Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Who Am I?

So who is Greg R? For reasons that I will explain, I have chosen not to reveal my identity online in what can be fairly robust discussions.

No, this is not me.    CC-BY-SA-3.0 Blue Plover
I was born in a rural area of a third world country but am very lucky that my family moved to a first world country when I was young. I was your classic nerd throughout my teens and had a love for science and learning that has never abated. As a young man I had strong environmental leanings and remember as a University student writing letters to politicians supporting environmental causes (causes that I still believe in). I completed a Science degree at University (taking units in the physical sciences, mathematics and computer science) but I have to admit that I was never even taught the scientific method as part of that degree. A postgraduate research degree enabled me to then work performing research followed by a career in IT.

Throughout my adult life I have been totally turned against the environmental movement in general as I've seen it taken over by people who seem to hate reason, hate humans, hate progress, and worship nature. But at the same time, many of my beliefs and actions are very similar to the environmental movement. In fact I have been involved in several areas that see me working closely with people in the environmental movement. This is why I choose not to reveal my identity on this and other blogs. Challenging the science behind people's belief systems can too easily lead to broken relationships which I want to avoid.

I've been participating in a number of conversations on blogs and forums. My approach has been to try and use the scientific process, to focus on the actual data and if it supports a position or falsifies it. In a number of cases I have been able to engage with people. Rarely has anyone from the alarmist side of the discussion been willing to look at the data and see what it says, but I have called on people to look at the data for themselves and see if it supports the predictions made or not. When posting on other people's blogs you are at their mercy as to whether or not they will let you comment and it's been good that my posts weren't blocked. But the situation that drove me to set up this blog is where I was cut out of a conversation, it appears because I attempted to counter their arguments with empirical evidence. If I want to have my say, I need my own blog so here we are.


Over at Temperate Climate Permaculture, John Kitsteiner describes himself as a "fundamental Conservative Christian Evidenced-Based-Environmentalist Libertarian". I can align myself with all those labels too which is probably one of the reasons I get so much out of his blog. But permaculture brings me into contact with a diverse range of people, many who are incredibly different to myself.

One of the greatest strengths of permaculture is a philosophy not too different from the scientific process. I really want to align myself with the permaculture movement but I do worry that some of the most prominent proponents have bought into the CAGW theory and the wider population might link permaculture to it through their activities. This is the reason I decided to start commenting over at the Permaculture Research Institute's Permaculture News blog on some of their global warming articles. I don't want to see what is arguably the leading permaculture news site to be seen as just an enclave of people pushing CAGW.

I believe permaculture brings solutions to many of the environmental problems we face. Projects such as Greening the Desert show how even in the worst of locations permaculture can transform the landscape, creating a productive environment. This year I will be completing a Permaculture Design Course and who knows if it will take me anywhere career wise, but on a personal level it will enable me to take work on my own property a lot further.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Welcome to "Skeptic, Not Denier"

Welcome to my blog, Skeptic, Not Denier. The name is inspired by the continual labelling of CAGW skeptics as "deniers". This is a common tactic by those who support the CAGW position and is a dishonest attempt to manipulate and control the narrative. Often skeptics are referred to as "climate change deniers" or simply deniers, a statement that is completely untrue:
  • Skeptics do not deny that the climate is changing (the climate has always been changing)
  • Skeptics do not deny that  the world is warming (in fact, part of the skeptical argument is that the world has been warming for much longer than humans have emitting significant quantities of CO2 or other greenhouse gases
  • Skeptics do not deny that human generated CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) contributes to global warming
So what are skeptics skeptical of? 
  • Skeptics are skeptical about the accuracy of the predictions made by the computer models on which the IPCC position is built
  • Skeptics are skeptical that there is significant positive feedbacks as the result of CO2 that will lead to a 2 or 3 fold increase in the warming from CO2 alone
  • Skeptics are skeptical of the continual claims of doom from the CAGW proponents
  • Skeptics are skeptical of much of what passes as climate "science"
  • Skeptics are skeptical that the temperature increases we have seen can even be distinguished from natural climate change that has been happening for centuries (see the following graph)
Image 7.1 from IPCC First Assessment Report
Note that skeptics don't have a club or organisation where they decide on their beliefs. There is a variation in what conclusions they have come to (and in fact, over time their understanding will change). The above are some of the more common positions you will find amongst skeptics.

I have created this blog in an attempt to take a bit more scientific look at the issues and people's response to climate change (but more of my motivations in later posts). My aim is to encourage open discussion and to that end I hope to not have to remove comments - at least ones I disagree with (although I make no apologies for removing illegal/offensive/etc comments).