Gareth Renowden of Hot Topic

Christopher (I think) suggested that we get Gareth Renowden @hottopicnz of the Hot Topic blog and the author of the book of the same name to speak on climate change and it's impact on NZ. Hot Topic is the first popular science book to examine global warming from a New Zealand perspective, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of NZ's first ever Science Book Prize. The judges described it as "timely, lucid, and very readable".

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I was mildly disgusted when I

I was mildly disgusted when I saw Ian Wishhart's Air Con in the top 5 non-fiction books in Whitcoulls on the way back from the Convention in Wellington. I asked about it and apparently head office determined the lists based on sales. The guy behind the counter was suitably annoyed too. :)

I can't speak for anyone else but this is a topic I'd like to hear about it from a rational, science based perspective.

Great choice

Yep, it was me. Gareth would be a great person to speak not just of the science and implications of climate change, but of the tactics of the deniers.




Not sure exactly what a "denier" is supposed to be denying (few deny that the climate is forever changing), though there is a significant and well informed minority of skeptics and scientists out there who suspect anthropogenic climate change is probably NOT the most dangerous thing we face, based on the hard evidence available.

I for one am more interested in seeing the arguments themselves systematically tackled, rather than "tactics". There are hotheads on either end of the spectrum who are more concerned with "winning" the public over than demonstrating accuracy - and repudiating scientific arguments based on the "tactics" of some adherents of opposing views is less than useful.

AGW believers should for example, be systematically addressing prof Bob Carters fairly well set out arguments, rather than accusing all skeptics of being pawns in the pay of the devil/oil companies etc

In this instance I'd say that

In this instance I'd say that the "denier" is denying the evidence. The general consensus is that this is happening. As more or better data becomes available then the general consensus will change, but from what I've seen the current state of play is that this is happening.

In your own words, "there is a significant and well informed minority of skeptics and scientists out there who suspect anthropogenic climate change is probably NOT the most dangerous thing we face, based on the hard evidence available." (emphasis mine)

Given this small group that don't even sound convinced of their own position how do they expect the skeptical community to react? Until the greater scientific community accepts their interpretation of the data and adopts it as the best/most accurate interpretation of that data they are likely to remain consigned to the pigeon hole they're in.

I think "tactics" may have been the wrong word to use. You say that you'd rather see the arguments tackled. The arguments are what I was thinking of as tactics. The typical claims I see a lot go along the lines of the models not taking into account water vapour, cosmic rays and solar flares as possible causes for present warming trends.

These keep coming up despite the evidence (studies/models) that are available that prove it to be wrong.

Garath has confirmed

Garath has confirmed interest. :)

Details to follow.

I'd like to as well, the one

I'd like to as well, the one thing that gets lost in the debate is the rational, science based perspective. Instead, words like "believer" get tossed around instead of looking at the actual science and what the implications of those findings might be. Denialism blog covers what is a denialist and the tactics that get used:

- Assertion of a conspiracy to suppress the truth. This invariably fails to address or explain the data or observation but only generates more unexplained questions. Like why instead of paying off climate scientists to shut them up, the oil companies have poured money into PR.
- Selectivity, or cherry-picking the data.
- The use of fake experts, who often (or always) don't have expertise in the area they claim to be speaking on.
- Moving goalposts or impossible expectations, such refusal to accept when an argument has been addressed.
- Use of logical fallacies. I especially notice this one when people start bringing up Al Gore, years after he made his documentary, and then attack his alleged failings as this had anything to do with the science.

As always, the big question is what evidence would it take for a person to change their mind. If there is nothing, it's not even worth the debate.