Or has the debate even begun?
The scientists of the world have spoken and global warming is unequivocal. Actually, it was the scientists of the UN and they actually said that global warming was probably anthropogenic (dork speak for caused by humans). This is a big leap and if they have the data to back it up, we need to get our act together as a species and prepare for the consequences of our actions.
The again, it snowed on Friday but all the weather reports called for rain. If there have been such great advances in climate science, why are forecasts so frequently wrong? If the error range for tomorrow’s temperature is greater than the predictions of a century's worth of climate change, how much urgency can be expected?
I know on one level that is a cheap shot. It is like asking an actuary if a particular 45 year old will live through the year. While an actuary could tell you the number of 45 year olds that will die this year, they have no way to tell if an individual will make it through the year. Then again, actuaries have proven their methods for centuries while climate scientists cannot create a model that can recreate the last century.
Now I'm not the smartest guy in the world. While all the other kids could simultaneously waste their parent's money getting a degree and have the time of their lives, I had to put in genuine effort. Then again, I'd like to think I learned a few things studying math and physics instead of political science, which apparently has nothing to do with science. Mostly, I learned how hard it is to actually prove that what you think is true really is true. In scientific parlance this is observing correlation and proving causality. I have my doubts that the anthropogenic global warming crowd has been able to do that.
First off, I'm not sure they have enough accurate data to know what the historical record is. I know that capturing data is difficult and that the most important aspect of data is how many significant digits are present. It is easy to overstate the accuracy of the historical record, especially if you ignore any changes to the place the measurements were taken. Also, indirect measures can be even more controversial than the historical record.
Second, you need to prove that other explanations are not more likely. For example, sun activity or other more plentiful and efficient green house gasses could be part of the cause. Isolating these complex factors could prove to be all but impossible.
For these reasons, I find that it is highly likely that the UN report is more a political position than a serious prediction. So once again, I ask, am I a cynical bastard or just a guy with a highly developed BS meter?