Since we've had interesting discussion on global warming here in the past week, I'm going to give this a try. It's a question, but it comes with stipulations. The idea is to start moving the issue forward from pointless argument to practical action.
QUESTION: Given that human civilization is contributing to a globalized warming trend that is likely to continue for at least the next few decades regardless of what we do today, what responses to this issue are likely to produce the best outcomes? In practical terms, what actions should we take first? What actions should receive our highest priorities? Is the best approach today a direct approach (targeting CO2) or an oblique approach (targeting situations that make excess CO2 production inevitable)?
- The validity of evidence for anthropogenic (human-caused) warming is not up for debate here. Until new, peer-reviewed evidence alters the scientific consensus on anthropogenic warming, we will not entertain arguments about whether the greenhouse effect is bullshit.
- Other subjects (rate of change, severity of change, outcomes, significance) are open to debate. However, you should agree to at least acknowledge the current best-evidence scientific view when discussing your ideas.
- Regarding reform via social and political institutions, your ideas should account for the realistic abilities of these institutions to effect the changes you prescribe. For instance, a U.N. treaty calling for a 70 percent reduction in CO2 production might sound like a good idea, but unless you can propose a means by which such a treaty could be enacted, let alone enforced, it's the same thing as proposing that Santa Claus come at Christmas and give everyone a Toyota Prius hybrid.
- Be lively and pointed, but try to stay civil. To this end, I promise not to call anyone a twit.
- Off-topic, Inhofe-esque comments will be moved to the Michael Crichton Memorial Global Warming Moot Point Eternal Open Thread.