Seitz is no guarantee
Dec 23, 2015
Bishop Hill in Climate: Sceptics

Readers are no doubt familiar with Harvard physicist Russell Seitz, a frequent commenter in these parts. If so you may be interested in an email I received today:

Take a look at this 1990 article by Russell Seitz, placed online recently here. It's colourfully written, but ironically it sets out a sceptic position rather well. Does this sound like something that you might have written?

A disturbing reality confronts us:  the deliberate creation of a double standard, with one set of facts for internal scientific discourse and another for public consumption.

On whether CO2 is a "big" problem:

Clearly, a sharp-toothed carnivore is on the prowl. But we've yet to see a full-grown specimen.  Are we dealing with Snoopy or Cerberus? It's hard to tell- it's only just a foundling pup, and the question of its diet remains to he wrestled with-it might grow into either. But grow it will-slowly, and for a long while undetectably. One of these centuries, we're going to have a real dog in our front yard. But what kind?  And when?  An interdisciplinary consensus on the magnitude of the "greenhouse effect" and its impact on sea levels in the next century won't come cheap-or soon.

On activists and scientists:

On CO2, some [scientists] have cast objectivity aside and openly made common cause with the eco-politicians. The salvation of the world affords an enchanting pretext for those predisposed to societal intervention. They have already raised the abolitionist banner, pointing to the prospect of Bangladesh awash and water  skiing down the Mall to the Capitol-a prospect no more likely in my lifetime than nothing happening.

On nuclear:

Rather than embarking down the soft energy path that leads back beyond the Industrial Revolution's roots into a future dark age, the Greens should pause to consider the effect on the environment of renewing and perfecting our mastery of the atom's pale fire.  The prospect of nuclear power's second coming presents environmental millenarians with a real source of cognitive dissonance: it is they who are the problem. It is their delaying tactics that wasted years and squandered billions at Seabrook and elsewhere. And it is their past indifference to the environmental consequences of the fossil fuel that the reactor might have saved that makes a mockery of their present rhetoric.

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