An AGW skeptic explains how he rationalizes the oyster guy:
Your question for "climate denialists", as to how we can explain the work of conscientious scientists detailing how a warming climate changes ecosystems, is incredibly simple. The world's climate has always been changing, and it has always represented a stressful environment for the ecosystem. In fact, that's one of the main sources of evolution - changing climate conditions. It's no accident that the the last three million years of human evolution, in which we developed our intelligence and culture, all occurred during a time of large climate instability. These stresses forced us to evolve in order to survive. So let's not presume that all climate change is bad for us, even when it's difficult.
More importantly, the "denial" in the anti-AGW crowd is not in relation to the "GW" (global warming), it's in relation to the "A" (anthropomorphic anthropogenic). Denialists don't question that warming has occurred over the last 150 years. They question the cause of it, and the implication that it will worsen if humans continue to burn fossil fuels. Scientists working on oysters have no idea what causes the temperature to go up, they only document the changes that occur in the ecosystem. Nothing in their work lends even the slightest support to the notion that human beings have caused these changes by burning greenhouse gases. I'm sure when the next ice age begins, the stress on the ecosystem will be even greater, just as it has been at many times in the recent past, but the cause won't be reflected in these kinds of studies.
One of the insidious aspects of switching from the term "global warming" to "climate change" to define this controversy is the notion that any form of change in our climate is unnatural and wrong. This is simply false. Climate has always changed, and it has always put stress on ecosystems. Ecosystems have always changed in response. That's what evolution is all about. It's ugly, messy, even cruel. We don't live in a temperature-controlled bubble. The real world changes all the time. That's part of what the email controversy is about - the attempt by a small group of climate scientists to massage the data about our recent past to make it seem that our climate has been an unchanging constant for a very long time, when it simply has not. Sympathies for polar bears and oysters not-withstanding, none of these studies has any bearing on the central claim that these changes primarily or significantly due to human activity. The group of scientists whose work supports this notion is actually quite small, and their methods and conclusions are the ones that "denialists" are addressing.
The Dish doesn't endorse all of these opinions, but we asked the question and it is only fair to post a response. Yglesias had some tangentally related thoughts about David Koch, climate change, and evolution a few days ago.