It can be argued that climatology is not an important input into climate change related policy. It is premature to take climatological input into account in adaptation strategy, while on the other hand as far as mitigation goes (i.e., on the global scale) the picture has pretty much stayed about the same for some substantial time.
That idea does not fit in very well with the common denialist refrain that climatologists are frantically churning out phony alarmism to keep the research grants coming in, but then reality does not often fit well with any of the usual denialists talking points. If further refinements to climate modeling etc are irrelevant to the important decisions at this point, and I agree with Michael that they are, then governments do not need to throw money at that research. I’ve always thought that if the argument were true, then “we don’t know for sure!” is a better conspiratorial refrain than “we are all going to die!” Put another way, “are we doomed?” is much more compelling than “just how badly doomed are we?”
Michael also makes the point that in terms of denialism in the media, the more things change, the more they stay the same. Maybe my time in the arena has been too short to see this, but I really do think that Hurricane Katrina (justifiably or not) and an Inconvenient Truth (Gore bashing aside) really shut up the naysayers for a couple of years and I also think that in the last year things have ramped up considerably. But perhaps those are just seasonal wobbles and the trend remains flat, I don’t know.
Anyway, go have a read at “In It”, and if you haven’t yet, don’t forget to subscribe!