So when you encounter a skeptic you should give them the benefit of the doubt, after all they may in fact be that one out of a thousand that might have some idea of what they are talking about. And if they are willing to argue reasonably, by arguing against the actual argument you make as opposed to the lies that they put into your mouth, then fine. You've found the one person out of a thousand with which you can have a reasonable discussion.
That's the issue for me. Let's posit that a reasonable, intelligent, educated critical thinker exists who has examined the tenets of AGW and found some or all of them lacking. Let's say this person has no ideological ax to grind, no horses in the race, and demostrates their perspective through careful, logical analysis of the research.
Assuming such a person existed it would be very easy to lose sight of them in the masses of screaming politically-motivated denialist mouth-breathers, no?
As it is, anyone who isn't rabidly ideological who does push back against AGW in these threads usually says something like:
"Well, yes, the planet is warming at an alarming rate, but at this point we have only circumstantial evidence that this is attributable to man-made CO2. It's probably got more to do with paving paradise and putting up parking lots"
In some small sense the second part is a victory, because a generation ago intelligent people in the same demographic wouldn't even pay lip-service to the idea that environment stewardship was desirable or necessary. I take some comfort in the idea that environmentalism has been co-opted on a general level in conservative American narratives, even if the specifics are 'debated' tooth and nail again and again.
That paradox is almost as interesting as the one created when the patriotism and sometimes jingoistic nationalism exhibited by mainstream American Republicanism has to be reconciled with the extremely negative long-term energy prospects this debate has engendered for the USA relative to OPEC, BRIC, and more specifically - China.
The manufactured debate at home gave Obama et al. no political capital to salvage the talks when China overtly sabotaged Copenhagen, and will make it that much harder to re-initiate a similar process down the road.
The benefits to China in obstructing meaningful regulation of emissions is clear. That country is being rapidly built huge on coal and oil and the labor of hundreds of millions hungry for their own piece of the Big Mac, and regulation presents a clear danger both explicitly and implicitly. The implicit threat is that already built-up countries like the USA could transition off of an emissions infrastructure at far less relative cost, and potentially far greater gain in green tech R&D.
Cap and Trade is far from ideal, but what it does present is the idea that emission is assigned a monetary cost. How much more rapid would development become in technology which alleviated that cost, and what nations would most benefit from that technology?
If we set aside the science and take a look at long-term American interests it's funny how Rush Limbaugh and his ilk begin to look like Manchurian Candidates