I wonder what would happen if the same amount of skeptical attention paid to global warming science were paid to the other disciplines that inform policymakers: economics, opinion polling, covert intelligence, diplomacy, history, ethics, etc.

Do those other areas of analysis produce models and predictions free of uncertainty? Of course not. And yet we use them every day, because — outside this bizarre cultural artifact we call the "global warming debate" — people are quite accustomed to the notion that we have to do the best we can with the best information available. If all our best economic models were predicting a recession, nobody would be telling Ben Bernanke he can’t adjust interest rates until he defended the models against every legalistic quibble from every aggrieved, attention-starved loser with an internet connection, a history of poor socialization, and too much time on his hands.

The basic science of global warming is better, more carefully, and more comprehensively established than virtually any other policy-relevant body of knowledge ever. I get why deniers hold it (or pretend to hold it) to such absurdly high epistemological standards, but I don’t get why scientists and activists play along.

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