Andrew Revkin does a nice job in this morning’s New York Times in characterizing those scientists that Roger Pielke Jr. has described as the “nonskeptical heretics”:
A third stance is now emerging, espoused by many experts who challenge both poles of the debate.
They agree that accumulating carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping smokestack and tailpipe gases probably pose a momentous environmental challenge, but say the appropriate response is more akin to buying fire insurance and installing sprinklers and new wiring in an old, irreplaceable house (the home planet) than to fighting a fire already raging.
“Climate change presents a very real risk,” said Carl Wunsch, a climate and oceans expert at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. “It seems worth a very large premium to insure ourselves against the most catastrophic scenarios. Denying the risk seems utterly stupid. Claiming we can calculate the probabilities with any degree of skill seems equally stupid.”
Update: The discussion is underway in earnest over on Dr. Pielke Jr.’s blog.