I think my past opinions over the whole AGW debate has probably been a matter of public record. Anyone who is familiar with my behavior would know I held nothing back when expressing my disdain over what I termed "Global Warming Alarmists". I felt that these people were much akin to a hybrid of Chicken Little, the Boy Who Cried "Wolf!", and random political fanboys. All of them singing the same song in lock-step while simultaneously spewing hatred and accusations of anyone who dared disagree with them. I think their attitude is what kept me from analyzing the AGW to the depth I should have. Their attitude is very similar to those of political party advocates, religious nutjobs, and AGW denialists.
Over the past month, I'm sure most of you have seen a lot of news coming out of the Copenhagen climate summit. The emails released to the public by an anonymous hacker caused a huge uproar on both sides making the debate over the issue even more aggressive than it already was. I always try to keep a clear head when analyzing different subjects. My thoughts on life, religion, and general happiness are all firmly grounded upon the idea of keeping away from the my-team vs your-team mentality. In my opinion, AGW debate, like politics and religion before it, has become this team-based monstrosity which drowns out the cooler heads and saner voices.
In my reading of the emails and various articles pertaining to, I could see many discrepancies. Both sides attempted to twist excerpts from the emails into something they weren't. While I don't think there is some global conspiracy to falsify data (which is just as preposterous as believing in the New World Order, the Illuminati, or Intelligent Design), I do think there were attempts to supress publications of differing opinions. Scientists are SUPPOSED to stay impartial. Sometimes theories are disproven by better evidence, but sometimes they are made even stronger through better understanding. It is unforgivable that someone in that kind of position allowed their own personal agenda cloud their normally sound and fair judgement. The issues with 'Climategate' aside, the data is still sound and there are many more research institutes than just this one.
In the AGW skeptic group, there is a key list of items for which it is assumed that the alarmists have no answer for. I, and nearly all other skeptics/deniers, never bothered to fully research these items. Several of which were fudged data or misunderstood processes. After my in-depth reading, I've come to the conclusion that each one of these items can and has been debunked much like the moon-landing denialists. Unfortunately, the scientists have not been the ones speaking to the public as a whole. That message has to go through a scientifically-stupid media, be filtered for ratings-potential, and finally handed down to the even-more-scientifically-stupid public--50% of whom think Intelligent Design is an acceptable scientific alternative to the Theory of Evolution. We don't have any great speakers like Carl Sagan out there anymore. Everyday-scientists are just very bad at making explanations that the public can understand. This is a huge disconnect and is, in my opinion, the biggest reason for a decreased interest in science and engineering by the general populace. Science gets filtered down into a pseudo-science that people watch on garbage shows like CSI, movies like the Core and The Day After Tomorrow. I'm not even a scientist--I'm an engineer. If the general public's ignorance and misunderstanding in the realm of computers is any indicator, I can't even imagine how badly misunderstood things like quantum mechanics, climatology, and evolution are to people who do not have a rich background of math and science.
I'm not going to go into details here as this is a personal blog post and not an article. But after analyzing the evidence via article readings, data analysis, and combing through large debates in various comment sections; I have to conclude that AGW is very real and while skepticism in almost any situation is a good thing, we must attempt to resolve that skepticism by learning for ourselves. Otherwise the skeptic becomes useless in function and ends up just being an annoying nay-sayer.