I’m leaving for a meeting early tomorrow morning and then heading out on holiday as soon as I’m back, so posting – from me, at least – will probably be light for a couple of weeks. To be quite honest, I’m somewhat at a loss for things to say. I have some thoughts about Michael Tobis’ recent posts, but haven’t even started drafting anything and, once I have, I want to run it past Michael before I do post it.
I’m feeling a little worn out, so am looking forward to a couple of weeks away (the first week is a work trip, admittedly). I’m also finding myself more and more discouraged by the level of discourse. I’ve been observing some of the conflict between those who support nuclear and those who support renewables. Mostly more heat than light, in my view. I had a brief discussion with someone who is pro-nuclear who seems to think that those who are anti-nuclear are evil, and we also recently had a case of someone refering to those who support nuclear as deniers.
I’ve also been slightly discouraged by the whole saga surrounding David Wallace-Wells article (I’ve linked to the annotated version, so you can check his sources and how he has responded to the criticism). I think there were aspects deserving of criticism, but I also think he was trying to do something interesting; highlight the possible severe outcomes if we do end up continuing to emit CO2 into the atmosphere. I might disagree with how he framed the issue, but I still think it is an aspect that we do need to consider. It’s also led to a lot of discussion, which is itself good. Some of the criticism could – in my view – have been a bit more charitable.
To be fair, some of the criticism of those who approach this from an alternative perspective might also be lacking in charity (and this may include some of my criticism too, to be honest) and I’m starting to be a little concerned that there is a fairly narrow region of parameter space that is regarded as acceptable. I’m somewhat worried that I’ve allowed myself to be too influenced by this; I think I may be too careful and cautious about what I say. As a scientist this can be a good thing; try to only say what you think you can justifiably defend.
On the other hand, this is a blog, not a scientific publication. There are aspects of this topic that are worth exploring, even if they are uncomfortable and not everyone agrees about whether to do so, or not. Avoiding these thing can mean not having to deal with some of the more vitriolic responses, but it does feel a little safe and maybe a bit cowardly. I’m going to have to have to give this a bit more thought. Anyway, it’s time for dinner, but then I need to pack and try to get an early night.