Professor Philip Stott (who doesn't allow comments on his blog) is encouraging everyone to chime in the debate on climate change at Crooked Timber (which does). Professor Stott (a geographer) also cites approvingly a paper by Professor Ian Plimer (a geologist) which argues that 'global warming is a damp squib' as well as a blog post by Tim Blair (a journalist), the comments on which appear generally to be insults and personal attacks on Professor John Quiggin (an economist and author of the CT post)) for daring to say anything on the issue.
It is unclear to me why a journalist, a geographer or a geologist consider themselves more qualified to pronounce on the issue than an economist. As far as I can see the only clear thing about the climate change question is that the mathematics are fearsome, the causes are still uncertain but the outcomes are pretty much settled.
It seems to have escaped the notice of the likes of Messrs Stott and Blair (and others of that ilk) that the last time we saw this sort of change there were rather fewer people in the world than now. They also seem to assume that because the climate has changed before the present changes cannot be the result of, or even influenced by, human activity.
Actually I can't work out whether Prof Stott even accepts that the climate is changing - he often appears happier criticising those who do than with defining his own position. His support for the likes of David Bellamy (a botanist) who does deny the existence of climate change is a case in point. He also seems to have a bee in his bonnet about wind generated power for some reason.
Regardless of the causes, the evidence seems to be falling firmly on the side of significant changes in climate. With our very crowded world these changes will have significant physical and economic impacts. Kyoto is at least a step towards mitigation. On its own - even if it works, which seems unlikely given the failure of the US to sign and continued growth in emissions from China and India - it won't be enough. We need significantly increased investment in energy conservation (even uranium won't last for ever) and in alternative sources of power. Those who continue to deny that there is even a problem are only making it less likely that this investment will occur.
EDIT - I notice that Prof. Stott has a Poll on his site asking the question "Can Tony Blair control the climate predictably" the answer to which - when I last looked - was 97% No. Quite whay such a stupid question is intended to show I am not sure. It says nothing about climate change or public opinion. As a 'bit of fun' it ranks alongside the utterances of Bernard Manning.