Sunday, June 04, 2006

Skeptics Society conference

I've returned from the Skeptics Society conference on "The Environmental Wars," and there wasn't much warring between speakers, though there were some debates among audience members between sessions. The most controversial speaker was John Stossel, who was the only person to proclaim himself a global warming skeptic (and did so without having witnessed any of the day's presentations, which made it abundantly clear that (a) there is global warming and (b) it is caused by human activity). Michael Crichton managed to avoid the global warming subject in his talk, though in the Q&A he agreed that (a) there is no debate that the globe is warming (contrary to the position in State of Fear that it's an artifact of city "heat islands"), (b) there is no debate that CO2 has increased as a result of human activity, and (c) there's no debate about the greenhouse effect.

I'll comment more later on at least some of the talks, but for now I'll refer you to conference presenter Jonathan Adler's live-blogged descriptions of the talks and Chris Mooney's summary of his initial debate presentation.

UPDATE June 7, 2006: Also check out desmogblog's coverage of the conference.

UPDATE (July 18, 2009): Looks like my only further comment was on Jonathan Adler's talk on federal environmental regulation, though I did post this on the JREF Forums on June 30, 2008:
I very much enjoyed the Skeptics Society "Environmental Wars" conference. I thought it was a good mix of long-term history on climate change (Prothero), current scientific evidence on climate change (Schneider), what to do about it from an economic perspective (Arnold), what doesn't work from a regulatory perspective (Adler), what wild and crazy mitigation techniques might be available and what they'll cost (Benford), and a little debate on politicization of science (Mooney vs. Bailey), and a couple of climate change skeptics who didn't really address any of the science presented during the conference (Crichton and Stossel). It was also a chance to see one of Paul MacCready's last public appearances before he died.

Michael Crichton and John Stossel were no Mike Reiss (Simpsons writer who gave a hilarious talk in 2005), but I still thought they provided entertainment.

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