Jan 16, 2011

Reframing the Global Warming Argument

I often get a chuckle from the rather transparent attempts by Global Warming True Believers to revive the national discourse on global warming. When frigid winters with record low temperatures continue to crop up and threaten to debunk their argument for massive spending to avert the impending disaster, they simply change the title from "Global Warming' to 'Climate Change' and hope no one notices. With the publication of reams of emails that debunk the very 'experts' who are doctoring the evidence and attempting to discredit and silence their skeptics, the effort shifts toward ignoring the evidence, finding new, still credible sources which justify their faith, and mischaracterizing the argument itself.
A blog post on Green.Blorge.com from Jan 13, 2011, Increased insurance claims my be due to climate change shows just how desparate the movement is apparently getting as they are now even willing to use the hated 'free market' and capitalism to bolster their arguments. (Who can doubt that the politicians--who are of course in the pocket of the insurance industry--will quickly fall in line.)
The article begins by informing us that insurance companies are reporting a dramatic increase in natural disasters.
As natural disasters have risen, so have insurance claims.  That being the case, insurance companies are noticing trends that most of us are missing.
 After accurately reporting the distorting effect of population increases and the associated regional development, it goes on to indicate that
Ernst Rauch, who heads the company’s [Munich Reinsurance] Corporate Climate Center...[says]..."we believe we have indications that climate change is already, at least to some extent, visible."
 With this damning evidence in hand, the author proceeds to conflate the above quote on 'climate change' with 'global warming'.
More tropical storms and Hurricanes are expected to hit the U.S.  Global warming is increasing their intensity which increases the amount of damage they leave in their wake.
Of course, warming is 50% of climate change, so there could easily be nothing in this statement with which to object. But two paragraphs later we get the statement that
While politicians bicker over the reality of climate change, insurance companies are dealing with its reality. 
Here is where the author makes the fallacious logical jump. First, in general, politicians are not bickering over the 'reality of climate change'; I know of no politician who would argue with the statement that 'climate change is real and has existed since the concept of climate itself has existed'. No, politicians are bickering over the existence or extent of anthropogenic climate change. Second, they are bickering about the extent to which we should dedicate limited resources--and whose resources--to attempting to influence climate change. In the minds of the global warming deniers, both of these decisions must be based on the validity of the scientific modeling used to predict climate change, as well as the elimination of any competing hypotheses for the climate changes we are witnessing today. In other words, reliable scientific proofs combined with targeted, workable solutions. Neither of which currently exist.
It is good that the circumstantial evidence gathered by the insurance industry points to a change in climate; if it did not, the veracity of the evidence itself should be questioned. But the way this essay uses the evidence is nothing more than an extension of the correlation = causation logical fallacy--combined with some artful conflation of 'climate change' with 'anthropogenic global warming'.
Politicians and the people they represent don't need more propaganda that simply further harms the credibility of the sources and delays any substantive action. What they need is solid scientific evidence and realistic, potential solutions from which to choose.

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