At least, Tim Pawlenty agrees that the world is getting warmer. That is a bit hard to deny considering that Greenland is shedding ice, the Arctic has less and less ice and global temperatures are the highest in recorded history.
Pawlenty once supported cap and trade as an answer for climate change. Now he is a firm opponent. He is not alone. Many other one-time supporters like John McCain have backed off. Cap and trade has a lot of problems and probably is best not to implement during a recession. Yet, Pawlenty has gone beyond that. Today, he is nearly a full-blown denier that humans are affecting the climate.
“So there is climate change, but the reality is the science of it indicates that most of it, if not all of it, is caused by natural causes. And as to the potential human contribution to that, there’s a great scientific dispute about that very issue.”
Generally, when scientists present their knowledge, it is accepted. People get on airplanes, watch television and undergo operations because they believe in what science has accomplished. When it comes to evolution and the climate, however, politics kicks science out the window.
No one, except an expert in a field can truly evaluate the data. The many branches of science are too complicated for a layman to completely grasp. Sometimes, it is even too much for scientists trained in other fields to evaluate the experts of a particular field. In this case, it is the climatologists who have the knowledge. For them, there is no dispute, as 97% claim human-influenced climate change. That is an important fact. If only 60% or 70% of climate scientists saw climate change this way, then it could still be considered as an unsettled scientific issue, but 97%? If you are dying of a brain tumor and 97% of the doctors say you must do a certain treatment or die? Who would you believe the 97% or the 3% who propose a different alternative?
Are there thousands of scientists who dispute human involvement in a warming world? Yes, there are. Of course, there are millions of scientists in the world. The Global Warming Petition Project touted 30,000 scientists, including 10,000 PhDs signing onto its skeptical outlook. According to the projects own count, only 39 of those scientists are climatologists. Nearly 10,000 are engineers. Engineers are great for building bridges, but probably not the best choice for the daily forecast, and especially not for peering decades into the future to determine our planet’s weather.
The best way to determine a scientific question is to see if it has had adequate peer review. Those who support that climate change is man-made have a long record of published scientific papers that have been critiqued and analyzed. The deniers of human-influenced climate change do not have that depth. They are clinging to the arguments of the 3% of climatologists who lost the argument among their peers but pushed it onto the political environment.
Cap and trade may not be a good solution, so if Pawlenty wants to oppose that so be it. If there are new arguments against human-influenced climate change, then they should be presented and reviewed. New arguments supporting human-influenced climate-change should also be challenged. That is good science, but to claim, as Pawlenty does, that there is a great scientific dispute when it is really a great political dispute is irresponsible.