This has long been my view.
What really "gets my goat" is when people who know next to nothing about the science involved declare with such confidence that they don't believe in global warming.
Well, they read a booklet or saw a TV program that expressed scepticism on the issue
. . . and they were persuaded.
Do they think it worth checking out responses by mainstream scientists to the evidence against the claim that humans play a role in global warming?
Do they even consider agnosticism on the subject given that they seem to believe that the evidence is ambiguous and they presumably know that they themselves are clearly ill-placed to assess it one way or the other?
No. Instead they become convinced sceptics.
It is hard to resist the conclusion that the reason is simply that the sceptical view allows us to live the lifestyle we have always lived and to avoid potentially painful sacrifices. It is a convenient view and the sceptical arguments offered provide us with a justification for what we want to do anyway.
Don't get me wrong. I am NOT claiming that I am a scientist who is able to assess the evidence. I too must depend on a basic grasp of the science and a trust in scientists.
I am also not claiming that the majority view must be right. Perhaps the sceptics are right.
All I am saying is that Mitchell is spot on:
(1) currently the VAST majority of people in a position to understand and assess the evidence do think that humans make a significant contribution to global warming.
(2) given the catastrophic nature of the problem the rational and ethical course is to act to minimize it, even if we are not certain that it is a problem.