Before I start one of my talks, I love to ask the audience how many people in the room think the science of global warming is settled. About half the audience puts their hands up. How many think it’s not? Maybe a third put their hands up. How many think it’s a stupid question? They laugh and they finally all put their hands up. There’s no such thing as all settled and unsettled.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change—I participated in all four of them plus the two synthesis reports—said that warming is unequivocal. It’s absolutely right. Thermometers don’t lie, unlike certain pundits, business leaders and West Wing politicians. Plants don’t bloom earlier in the spring by accident, nor do birds come back earlier from migration by accident. Some do not act that way; that’s why we average them all up, to find out if the climate coin is loaded—and it is.
Warming is unequivocal, that’s true. But that’s not a sophisticated question. A much more sophisticated question is how much of the climate Ma Earth, a perverse lady, gives us is her own, and how much is caused by us.