Whether you agree or disagree with AGW, there seems to be little debate, just name-calling. From my own (probably biased) view, I'd say the pro-AGW crowd have done a rotten job at explaining their side of the argument. At least the anti-AGW crowd seem to be prepared for a bit of transparency. The pro-AGW might well turn out to be right, but when issues are raised they tend to take offence rather than defending their position.
Problem one is that we are talking about data gathered in various ways from various sources. There must, of course, be some numerical filtering to try to compare data from different sources. However much of the filtering appears (from the outside) to be poorly explained. We are estimating temperature from tree-rings, ice cores and antique thermometers and making decisions on variations of a couple of degrees or sometimes much less. In a day when it might be 50 degrees Celsius in outback Australia 20C in Tasmania and -120C in Canada, we try to produce an average.
Now this data may be accurate enough to support the analysis, but it doesn't look that way to the uninitiated. Somebody needs to convince us.
Second, much of the (mass-media) published information derives from Drs Jones and Mann and their colleagues. The recent revelations have raised *serious* doubts about their data integrity. Never mind the emails, the widely discussed "harry-readme" file chronicles the efforts of a researcher to identify correct data and understand the filtering source code. It tells a tale of confusion and some suspected sharp practises. Perhaps "Harry" is out of his depth and Dr Jones et. al. have immaculate data and source code. However Dr Jones' refusal to honour Freedom of Information requests leave us all with great suspicions. If we cannot trust Dr Jones and Dr Mann, can we trust any of the IPCC and related material? Maybe, but it has not been well explained.
Third and perhaps worst is the number of morons who trumpet AGW concerns without any understanding what they mean. Mr Gore, for example, consistently makes impossible claims. It is too easy to look at these stumbling fools and think that their silly words represent the "scientific" view. When they are shown to lack credibility, by association the science seems to lose credibility. Why have serious scientists never told the buffoons to "sit down and be quiet"? Or have they? The media have seldom reported such.
I don't know if AGW is real. I do know that most of what I hear about is gobbledegook. I'd like to be treated like a "grown up" and have the science explained in clear terms, without the black magic and the "oh, you couldn't understand this". I'd particularly like this before we destroy the world economy implementing schemes that probably won't even fix the problem, if AGW is real.
OK, flame away.
Michael J Smith