Conversations about global warming usually devolve into either (1) head nodding consensus sessions; (2) awkward, stuttering assertions that trail off into unrelated topics; or (3) full-on insult festivals. This is because it is very difficult to be tolerant of positions taken for purely ideological reasons.
'Climategate' has been stroked and milked by the denier community for every cherry-picked strand until it has become like a diseased security blanket, held tight in the face of overwhelming evidence and used as a proxy for real analysis. It's hard not to feel personally offended by such willful idiocy.
There is more than enough information from credible, vetted sources that no one should be a climate denier. Yet, there seem to be some that take real pleasure in it. They joyfully name as incompetent charlatans people who have devoted their lives to painstaking research.
I have much more tolerance for skeptics. Climate science is not easy to understand and it's often counter-intuitive. Skeptics at least make an effort. More than that, skepticism is the foundation of science. Questions about how we know what we know have led humanity to golden realms of innovation. It's also led us down some pretty dark alleys, but that's another conversation.
The recent revelations by five independent investigative bodies assembled to uncover the truth about hacked e-mails from the University of East Anglia formed a perfect storm of reason and logic... and of course, they were immediately attacked by the denier community.
It's easy to despair at this point. Especially when the mainstream media is uninterested in reporting on the vindication of science, preferring instead to stoke doubt by "covering the controversy" while cretins like James Inhofe continue to make political hay out of it.
However, over the last three years, I've seen amazing HuffPost commenters ride out of nowhere. Armed with brilliant evidence, they debate persuasively with decisive flair.
It's frustratingly rare, but I have seen skeptics join the consensus. I have seen change. It's a beautiful thing.
Keep it up folks. The world needs you.