>For instance, the large methane leak recently in the LA area allowed us to understand the effectiveness of the inversion algorithms that are used to turn observations of concentrations into observations of the emissions that caused those concentrations. In other words, to understand the correctness of wind models.
This is exactly what differentiates model driven from experimental sciences. You cannot go out and define an experiment to confirm your claim, you can only make observations of natural phenomena. Which can take decades when you're considering sweeping, global changes, particularly when you're measuring changes which occur on scales of decades-centuries.
>You said that "no one knew" about a possible future crisis in the 1980s. I supplied links showing that this is not the case -- the science establishment, the Congress, and the readers of the front page of major newspapers knew.
Once again you are twisting my words. My point is to differentiate between knowing that something is happening with certainty, e.g. a consensus that climate is indeed changing due to human activity, and knowing of the possibility of something significant occurring, requiring substantial evidence to match the claim. It took decades to gather enough evidence to match the scale of the claim of global climate change.
>Your reply counters with "what should we have done". That's another question, isn't it?
Again I've done no such thing. My point is that we did what we should have - it is not rational to make sweeping changes to society, culture, and economy for every alarmist prediction uttered by a scientist, because such changes, big or small, are not free. One requires a minimum degree of certainty and, considering the magnitude of the implications of climate change, from the perspectives of both consequences and mitigation, it isn't unreasonable to say that 30 years is a relatively short time to establish a rigorous scientific consensus given the age of the modern scientific establishment and the amount of data that needed to be collected and analyzed because of the purely data driven, non-experimental nature of climate science.