"Where we seem to part ways is that I don’t believe the “we don’t know everything, therefore God” style arguments. We don’t have to know “everything” to take action. We need to know things with enough statistical relevance that the possibility of being wrong is insignificant. And here, I believe that most climate science has indeed done the job."
This is, indeed, where you and I do disagree. And I'll explain why: Climatologists rely very heavily on computer models of the Earth's climate. Computer models are _not_ "evidence". They are merely interactive demonstrations—illustrations, if you will—of a particular theory or hypothesis.
Unfortunately, my background is in computer games. I worked in that industry (and still do, occasionally) on and off since the 1980s. All games are interactive models; computer games merely enhance that interaction and allow us to create and interact with much more complex models in real time than more traditional forms of games do.
Now: when was the last time you heard of a major MMORPG going live without a single major "Oops! We never considered the possibility of _that_ emergent gameplay!" patch release? Here's a hint: there aren't any. Every major MMORPG has released "gameplay patches".
If games developers can't manage it with fantasy models that don't even have to be realistic, how in blazes are we supposed to believe that all these scientists—many of whom have next to no formal training in designing, developing and debugging computer models—can pull it off any more accurately?
Where's the source code for these models? Where's the original database they rely on? Where's the peer review of that source code? (Never mind the actual formulae: the programmer who can create a 100% bug free, non-trivial, program has yet to be born. Who's been over the source code for these models, and what were their qualifications for doing so?)
Those two questions were among the most important asked during the UEA fiasco not so long ago, and they have yet to be satisfactorily answered.
In fact, this leads me to a major issue with the sciences today: there are too many specialists, and not enough generalists. Far too often I read about research built on the flimsiest of foundations: computer models. And not a single damned one of the researchers named on the paper presents any evidence as to their qualifications to work with such models in a genuinely scientifically rigorous way.
The UEA farce proved that even the mighty peer-review process can be nobbled. Right now, the reason so many people have a hard time "believing" scientists is because, thanks to the fucktards at the University of East Anglia, the scientific community's reputation has been badly damaged. It'll be a long, long time before merely wearing a lab coat and having a pocket protector is considered a symbol of accuracy and objectivity.
Which leaves us with faith, and brings us full circle back to that tribalism.
Despite the above, I do agree that Man should tread as lightly as is practical on the universe. I live in Italy, where that "treading lightly" thing has been part of everyday life for generations. Italians make do with just 6kW (urban) or 3kW (rural) of power at the door. It's why they never invented the electric kettle, and why the Industrial Revolution didn't start there.
Italy has no sizeable reserves of coal, gas, or any other convenient fossil fuels. Most of their electricity is imported from France, Austria and Switzerland. Even so, this didn't stop them electrifying well over 95% of their rail infrastructure during the '30s and '40s. Electricity has the benefit of decoupling the power supply from the power generation process: you can replace the coal or gas-fired power station with a nuclear or geothermal one and the people at the other end of the wires will never even notice.
I mention the above because it explains why, in Italy, photovoltaics and solar heating panels _are_ proving a very useful solution. Fitting 2-3 kW of PV panels effectively reduces your burden on the national grid to as close to zero as makes no odds. The solar heating panels—Italy does have the climate for both types, unlike the UK—reduces the costs of gas, which many use for heating as it's (slightly) cheaper than using electricity.
Sure, there's still that big up-front capital investment, but unlike the UK, where 11kW at the door is considered standard for new housing, that investment will pay off _much_ more quickly, because energy in Italy costs a bloody fortune.
Italy is also investing heavily(-ish; it's all relative) in geothermal energy research, but the UK doesn't have that option. The UK would be best served by copying the French model of nukes, nukes and more nukes. Fission may not be ideal, although modern designs are much better than the 40-year-old ones they'll be replacing, but it's a much better option as a stopgap measure than simply praying for someone to hurry up and make fusion work before all the lights go out.
I'm a pragmatist. Ultimately, the "Climate Change" debate is an utter irrelevance: the climate is going to change _anyway_, whether we influence it or not. The ONLY question that matters is "What do we do about it?" Given that Homo Sapiens has survived far wilder climate shifts in the past, I certainly see no reason for the incessant fearmongering we're getting from the mainstream media, and I honestly don't give a toss whose "fault" it is. Humans aren't going to stop the world's climate from changing completely, so some change, whether large or small, is inevitable.
For the UK, the solutions are painfully obvious to anyone with half a brain cell:
1. Build more nukes.
2. Build yet more nukes to replace most (but not all) of the fossil-fuelled power stations.
3. Electrify everything, so we can decouple as much as possible from the power generation process. This is basic efficiency.
4. Mandate that all private homes should be limited to just 6 kW at the door. There is an entire country's worth of evidence that proves nobody "needs" any more than that. This will do a lot more to reduce consumption than any number of "smart" meters.
5. Subsidise insulation for all homes that predate modern construction laws. It's a lot cheaper to pay people to fit loft insulation and double glazing than it is to go through all the folderol of building even more power stations.
6. Build more metros and light rail. Electric trains and trams don't need massive batteries.
7. Build infrastructure for trolleybuses and design it such that it can also be used by other vehicles, such as LGVs, council works vehicles and the like.
The above suggestions are in order of priority; realistically, I don't expect 6 and 7 to happen given the UK's chronic construction industry problems and the order of magnitude it adds to the costs of building any infrastructure in that country.