Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Global Warming Is Not a Crisis

The "Intelligence Squared U.S." debate for and against the proposition that "Global Warming Is Not a Crisis" is now posted for download at the National Public Radio webpage. Speaking "for" the motion were Michael Crichton, Richard S. Lindzen, and Philip Stott. Speaking "against" the motion were Brenda Ekwurzel, Gavin Schmidt, and
Richard C. J. Somerville. The debate took place Wednesday, March 14th at the Asia Society on the East Side in Manhattan.

Gavin Schmidt writes for the online blog Real Climate, and some of those posts also appear in the Weather Channel's One Degree Climate Change. Gavin wrote up his experience as a participant in the debate here. Brenda Ekwurzel is with the Union for Concerned Scientists. Richard Somerville is at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. Highlights from the debate were aired this afternoon here in Athens, Georgia on WUGA.

The "against" team of climate scientists apparently lost the debate. About 46 percent of the audience came out "for" the motion after the debate, compared to about 30 percent before the debate. I think the very fact that dissenting from the consensus view of climate change meant voting "for" the proposition skewed these results somewhat. Based only upon the highlights that I heard this afternoon, however, I also think that the scientists speaking "against" the proposition took on airs of all-knowing arrogance at times. It must be difficult to appear confident in one's scientific knowledge but not arrogant in front of listeners who are knowledgable and well-read but not specialists in climate science. I know I have very often failed at similar challenges in my own interviews for teaching positions. I hope to listen to the full debate later this evening.

Addendum (3/29): After listening to the podcast last night, I am much more positive regarding the presentations of those speaking "against" the proposition. It seems to me that the edited "highlights" featured moments of heated debate rather than the much more calm, considered opening statements by the climate scientists.

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