Saturday, July 24, 2010

Remembering Stephen Schneider, and voting No on Proposition 23

Driving to a meeting of the Water District's Environmental Advisory Committee earlier this week, I heard the sad news about the unexpected death of the prominent Stanford climatologist, Stephen Schneider.

While a student at Stanford Law School, I participated in one seminar where he guest-lectured and heard him on other occasions during school and afterwards. I thought he gave the most convincing demonstration of who to trust in the climate debate by showing a survey of the mainstream climatologists and the small number of scientists that doubted climate change. Schneider showed that the mainstream scientists were reasonably confident of their predictions but also admitted a wide margin for error. The few skeptic climatologists admitted nothing, and were absolutely confident that they were right. He had given the best demonstration I could imagine of scientific honesty on one side and over-confident hubris on the other.

Schneider's death comes as California wrestles with Proposition 23's demand to suspend its premier climate change law, AB32, a theoretical suspension that would actually kill it if Proposition 23 passes. I know that Schneider actually had some criticisms of his own of AB32, but I can't imagine he would favor the misguided effort to kill the law and do nothing in return.

I'll be voting No on Proposition 23, an initiative that will harm efforts to fight climate change and efforts to protect our water and watersheds. We will have to learn from Schneider's legacy as the state and country move forward.


For a eulogy about Steve Schneider, read RealClimate here.

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