Climate Deniers Are Giving Us Skeptics a Bad Name.Fred says that when it comes to the climate debate, the people are divided into three groups, warmistas, skeptics, and deniers, and he considers himself a skeptic. I am not sure whether he has defined the groups sharply enough in his article but my understanding is that the warmistas are the only ones who think it's a good idea to regulate CO2 while the deniers are those who deny that CO2 absorbs infrared radiation and/or (?) similar physics facts.
What do I think about his views?
Well, first of all, I am confused by the motivation for this division of people into three boxes. Why exactly three? There are dozens of questions in which various people disagree with each other and we could divide the population into dozens or hundreds of groups if we wanted. We may need an even higher number of groups if we started to discuss about the relative importance of the Sun, cosmic rays, oceans, volcanoes etc. in climate change. Still, the most far-reaching and general question in the climate debate is whether or not there exists a scientific justification for an urgent struggle against the fossil fuels.
Almost everyone answers either Yes or No. People have different intermediate thinking that leads them to one answer or another and I also believe that various people on both sides make many errors – sometimes very basic errors and omissions – and people on both sides are sometimes prejudiced if not dishonest. However, this is just a trivial tautology. People are just humans. No large enough group of people may really be "perfect". Despite this imperfection, one may still ask whether we're facing a climatic Armageddon in the next 100 years or not and whether the elimination of the fossil fuels from our lives can save us. There are basically two possible answers, Yes or No, but only one of them – No – is the right answer.
Quite generally, I am surprised that Fred buys this separation of the climatic cool heads into skeptics and deniers. As far as I can say, the term "denier" is just a synonym for a "skeptic" that was invented by alarmists to offend skeptics and compare them to the Holocaust deniers. Should you call yourself a denier? It depends on "denier of what" you are supposed to be.
My understanding is that what we're mainly supposed to believe or deny is the "composite" proposition that there exists an important climatic problem caused by the rising CO2 concentrations. I deny this proposition – because of the evidence, it seems self-evidently invalid to me – which is why I consider myself a denier. A skeptic is a synonym that may be used in a more serious context. Richard Lindzen likes to call himself a proud denier, too. I surely see his point. Czech President Klaus sometimes offers a reasoning that is very similar to Lindzen's.
Much like many alarmists, Fred tries to define himself as a centrist or moderate – the strategy may be that "many people love to be in the middle so it's great to hijack the center". In both cases, I find it bizarre. We're still talking about very tangible tens of trillions of dollars that some people want to "invest" while others don't. I don't understand in what sense one may be a centrist here. One-half of trillions of dollars are still equal to trillions of dollars, or at least one trillion and if you want to invest this amount, you're still a full-fledged alarmist in my eyes. ;-)