Ever since Tamino linked to me, essentially tripling my blog hits, it’s become obvious that a lot of my readers and regular commenters are very knowledgable in this issue – more than a few are actually scientists who study climate change.
This has been absolutely fantastic. Whenever I have an inkling of a scientific question, five or six people immediately provide me with further information and links. I’m considering compiling all the questions I have (the answers to which are obviously common knowledge, but researching them is almost impossible as over half the Google hits are from places like the Heartland Institute or Climate Depot, trying to explain how it’s all a big conspiracy) and putting them in a post one day.
This summer, I’ve been reading and researching an incredible amount about climate change, and have even m0re books, websites, and PDFs waiting for my attention. This is what I want to study one day, and every new discovery I make or mechanism I understand is just so cool.
However, I don’t want to lose sight of what this blog is about. I don’t want to get into debates about proxy reconstructions or climate models when I don’t even know calculus yet. I don’t want to try to disprove Steve McIntyre. I don’t want to try to write like Tamino or RealClimate. One day, maybe, and I’m certainly reading that kind of material. But I don’t want to be writing that kind of material, pretending that I know what I’m talking about when I usually don’t.
I’m not a scientist. I’m not even of voting age, and don’t have the educational qualifications to earn anything more than minimum wage. But if climate change is indeed a problem, we have limited time. I’m not going to wait until I know everything about the science and then write about that. While I’m learning the science, I’m going to write about what I do know.
The ultimate purpose of ClimateSight is and always has been to find, expose, and eliminate the discrepancies between scientific knowledge and public knowledge regarding climate change. As it wasn’t too long ago that I knew only what Al Gore and the newspaper told me, and as I’m surrounded by people in that situation in my day-to-day life, I believe I have a very intimate connection to what average non-scientists think about climate change, and why.
A lot of people believe that there are two, fairly equal, competing sides in the scientific community regarding whether or not humans are causing climate change. I believe this stems overwhelmingly from a sense of artificial balance in the media.
A lot of people will read an editorial written by someone who thinks the world isn’t warming, or that humans aren’t causing it, and believe them totally because it seems logical and the more credible sources don’t usually write editorials.
A lot of people seem to think that the scientific question of whether or not human-caused climate change is a physical reality is a personal opinion.
I don’t believe that the public decision of whether or not climate change is a problem will really be influenced by technical arguments, regarding a single method or report, between blogs. I don’t believe that these two blogging sides will ever really convince each other. I’m certainly not interested in convincing anyone who has their mind firmly made up. I don’t think we’ll get anywhere, and it won’t really make a difference in the end result.
I believe the answer lies in an informed public. When people know where to get accurate and credible information about climate change, when they know who is and is not worth listening to, when they stop trying to figure out the science themselves and instead decide which scientific sources they will rely on…..then I believe the public will finally either demand swift and dramatic action against climate change, or set it aside as a non-problem.
As someone very connected to the public opinion, I strongly feel that the first outcome is far more likely. Maybe I’m biased, or maybe I’m just hoping too much. But I believe that people generally care about the future, and that the current policy of waffling around the issue of climate change is in direct contradiction to what people would demand if they were fully informed about what the prevailing scientific opinion actually is.
But either decision will only happen if and when the public becomes fully informed, especially about the nature of science and risk management. Our society lives in a democracy, which is a luxury many people in this world, and especially in history, do not enjoy. However, a democracy can easily be misled, and for it to work properly, a fully informed electorate is essential.
And that’s what I’m trying to do here.