In the global warming debate there is a popular view that one is either a warmer or a sceptic. But, there is more to it than this, best illustrated by the global warming taxonomy of birds.
First there are the geese who believe humans are dramatically changing global climate with dire consequences. Their pessimism is driven by what they see as the poor track record of humans living in a fragile natural environment.
Second, there are hawks who believe humans have no significant long term effect on global climate, or that the role of humans is minor compared to natural forces.
Third, there are the doves who are not sure which of these views to accept as true, but can bend either way.
Fourth, there are the peacocks that hold fixed opinions based on green dogma and believe they are engaged in an ideological campaign of good over evil.
Fifth, there are the gannets who hold that it is better to be safe than sorry. This includes those who are sorry about the vast amounts lavished on what might be a minor or imaginary threat when there are so many uncontroversial existing problems in dire need of attention, as well as those who feel it better to be safe and use our limited resources on the latter.
Sixth are the c-gulls, as in climate-gullibles, who are prepared to believe anything the likes of Al Gore, David Suzuki or Tim Flannery have to say. C-gulls are a sub-species of the parrots, also closely related to the peacocks.
Seventh are the chickens, as in Chicken Littles, who fear that the sky is falling because of a heat wave in India or a drought in Australia or a tornado in Kansas.
Eighth are the ostriches who, frankly, don’t give a damn.
Ninth are the cassowaries, bona fide sceptics, who hold that adherence to any human-caused climate change theory requires a leap of faith.
Tenth are the penguins. Penguins are those who have simply never heard of “global warming”.
Finally there are the owls. Owls understand some human-caused global warming could occur, but point out that no scientific evidence suggests anything tragic. Owls do not indulge in alarmist conjecture, but search for evidence that proves or disproves theories or hypotheses about possible human impact on global climate. Owls are ever willing to modify their views as new facts emerge.