This whole discussion reminds me of one I had with a philosopher of science recently. His premise, given his belief in Occam’s razor, is that the most parsimonious way to explain any natural phenomena is to believe its because God made it so. How can you argue with it? It meets all the requirements of good scientific practices in that you have a hypothesis (e.g. the climate is warming because God made it warm), then set about to disprove it, which you can’t. Of course, you could come up with any number of other theories which also fit the evidence and also happen to lead to useful predictions, but that does not prove that the simplest hypothesis is wrong. I balked at this, naturally, and think it’s a load of hooey (blaming everything on God does not lead to any useful predictions outside of what’s already in the bible). But it does nicely illustrate how difficult it is when you have entrenched points of views, none of which can easily be proven or disproven and have to be accepted as an act of faith until enough (good!) evidence is in. Galileo knew this all too well.
First, has the climate changed much in the last 200 years? Beyond a shadow of a doubt, warmer, colder or no change? Once we settle this and , for arguments sake say it has warmed, then we can consider whether it is an act of God, (so no point doing anything about it), or an act of nature (tectonics, albedo, solar flux, algal biomass…) so no point in doing anything about it, or human caused to a significant extent, or some combination of all three! If it IS significantly human caused, is it via CO2 emissions, deforestation and other changes in land use, or other emissions such as sulphur or methane or water or rotting landfill or....??
"For sure, climatology is a young science with much to discover. Once the limelight has gone the funds to fly climate monitoring instruments on satellites will be much harder to come by. Let's hope the original data has been kept carefully with all metadata and methods properly documented."
Lets' hope, but one thing we are still very bad at is knowing in advance what information will be important to future generations. We can only collect and annotate that which we know is useful to us now. We were recently shopping for LIMS systems for our lab, and I was stunned by the number of so-called cutting edge information management systems which still do not accommodate meta-data. I hope climatology is doing a little better in this respect, climategate aside.