In the Times today, David Aaronovitch takes on climate change sceptics like Lord Lawson (the former chancellor), zeroing in on something fundamentally disingenuous about their rhetoric:
People such as Lord Lawson are not sceptical, for if one major peer-reviewed piece of scientific research were ever to be published casting doubt on climate change theory, you just know they’d have it up in neon at Piccadilly Circus. They are only sceptical about what they don’t want to be true... They suggest that they are open-minded, but their foundations and articles are designed to reassure the witless that their attachment to their Porsche Cayenne Turbos and their hatred of recycling are somehow acts of non-conformist courage.
By happy coincidence Nate Silver not only makes the same point but proposes a solution to it (and a few other problems): climate change futures markets, in which everyone with an interest - in both sense of the word - would stake money on their predictive powers:
The markets would help to clarify exactly the extent to which there is in fact a consensus about climate change. There is, I believe, an abnormally high degree of disingenuousness within the global warming debate, most of it coming from one side. We would very quickly find out if the skeptics -- and for that matter the believers -- were willing to put their money where their mouths were.