Been getting up to speed on what I feel is the salient geoscientific issue of our time. We really need to get this one right. The stakes are enormous and the emotional pitch of the climate war is increasing.
On one side we have 1970’s computer geeks and their scientific progeny who have done an enormous amount of valuable work synthesizing the efforts of previously disconnected fields of oceanography, climatology, geology, astronomy, ecology, and the paleo versions of the former; and reduced much of this to physics and mathematical formulae that can be used in computer models. The models and the formulae have had considerable success replicating second and third order emergent properties of the ocean-atmospheric circulation. They have parlayed this success into prominent positions in NASA and the equivalents in western governments, and they warn of impending disaster if fossil fuel burning continues apace.
On the other side, lead scientifically by geologists and paleo folks with a long-term perspective, aided by skeptical statistical analysts, and aligned with successful business people attuned to pragmatic risk analysis; many argue that the computer models are inaccurate, the risks overblown, and that the costs of mitigation vastly exceed the costs of the problem.
One can understand the emotional pitch. One side earnestly believes it is saving the planet, and the other side that it is saving our way of life, and the possibility that the rest of the world can ever enjoy our standard of living.