Most people — including most doubters — are not in a position to render scientific judgments on climate change. They must decide whom they trust. In general, Denyers are conservatives or libertarians from places like the Competitive Enterprise Institute [them again]. So it is no surprise that doubters, who are also typically conservatives or libertarians, are more willing to put their trust in the Denyers.Notice Romm uses the unconventional spelling, denyers, in order to avoid the unfair aspersion. He calls Michael Crichton the archetypal Denyer.
More recently, we have delayers -- those who acknowledge global warming as a problem, but not one requiring any urgent measures. Delayers seem to put their faith in future technologies; they're waiting on the hydrogen economy to blossom.
And now we have -- this is new to me -- climate change optimists. Confronting this term for the first time in the Christian Science Monitor, I thought it must refer to folks like Danish statistician Bjorn Lomborg, who admit that warming is a real problem but insist that it won't be nearly as bad as the scientists/pessimists make it out to be. Or perhaps to those who insist global warming will deliver benefits like, say, greater plant growth and fewer people freezing to death. The newspaper, however, uses it to refer to those people who say global warming is not caused by greenhouse gases but by "complex natural cycles" like sunspots and cosmic rays. I don't see any optimism in that, necessarily. Maybe a better word would be contrarian.
Over at the science blog Prometheus, guests Hans van Storch and Dennis Bray are trying to clarify the taxonomy somewhat in order to better categorize the various flavors of climatologist. They offer a list of four suggested categories: 1) Advocate Pro 2) Advocate Con 3) Concerned Pro 4) Doubters. Then they get into what they call the "three dimensions of scientific perceptions" and lose me entirely.
All of which calls to my mind a line from Easy Rider, in which the hicks regard the hippies. "What is this," says the Sheriff. "Troublemakers?" To which the man says, "You name it, Sheriff, I'll throw rocks at it."