Climate is Not Weather" riff, and then says something quite revealing:
It's next to impossible to attribute any single natural disaster or weather event entirely to climate change. But the pattern of recent events provides insights into the challenges we will face in a warming world. We may not know if flooding in Pakistan was worsened by climate change, but the best scientists tell us that climate change will bring more flooding and extreme weather events. We don't know the precise role that competition over water played in intensifying conflict in Darfur, but we do know that climate change is projected to alter freshwater flows around the world.
I am reminded of a college acquaintance who bought only the "Greatest Hits" albums of artists he liked. Except he called them "best songs"; by buying an album of, say, "Grand Funk Railroad's Best Songs" saved him the rather taxing critical thinking of deciding for himself whether or not he like a particular song. His music was pre-vetted for him, guaranteed to be commercial, catchy and worthy of Top 40 airplay.
Sen. Kerry wishes we would just put our brains on hold and listen to these "best scientists". It would save so much trouble.
The problem with that is, good scientists are supposed to be skeptics. It's difficult to identify with The Consensus and think outside the box at the same time.
We've seen examples during my lifetime.
Just fifty years ago, nearly all of the "best scientists" in the field of geology thought that the theory of Continental Drift (now known as Plate Tectonics) was strictly for kooks and cranks.
As recently as the mid-80s, none of the "best scientists" in medicine dreamed that stomach ulcers might have a bacterial cause.
In June of 2010, all of the "best scientists" in environmental science ignored clear evidence that the parameters of the BP spill might mitigate its impact and predicted dire consequences for the Gulf Coast for many years to come. Today, only five months since the blowout started and two months since it was capped, several of the major fishwraps (TIME, the NY Times and the LA Times) are acknowledging that the environmental consequences might not be as bad as previously thought.
I assume that you do not rank the likes of Richard Lindzen and Fred Singer among "best scientists", Sen. Kerry. Is that because their views are not held by The Consensus? So much for diversity of thought.
Cross-posted at VladEnBlog.