The planet is warming. The average global temperature has risen by 0.8 degrees Celsius since 1880. The 10 warmest years since then have all occurred since the 1998. So the question of global warming seems to be settled. There are precious few climate change deniers, though that moniker is often heard in the media. Most people deemed deserving of the label are in fact not questioning if the planet is warming, but why. The question of to what extend global warming is man-made is not settled, despite the way it is portrayed in the mainstream media. A minority of climate scientists are officially sceptical. So are we.
Now, we are no scientists. On most scientific questions, we would assume an opinion enjoying wide support in the science community to be likely to be the truth. But something makes us question the climate consensus. What is it?
The problem is the tyranny of allowable opinion infesting the debate on a multitude of issues including race, religion, gender and climate change. The climate debate is not a free exchange of ideas and opinions but an echo-chamber where dissent is ‘not just wrong, but disgraceful, shameful, verging on scandalous’, as Matt Ridley, a self-confessed ‘climate lukewarmer’ puts it. Rational arguments like pointing out the economic cost of environmental legislation drown in howls of outrage. The fact that climate change has occurred since time began is ignored. That earlier predictions of the speed of warming turned out to be exaggerated does nothing to temper the alarmist rhetoric.
Uttering any doubt about either the extend that climate change can be ascribed to human activity or whether the trade-offs required to combat it passes a reasonable cost/benefit calculus leads to immediate ostracization from the scientific community. That 97% of scientist apparently subscribe to the manmade climate change consensus may indicate no more than a religious reverence for the allowable standpoint and fear of uttering dissent.
As we observe this debate we recognise a pattern. Witnessing the suppression of reasonable arguments and the demonization of dissenting viewpoints in other, more transparent debates such as race, gender or religion, makes us mistrust the consensus. The very fact that all the ‘right people’ seem to agree makes us suspicious. In other debates, the PC positions adopted by the left and centre often seem farfetched and absurd, despite enjoying support from large majorities.
Suspicion is also raised by the fact that politicians and scientists have an obvious interest in the narrative they are pushing. If climate change is man-made, man can do something to stop it. Politicians have a cause to peddle to voters, climate scientists, who are typically paid for by the public purse, can maintain their funding. And of course renewable energy is big business too.
It is a great shame that we live in a world so warped by the poison of political correctness that one starts to doubt the consensus due to the very fact that it is the consensus. What is causing global warming is a question for science. As laymen, we rely on being able to trust the scientific profession. On climate change, that is increasingly difficult.