IPCC Report in Doubt: Are Climate Change Skeptics “Dumb”?

IPCC report in doubt, are deniers actually dumb

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was established during 1988 by the United Nations, is due to publish a crucial report on the extent of climate change. Based upon leaked documents of a draft of the fifth assessment report, it is anticipated that the group will reiterate previous sentiments – climate change is taking place, mankind is responsible for around half of all global warming, and global policy changes are mandated to halt the ever-escalating problem.

We look at some of the IPCC’s latest findings, many of which are currently hotly contested, and ask the question as to whether climate skeptics truly are as “dumb” as people claim.

The IPCC Report

The work has been carried out by over 209 leading scientists, from 39 different countries, using 50 review editors, and has been subject to scrutiny from the scientific community. IPCC logoOrganized into three main groups, the IPCC are attempting to look at the hard science, estimating the impact of climate change, and exploring contingency plans to stem the issue.

Ultimately, a 30-page document is due to be released to summarize their findings to inform policymakers on their next steps.

From a scientific standpoint, debate has been widespread over the issue of climate change. On the one hand, a significant majority of the scientific community have come to the consensus that global warming is happening at an accelerated rate, and is responsible for perceived climate change. On the other hand, scientists opposing this prediction (labeled climate change deniers) posit that the IPCC are being alarmist, and lack substantial evidence to corroborate their assertions.

False Predictions

Writing for the Telegraph, Christopher Booker, who wrote a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster, describes how the IPCC’s computer model predictions have been consistently proven false. He suggests that the climate change conundrum has not advanced since 2009, with a lack of global warming seen over the past 17 years, the Arctic’s ice not having disappeared (as was projected in 2007) and a concomitant lessening in the incidence and intensity of hurricane and tornado activity.

Equally, these thoughts are echoed by Marc Morano, former Senate Environment and Public Works staff member, who published Climate Depot. Morano suggests the 2013 climate events have torn the United Nations “political narrative,” on the impact of global warming, to shreds.

Morano highlights an expansion in ice formations in both poles, unaffected sea levels, continued global cooling since 2002 and a the absence of global temperature increases over the past 15 years. He also indicates that polar bear numbers are increasing, incidence of wildfires is declining and tornado and hurricanes remain at “record lows.”

In contrast, other scientists suggest there is a downward spiral in the ice over the Arctic Ocean. Professor Rahmstorf, an oceanographer and climatologist, working at Postdam University, explains that this melting will be much faster than the IPCC has predicted.

In the past, the IPCC reports have also been subject to great error. It was claimed the Himalayan glaciers would melt by 2035; this over exaggerated prediction was later retracted by the IPCC.

In addition, the organization had incorrectly stated the amount of land that would be under sea level in the Netherlands. They claimed 55 percent of the country’s land would be below sea level; what the report should have said, however, was that 55 percent of the land was at risk of flooding, with 26 percent of land under sea level.

According to the BBC, the word “uncertainty” is used continuously throughout the IPCC’s report, implying either caution or doubt is creeping into their work. Where the 2007 IPCC report made no reference to any apparent “slowdown” in temperature rises in the past decade, the latest iteration is looking set to make mention of this.

Oceans Taking the Heat

Several explanations have been proposed to explain why the IPCC’s projections on global temperature rises have not been met. Most scientists allege that warming has continued, but most of the heat has been absorbed by the oceans.

One such scientist is Kevin Trenberth, working for the National Center for Atmospheric Research, who hypothesizes that heat can be trapped deep within the oceans for centuries. In contrast, heat trapped near the ocean’s surface can rapidly return back to the air and, therefore, these oceans do not serve to protect us indefinitely from global warming.

Meanwhile, global warming skeptics claim this to be evidence that the IPCC are using inaccurate, overly-sensitive models, which exaggerate the impact of carbon dioxide.

Despite sea levels having failed to rise in the past decade, leaked details from the latest IPCC report claim that the sea level could increase between 26 to 81 centimeters by the end of the century. Scientists suggest heat may cause expansion of the oceans, alongside an increase in the melting of global ice formations.

Professor Rahmstorf claims this to be an underestimate, however, decreeing that semi-empirical models calculate the rise to be as much as 2 meters.

Are Climate Change Deniers “Dumb”?

Frankly, looking at the situation from an objective point of view, it is difficult to truly understand the gravity of global warming, overall climate change and man’s own culpability. Whilst an argument remains highly compelling when a “majority” support it, you can’t help but feel a little skeptical when seemingly relying upon good faith. Global warming experts have been formulating hypotheses based upon complex computer models for well over a decade; many of these predictions have not come to fruition, however.

Indicators of global warming
The ten apparent indicators of global warming

The science behind climate change has become so entrenched within society, and embraced by so many within scientific circles, that most of the general public simply see it as an unshakable truth. Conjecture and hypothesis are passed off as fact when learning about climate change at school; so much so, to think anything else would be considered idiotic.

In fact, in calling into question the legitimacy of climate change, many have encountered considerable derision. Scientists opposing the notion of climate change have risked their careers to do so, and are often dismissed outright.

Looking around at article submissions from fellow writers, it is nice to see a wide variety of approaches to investigating the truth behind global warming. Unfortunately, however, many tend to take the word of the scientific community for gospel, sometimes becoming very combative in their approach. For example, one particular article, entitled How to Answer the Dumb Things Climate Change Skeptics Say, seeks to quash the opposing argument through condescension.

It seems strange that any individual could be so certain on a particular subject, without definitive proof. Referring to another’s argument as “dumb,” without proof that yours is ironclad, seems a little injudicious and impetuous. In fact, would it not be considered “dumb” to not question a theory.

The IPCC’s Future

With regards to the future of the IPCC, many skeptics suggest the organization suffocates scientific debate. According to BBC News, a Dutch author Marcel Crok had this to say on the matter:

“It is not designed to answer questions because the whole IPCC process, the whole consensus-building process, is choking the openness of the scientific debate.”

Judith Curry, the professor and chairwoman of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, located in the Georgia Institute of Technology, criticizes the latest report. She questions how the IPCC’s confidence in their findings can increase, irrespective of the latest pause in global warming.

The EU Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard, defends the enactment of policy based upon the IPCC’s “uncertain” reports. She suggests that, if decades from now scientists admit they were wrong, “… would it not in any case have been good to do many of the things you have to do to combat climate change?

Has the IPCC been shot to pieces

Governments have implemented fuel taxes on non-renewable energy sources and poured billions into constructing wind farms, and other “green” energy strategies, all in the name of reducing carbon emissions. If these scientists are eventually forced to admit that their climate change theories have been terribly mistaken, it will certainly be a very costly one; incalculable sums of money will have been wasted, and the reputation of the scientific community will be left in tatters. On this basis, what would be the incentive for the IPCC to ever confess they were wrong?

By: James Fenner (Op-Ed)

LV Guardian Express Link1

LV Guardian Express Link2

Telegraph Link

BBC News Link

The Guardian Link

23 Responses to "IPCC Report in Doubt: Are Climate Change Skeptics “Dumb”?"

  1. Karlos   November 5, 2013 at 1:52 am

    Connor, you might want to peek here: http://joannenova.com.au/2013/07/thats-a-0-3-consensus-not-97/

    Quote from Abstract: “Cook et al. (2013) stated that abstracts of nearly all papers expressing an opinion on climate change endorsed consensus, which, however, traditionally has no scientific role; used three imprecise definitions of consensus interchangeably; analyzed abstracts only; excluded 67% expressing no opinion; omitted some key results; misstated others; and thus concluded that 97.1% endorsed the hypothesis as defined in their introduction, namely that the “scientific consensus that human activity is very likely causing most of the current GW (anthropogenic global warming, or AGW)”. The authors’ own data file categorized 64 abstracts, or only 0.5% of the sample, as endorsing the consensus hypothesis as thus defined. Inspection shows only 41 of the 64, or 0.3% of the entire sample, actually endorsed their hypothesis. Criteria for peer review of papers quantifying scientific consensus are discussed.”

    so 97% is actually 0.3%

    Also Jeff’s comments that the CO2 absorption spike is saturated agrees with my own conclusion and experience in optical physics. Any compound has an ‘absorption curve’ – expressed graphically it shows at what wavelengths energy is absorbed and how much can be absorbed – CO2 has a curve with two prominent spikes where it absorbs energy, The sun emits energy .. and the CO2 is saturated at the upper spike .. so no matter how much more CO2 is added to the atmosphere, it simply cannot absorb any more energy.

    Also (more scary than any anthropomorphic climate risk) is low CO2. Take a look at my webpage link. If we ever hit 200 parts per million, that’s it – all life on this planet is on a downward, terminal spiral. There’s no modelling required for this – it’s fact based on observable and practical knowledge of plant photosynthesis.

    Reply
  2. Sasha   September 28, 2013 at 7:56 am

    The IPCC in a nutshell: “Since we started in 1990, we were partially-right about the Arctic, wrong about the Antarctic, wrong about the tropical troposphere, wrong about the surface temperatures, wrong about hurricanes, wrong about the Himalayas, wrong about sensitivity, clueless on clouds and completely useless on regional trends. And on that basis we’re 95% confident we’re right.”

    Reply
    • Connor   September 28, 2013 at 5:35 pm

      Hi Sasha, where are you getting your information? Because you’re factually inaccurate on most of the things you are saying.

      Reply
  3. RMB   September 27, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    Whatever else is happening the excess heat that IPCC claims to exist is not going into the ocean because physical heat will be rejected by surface tension. Only radiation penetrates the surface of the ocean. There is no ability to build up physical heat in the ocean. Radiation goes in nothing else.Try heating the surface of water with a heat gun.AGW is a nonsense.

    Reply
  4. Rosco   September 25, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    The basis for the hypothesis is the greenhouse effect. It is easy to test whether the basic hypothesis is right or wrong and I tried to test it. I believe anyone can prove the hypothesis is wrong by simple experiment.

    But using the Stefan-Boltzmann equation – the equation used all through climate science – consider this question.

    I heated a thermometer using a 150 Watt spotlight located about 45 cm from it to 36 degrees C.

    At air temperature of 18 degrees C the Stefan-Boltzmann equation calculates the thermometer is emitting about 407 Watts per square metre.

    At 36 degrees C the Stefan-Boltzmann equation calculates the thermometer is emitting about 517 Watts per square metre.

    How do you account for that extra 110 Watts per square metre obviously supplied by the spotlight’s radiation (light plus IR) ?

    Climate science claims that a simple algebraic sum of radiation can be used to calculate temperature and this is used in all the computer models.

    If this is true then the 407 from the air plus ? from the spotlight equals the 517 emitted at 36 degrees C.

    A simple algebraic sum says this is 110 from the spotlight but this is nonsense !

    110 Watts per square metre is emitted by an object with a temperature of MINUS 63 degrees C !

    The spotlight is obviously much hotter than that.

    Besides, if I were to heat the thermometer by say placing it into a water bath the water would have to be at least 36 degrees C !

    How can radiation equivalent to that emitted by an object at a temperature of minus 63 degrees C possibly heat the thermometer to 36 degrees C.

    Only a fool would claim that is possible.

    Check my maths – it is right.

    So either the Stefan-Boltzmann equation is wrong or climate scientists are – I know who my money is on !

    Therefore the only conclusion that can possibly be drawn from this is that Climate Science is wrong in the manner in which they sum radiation.

    If they are wrong in this then their Greenhouse Effect model is wrong !

    You can see a model of the greenhouse effect posted by the Washington University at this link

    http://www.atmos.washington.edu/2002Q4/211/notes_greenhouse.html.

    The discussion around the second figure makes the claim I say is completely impossible – two or more sources of radiation do NOT simply add up to a simple sum and the temperature thus calculated is wrong.

    You have to consider the “net” heating effect and climate science methods as shown in the lecture are wrong !

    If they are right then the spotlight in my experiment must be equivalent to minus 63 degrees C – utter nonsense.

    The real science says you consider the “net” effect – 407 from the air plus (517 – 407) 110 from the spotlight.

    This means that two object at the same temperature do not heat each other – something that anyone really knows.

    Only the incorrect application of science can claim the effect that climate scientists make.

    They are wrong !!

    I am prepared to debate this with anyone at all !

    Reply
    • Connor   September 25, 2013 at 3:42 pm

      Sorry Rosco, but science isn’t something that is debated on blogs with whoever shouts loudest winning. If the answer is so simple, why don’t you write a paper and get it published?

      Reply
  5. Connor   September 25, 2013 at 1:47 pm

    Looks like the site isn’t let me post comments any more.

    Reply
  6. Dan   September 25, 2013 at 5:55 am

    Right you speaking of the Cook paper. It’s a fabrication. My question why even do paper like this. To look for consensus. Why don’t you show me evidence of warming in the last 16 years.

    Reply
    • Connor   September 25, 2013 at 7:46 am

      Hey Dan,

      Yes – in that comment, I was talking about the Cook paper. What good evidence have you that it’s a fabrication? Have a read of it here: http://iopscience.iop.org/1748-9326/8/2/024024/article All their data is publicly available, so can’t see how it might have been fabricated.

      Good question tho: why do a paper like this? Because lots of folks in oil, coal and lots of other industries, have been saying that there is no consensus. So it seems like a good idea to find out if science does agree, especially given that here are plenty of folks in the media who say scientists are still debating, whereas there is not one national academy of science on the planet who, after all these years of research, doesn’t now think that human caused climate change is happening. Not one.

      And the folks who did the paper didn’t look for consensus – they examined every paper which had been written which expressed a view on human caused climate change and found that 97% of scientists agreed that climate change was happening, and that humans are causing it.

      For evidence of warming in the past 16 years, no problem: here:http://www.nodc.noaa.gov/OC5/3M_HEAT_CONTENT/

      Reply
      • planet8788   September 25, 2013 at 9:43 am

        They may agree it’s warming… Do they agree it’s going to do major damage?

        Reply
  7. Jeff Casey   September 24, 2013 at 5:57 pm

    Conner – you say you know of no “non fraudulent true skeptic scientist”. Well, now you do. I have a Ph.D. in plasma physics, and have been a skeptic since I first (believingly) looked at the original hockey stick paper, since I was curious about methods for sparse data analysis, and was impressed that they could measure “global temperature” from a spatially and temporally irregular grid to such precision. I was astounded at the terrible quality of the methods, and of the fact that their proxy temps (bristlecone pine rings) and real temperatures (thermometers) had a crossover point that coincided with the breakpoint in the hockey stick — to a scientist, this screams of methodological error, but they just brushed past it without comment. Further digging showed me lots of other issues with the AGW claims — a big one to a scientist is that the CO2 absorption lines are saturated at pre-industrial levels….i.e. most of the effect of heat retention is done with much lower levels of CO2…adding more has diminishing returns. That also isn’t in contention, but is the reason that all the models throw in ad-hoc mechanisms to amplify the effect of CO2 with water….something not verified by theory or by observation.

    The real nail in the coffin, though, was that those compelling CO2/temperature plots that Al Gore showed in his movie – very compelling stuff – inspired some higher resolution studies. Every single one has shown a phase lag, not a phase lead. If you don’t understand what that means, in simple terms it means that natural variations in CO2 come after corresponding changes in temperature, not before….typically by 500-800 years. That is over the entire ice core record. There is absolutely no way to continue believing in CO2 caused temperature changes that is consistent with that. There have been no credible explanations or retractions of that data, and it stands for about 10 years now. It is unbelievable to me that AGW still has traction in any of the scientific community. (by the way, if you want to understand the likely mechanism for the lag, it is reasonable to expect CO2 to follow temperature, since there is far more CO2 dissolved in the ocean than is ever present in the atmosphere, and CO2 solubility in water decreases as the temperature rises).

    Anyhow, you can discuss politics all you want, but my opinions aren’t based on politics. If you want to discuss science, and convince me, you have to start by telling me how CO2 can lag the temperature record in the ice cores if it is causing them. Either you don’t understand the impact of this, or you are being self-delusional, there are no other choices.

    As for numbers, there were over 30,000 scientists (I believe around 9000 with Ph.D.s) that signed the “petition project” back around 2006…me among them. This claimed that the AGW claims were overstated and that the US should not sign the Kyoto protocols. It is hard to reconcile 97% consensus or your claim that you’ve never found a true skeptic with the existence of all those skeptics. Perhaps you haven’t looked too hard. Or perhaps you just stick with certain mainstream media, which do like alarmist news and have been very reluctant to give voice to any of the skeptics. That doesn’t mean we aren’t out there, though.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

    Reply
    • planet8788   September 25, 2013 at 9:45 am

      But But But But But But But. (Average warmist reply).

      Reply
    • Connor   September 25, 2013 at 4:09 pm

      Hi Jeff- pleased to meet you! Just to clarify, I said in my earlier comment that I’d never met a true skeptic who didn’t acknowledge that statistically significant is happening.

      I’d written a longer response to you a couple of hours ago, but didn’t post for some reason. I try to keep an open mind when it comes to the science of the subject- so try to really make a point of reading any research by true skeptics. I also avoid most mainstream medi and try to look for clear understandable raw data from reliable sources. What research have you published in the area?

      For clarification, I am absolutely NOT discussing politics- I’m sure you agree that the decision on what’s happening to our climate is one for science to answer, not politicians of any persuasion. The job for politicians is then to accept what the science is telling them and come up with a range of ways of getting ourselves out of the mess, from across the political spectrum.

      Re that 2006 petition project- read about that a few years ago. Weren’t there some big problems with the methodology? Like that very few of the folks on there had a qualification or had published in a discipline relating to climate science? Or that they never published how many people the petition was sent out to, so that there could have been just as many people or more who disagreed with the petition as signed it? Now I don’t have a phd, but sounds like some issues with methodology to me?

      Reply
  8. Jonathan Pulliam   September 24, 2013 at 5:15 am

    You may count me as siding with AGW skeptics. IPCC and Al Gore ought to return their fraudulently obtained Nobel prize. Read Michael Crichton’s “State of Fear”. Read wikipedia entries on “Ice Age”. Read rebuttals of IPC report 2007. In the last 2.5 billion years there have been 17 occasions in which Earth climate cycles between states in which a.) no ice at poles, and b.) thick pack ice at poles and as far south from north pole as Manhattan Isle, it is proven over 1 mile thick. Look to solar cycles to explain this. AGW panic-meister alarmists are no better than terrorists.

    Reply
    • Connor   September 24, 2013 at 9:24 am

      Sorry Jonathan, but you’re wrong. This issue is not one about siding with one side or another, like for a football team. It’s about looking through evidence, looking at what is good evidence and what is bad evidence and trying to decide what is the truth.

      I don’t care what Al Gore says or said – I didn’t vote for him – he’s a politician, not a scientist. The same applies to Michael Crichton – he’s a fiction writer, not a scientist. (Though for the record, in the State of Fear novel he wrote (as a piece of fiction), he referenced a whole bunch of scientists, the vast majority of whom have stated that Michael Crichton twisted or misrepresented what they said.)

      Good evidence is transparent research written by experts in a particular area, which has been interrogated by other qualified experts in a particular area to make sure that it stands up. Bad evidence is writing or speeches given by people with no relevant qualifications, based on other discredited or non-transparent evidence.

      We accept what science says when it comes to feeding our kids, to safety in our cars, to getting into planes. Why don’t you accept what science has to say on this issue? I’m not saying you should accept blindly – sure go question, investigate, look at the research, but just ask yourself who is giving you the facts? Who can you trust not to give wrong evidence?

      If a doctor with a degree from Harvard Medical School and 30 years experience in cancer tells me I have cancer, and an independent similarly qualified doctor examines my case and confirms the first doctor is right but Jake, my next door neighbor, who’s a carpenter, says I don’t, who am I going to believe?

      Reply
      • Dan   September 25, 2013 at 5:45 am

        Conner . What evidence you are taking about. 16 yeast no warming. We had a record ice deposit and no huracines or tornados. At this point people like you need to look at the evidence and ask yourself is the evidence correct.

        Reply
        • Connor   September 25, 2013 at 4:58 pm

          Hi Dan,

          Where are getting your information? I was reading about no warming for past 16 years and ice deposits in the past few months, so I went and did some reading, of both sides, to see where they were getting their information.

          For polar ice, everyone’s getting their info from one source: the American National Snow and Ice data centre. Who just this week posted this: http://nsidc.org/arcticseaicenews/ So sure 2013 is a lot less small than 2012. But 2012 was by far the lowest on record, and 2013 is still the sixth lowest on record. With nearly half of the ice remaining as in the average of 1981-2009. And turns out the early science models were waaay too conservative. If arctic ice continues the current trend, which it may not, ice will have disappeared 4 times FASTER than the models predicted.

          What type of warming do you mean? If you land surface warming, sure, there’s been a slowdown in the increase in land surface warming. But you don’t need a phd to know that the earth has more than land on it: there’s the oceans, the air and the polar ice caps. So take a look at where all that heat is going: http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/cmb-faq/globalwarming.php

          My main point is not that there’s a new story on ice caps or data on oceanic warming, it’s that you e got to pick and chose what sources you look at. Could the US National Ocean and atmospheric administration be falsifying info? Sure. But it’s a lot less likely with all those skeptics and scientists watching every move it makes. It’s a lot less likely than it is that some blog written by an oil employee is falsifying info. And end of the day, the reason the science guys are so sure that this AGW thing is going on is that there are loads and loads if evidence from all sorts of different physical and biological events that all point in the same direction.

          Reply
  9. Connor Barry   September 24, 2013 at 1:05 am

    Sorry PaulW but what you’ve said is incorrect. The IPCC doesn’t “believe ” in anything- it is only there as an international, low budget summariser of ALL the research that is there. It’s not perfect- I don’t know of any government organisation or company that is- but it’s reports are the most comprehensive summary of fact that humanity has. Ask Nasa. Or the US Academy of Sciences. Or Harvard, Stanford or Yale. Or the national academies of sciences of the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, China, and India. Not too often all of those countries agree, unless there’s fairly BIG evidence supporting something.

    And sorry, I don’t know of any non fraudulent true skeptic scientist (out of the only 2-3% who are neutral or remain skeptical about mankind causing it) who doesn’t accept that climate has materially changed in the past 150 years, and is continuing to change. It’s not a question of belief at all. It’s a question of looking at the evidence and accepting that just maybe you might be wrong.

    Reply
  10. Paulw   September 23, 2013 at 6:07 pm

    The IPCC and climate science appears to be incapable of examining where they went wrong and even the simple question of whether they went wrong.

    Science always needs to be able to objective enough to subject itself to self-scrutiny. Climate science won’t even let its own members entertain such a thought.

    The climate IS not and has never warmed at a rate anything like the theory predicts. The scientists and their supporters are so into “belief” about the theory, that they do not even know this simple fact.

    The IPCC should be disbanded tomorrow because there is no truth in its science. Only belief.

    Reply
  11. Connor   September 23, 2013 at 10:06 am

    This article is so full of errors, omissions and exaggerations, I’m not sure where to start. but the beginning sounds like a good idea. For the record, I welcome skeptics – people who can provide factual evidence showing that the climate is not changing. However, people who provide non-factual evidence to support their theories are either lazy or deniers. Reporters and media types (whose job it is to investigate and report the truth) who then are too lazy to do their job and figure out for the rest of us what is the truth should just be fired.

    So down to some facts.

    The IPCC, which was set up to evaluate the science of climate change, is publishing this Friday the first chapter in its 5th report: the chapter only deals with the physical science of how much climate change is happening and will happen and in what ways. Later chapters on how it will impact humanity, and what humans and policy makers can do to mitigate it will follow in March and April of 2014.

    If you’re doing an article about the IPCC, you have to provide some context as to what it does. Like for example the fact that it does no research of its own, but only acts to summarize the best in research of over 800 (not 209) leading scientists, from every major country in the world, including the US. It’s fully transparent – every country nominates their best scientists who work for free to contribute to its chapters. Or the fact the budget for the IPCC, the body responsible for guiding all of humanity on this critical issue, was only $5.5 million in 2012. North Las Vegas spent 20 times that on a the city hall.

    The report is expected to reiterate the concrete factual findings (not sentiments) of previous reports that freakishly abnormal climate change is happening (warming and lots of other types of climate change) will be getting worse, that human activities are responsible (don’t know where the reporter got “half of warming is caused by humans”) for the significant majority of climate change, and that we humans had better do something about it, and fast.

    The biggest single untruth of the entire article is that “From a scientific standpoint, debate has been widespread over the issue of climate change”. From a scientific standpoint, this is an absolute lie. A 2013 published review of 12,000 peer reviewed scientific papers in climate science in the past 15 years found that over 97% of scientists found that climate change is happening and humans are causing it. Less than 3% of scientists were either neutral or skeptical about AGW. Confidence has been increasing, not decreasing over the past 15 years, from 88% certainty in 1988 to over 98% certainty in 2011. There is no longer any widespread scientific debate on these two questions. There has been lots of debate over the past 30 years, every other possible solution has been investigated and researched and interrogated, and science still comes back to the unavoidable conclusion that climate change is happening and that we are causing it.

    Debate has been widespread outside of the scientific community: of course it has. It’s easier for a scientist to come up with findings that the way we humans are living is damaging to our climate and our chances of survival than it is for us humans to figure out how to deal with it.

    Scientists who make up the 2-3% who are neutral or dubious about human caused climate change are not labelled deniers. They are labelled, correctly, skeptics, and they should and do have a valuable part to play in the scientific review process. Science always needs real skeptics to challenge existing research with new angles, new research to improve what is there. Equally, as part of science, their own research and publications are subject to scrutiny, and like all science, may be discredited.

    Deniers are a completely different bunch of people, who either write or give speeches on subjects they are not qualified to speak on, based on research which is not scientific, fraudulent, or has been widely discredited. A real skeptic will use logic and evidence to come to an ideological position – a denier will start with an ideological position and never move from that no matter how much logic is used. For some reason that I don’t understand, a whole pile of deniers of climate change were previously (or still are) deniers of the dangers of smoking, asbestos, CFCs, and the need for multinational organisations. Let’s be honest: we’re humans – there will always be some people who have a different point of view no matter how much evidence is against them. Good to have them, doesn’t mean we have to listen to them.

    Speaking of deniers, I fail to understand why, when there are thousands of qualified scientists on the record, why the reporter on this article choses two non-qualified journalists as his “proof” that there are significant problems with the IPCC’s findings. Christopher Booker, who denies any link between smoking and cancer, nor any harmful effects of asbestos, publishes a book (the findings of which were described by the Observer as “bunk”) – that doesn’t mean there is any reason we should believe a word he says. I’m not going to go into explaining why the claims made by either he or Marc Marano are rubbish: neither I nor you are climate scientists – so I’m happy to leave the explanation of the facts to people with a PhD in a field of climate science after their name.

    In the past IPCC reports HAVE NOT been subject to great error. Each of the past IPCC reports have been inches and inches thick – there was a mistake in one paper referenced by the 4th report in relation to glacial melting in the Himalayas, one out of thousands of papers which made up the report. It is science – there will always be mistakes found and corrected – but the end conclusion has in no way been weakened.

    Most scientists do not ALLEGE that global warming has continued, over 97% agree that it has.

    It is NOT dumb to question the basis for climate change. It IS dumb to forget that there are going to be lots of people out there trying to confuse you, so it IS NOT dumb to go to reliable sources (like NASA, the IPCC, the National Academy of Science of the USA) to find out the truth. It IS dumb to pretend to other people you know what you’re talking about if you don’t. It IS NOT dumb to try and do something about it if, as all the evidence indicates, we’re in deep trouble

    Reply

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