Post image for Matt Ridley on Climate Change, Scientific Heresy

Matt Ridley, a prolific author (among many other professional accomplishments) recently name-checked by Bill Clinton as one of the “smartest, most penetrative thinkers” remains one of the highest profile skeptics toward the likelihood of catastrophic anthropogenic global warming. Last week he delivered the 2011 Angus Millar Lecture at the Royal Society of Arts in Edinburgh. The title of his talk was “Scientific Heresy,” and it detailed extensively why he remains skeptical on this issue. You can read the entire text of the talk here. A PDF with accompanying graphs and charts is here.

Here are a few excerpts, though the speech in its entirety should not be missed if you follow this debate:

Using these six lessons, I am now going to plunge into an issue on which almost all the experts are not only confident they can predict the future, but absolutely certain their opponents are pseudoscientists. It is an issue on which I am now a heretic. I think the establishment view is infested with pseudoscience. The issue is climate change.

Now before you all rush for the exits, and I know it is traditional to walk out on speakers who do not toe the line on climate at the RSA – I saw it happen to Bjorn Lomborg last year when he gave the Prince Philip lecture – let me be quite clear. I am not a “denier”. I fully accept that carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, the climate has been warming and that man is very likely to be at least partly responsible. When a study was published recently saying that 98% of scientists “believe” in global warming, I looked at the questions they had been asked and realized I was in the 98%, too, by that definition, though I never use the word “believe” about myself. Likewise the recent study from Berkeley, which concluded that the land surface of the continents has indeed been warming at about the rate people thought, changed nothing. [click to continue…]