Tuesday, June 05, 2007

When the global warming bubble bursts

While climate change remains at the top of the political agenda, it feels as though the myth of scientific consensus is beginning to crumble. It's too early to say that the tide has turned, but it seems to me that the voices disputing the idea of 'man-made' global warming are growing more numerous. Just as important are those who don't dispute the theory of 'man-made' global warming but who are saying that tackling global poverty, lack of development and disease should take higher priority.

The big question for me is what happens to public perception of science and scientists when the bubble bursts? Do those scientists who've made the loudest noises and most extreme statements regarding global warming realise that when their theory falls flat the millions of people who listened to them will feel that science itself is a con? Public antipathy to science will rise rather than fall in response to this. Rather than 'man-made' global warming acting to make science important and relevant, it could in the end fuel the biggest backlash against science ever.

On the plus side, perhaps it'll be another nail in the coffin of those leftists who jumped on the bandwagon. Having lost any way to connect with ordinary people, the 'man-made' global warming theory has been a lifeline to them. With it they find legitimacy and relevance, and the more gloomy the prognostications the better as far as they're concerned.

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