I tend to avoid commenting on the science of global warming. I keep as up to date with the arguments as I can and am reasonably happy that I've done what I can to understand the state of play. For now, I'm happy to take the 'consensus' view, with a few reservations, and then analyse policy on that basis.
I'm not a scientist and I honestly doubt I can add any value to the scientific debate. Fortunately the intellectual argument over policy will not be settled by scientists but, as usual, by economists. That is a debate I can be a part of. Neither myself, Sir Nicholas Stern or Richard S. J. Tol are scientists, however, the other two are as important as any IPCC physicist to the debate over our policy response to climate change. Tol's assault on Stern's review is a decent introduction to why.
DK isn't so reticent about the science of climate change, has done a lot of reading and is convinced that the mainstream opinion is entirely wrong. He is understandably frustrated that Sunny Hurndall has written the entire debate off as settled, anthropogenic global warming won apparently.
What I found odd about the opinion that Sunny, and Ben Stewart of Greenpeace who started this argument by refusing to debate Dominic Lawson on 18 Doughty Street, advance is that they seem to be calling and end to the debate so quickly.
It seems understandable that Richard Dawkins has gotten somewhat tired of rehearsing arguments for and against evolution that have been much the same since 1859 when the Origin of Species was published. After 148 years it seems quite plausible that most of the interesting arguments have already been deployed. Unless some radical new evidence or theory comes up I'd say it is fair enough to put research and argument testing the basic theory of evolution by natural selection on the back burner. That Dawkins wishes to stop debating those who still want to rehearse the same arguments after well over a century in order to satisfy their own religious imperative seems understandable.
But global warming only became an object of serious debate in the late 1970s. Why should we believe that in that relatively short period of forty years all of the relevant arguments and important studies that will shape the 'final' scientific conclusion have seen the light of day? Surely it is quite plausible that new evidence or logic that might change the debate will emerge?
It worries me a lot that those who lobby for policies to curb emissions are so keen to end the debate early. Presumably they think it strengthens the political case for taking action, perhaps it does, but intellectually it is a shabby and arrogant way to behave.