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Coverage of Copenhagen climate conference

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Mary Hockaday Mary Hockaday | 15:03 UK time, Monday, 7 December 2009

So, the UN climate conference COP15 finally gets under way in Copenhagen today. It's been a long time coming.

Copenhagen coverageYou can measure it from the UN climate change conference in Bali in 2007 where world leaders agreed to work on further efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions more widely and deeply than the 2005 Kyoto Protocol, and decided to meet in Copenhagen in 2009.

Or you can measure it from more recent events: the hours and hours of diplomacy this year preparing a draft treaty. Until even a few weeks ago, there was talk of a couple of thousand square brackets of unagreed text still being pored over by the politicians and their "sherpas" preparing the ground for the final gathering over the next two weeks.

Our job in the BBC newsroom has been to report on the build-up to the summit and to prepare our audiences to make sense of whatever happens. Now we aim to interpret the various negotiating positions and - if a treaty is agreed - to judge what it means for all of us.

Arctic researchOur specialist environment correspondents have been reporting on climate change - the science and the politics and the debate - for a long time. This year, for example, David Shukman has filed reports from the Arctic and Bangladesh on the changes to our climate and our planet. He was with scientists on the northern ice trying to measure its thinning, and in Bangladesh talking to those dealing with the effect of rising sea levels and looking at the analysis that links these to man-made climate change. Roger Harrabin has reported from China on the effect of warming and efforts to reduce emissions. And at his blog Earth Watch, Richard Black has built up a rich body of reporting and analysis.

The scientific background is not, of course, undisputed. The row about e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit shows how charged the debate can be. We were the first mainstream news organisation to report the story and have since drawn out three related but distinct threads. Are there question marks over the CRU's scientific work? Are there question marks about how it has handled its scientific data and engaged in public debate? Will the row affect Copenhagen?

There are those who answer the first question with a yes, and many more saying, like UK Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, that "one string of e-mails does not undermine the global science on climate change". The row has certainly raised the temperature leading up to Copenhagen, and the second question still needs an answer. In time, we'll report on the findings of the review of the incident and of a police investigation of the hacking or leaking.

This is because that's our main job here: to report what's going on. Our coverage of climate change comes under scrutiny and criticism too. We don't endorse one interpretation or another: we seek to report the range.

David Shukman last week, for example, reported on the variety of public opinion about how serious the threat of global warming is, and on the scientists who challenge the mainstream view. Our job is to help guide audiences and to report on where the centre of gravity lies in the debate, which is why he explained that the broad majority of climate change scientists accept that the evidence is clear that human activity has contributed to global warming. (See also Richard Black's look at sceptical objections and our feature The arguments made by climate change sceptics.)

It is complex stuff, and there are many questions for us all to try to understand. How much is the climate warming? Is it because of man's activities? How much might temperatures rise? And what can or needs to be done? Among those who support the scientific consensus - be they scientists, politicians or the wider public - there is still much debate about what to do - and that is what will be thrashed out in Copenhagen.

World Service climate change pollThe world leaders who will gather in Copenhagen at the end of the summit will make their decisions informed by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a scientific body established by the United Nations Environment Programme and the World Meteorological Organization. It reviews and assesses the most recent scientific, technical and socio-economic work relevant to climate change. Governments are given the chance to scrutinise every word of the IPCC's main findings; delegations, including those from the Bush administration, endorsed the core conclusion that there is a 90% likelihood that most recent warming is man-made.

So the politicians are gathering because they believe something does need to be done to prevent rising temperatures affecting our planet and the people who inhabit it. The real argument is, then, over what to do about it. We've been covering the different approaches of various governments and varied public opinion around the world, such as today's World Service opinion poll on attitudes to climate change.

Whatever comes out of Copenhagen, there will be those who will say it is too little, and those who will say it is too much. Whatever governments sign up to, they will then have to take the case back to their publics and, where appropriate, their law-makers. So the debate will continue - as will our reporting.

Mary Hockaday is head of BBC newsroom.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    International politician and scientists can work in their own countries without the range of costs incurred in making huge journeys round the world and the associated fancy hospitality costs as well - wasn't that what video conferencing is all about?

    Are we really expected to sit at home under the gloomy light of the wretched of energy efficient light bulbs whilst such people gallivant at our expense?

    Why the private jets for the Copenhagen crowd? Do they think that we, the public are impressed by them and therefore give recognition to their status? People don't - and certainly not whilst people struggle to work in cattle truck conditions or along rutted illkempt roads - all costing more and more!

    As the head of BBC newsroom has stated: the debate continues (as long as the hot air continues emanating from Cogpenhagen - the real global warming perhaps!) Address real pollution at ground level that causes human illness and death as we queue at our bus stops (ancient buses kept idling with black diesel pumping out)together with industrial pollution and pesticide use and address our often shabby and damp housing. By all means too, restrict night flights at airports to give the poor folk underneath some real rest - those people certainly don't get to jet too many places like the technical and political gliterrati gadding round Copenhagen.

    Let's call for real educational/training and economic chances: young people need to be able to study - free from fees. As it is, all there is look forward to is the economic yoke of more and more taxation, debt slavery together with surveillance and the added personal guilt related to "climate change" continually being pushed at people. These are the things that need addressing - OK, there's nothing wrong with using resources sensibly, cutting wastage and respecting the natural world but turning it all into a hairshirtfest will not carry weight - the word is out that there's been some kind of global warming scam.

  • Comment number 2.

    It was very funny to see people like Richard Black closing down his blog to comments so that people couldn't discuss Climategate. I'm now seeing people who have previously defended the BBC to the core switching off because they can't bear to listen to you any longer. They have seen the corporation for what it is.

    Keep up the good work.

  • Comment number 3.

    Few seem to see the bigger picture...
    it doesn't matter at this time whether CO2 emissions need to be reduced or not.

    Changes in electricity and transport (80% of CO2 emissions) should be
    done anyway for very different advantages,
    including electricity bills that are lowered from opening up
    electricity grids to competition,
    that can also have smart meters set to automatically give the cheapest (and/or greenest) electricity at any time,
    which might also be powering some cars
    http://ceolas.net/#di1x

    The simple focus on the largely local electricity and transport sectors,
    http://ceolas.net/#cc1x
    avoids expensive meaningless emission trading (cap and trade) with its
    loopholes,
    avoids international tension arising out of trade with less regulated countries,
    avoids alienating people by telling them what Light Bulbs or TV sets
    they can or cannot use,
    and easily meets 2020/2030 emission targets.

    In 2020/2030 - if CO2 reduction is still seen as warranted - other
    industries can be involved.

    Otherwise, nothing has been lost.


    _______________________________________

    Understanding why currently proposed Emission Trading will not work

    Emission Trading (Cap and Trade)
    http://ceolas.net/#cce5x
    Basic Idea
    Offsets -- Tree Planting -- Manufacture Shift -- Fair Trading
    Allowances: Auctions + Hand-Outs -- Allowance Trading
    Companies: Business Stability + Cost
    In Conclusion

  • Comment number 4.

    I support the views of elizabeth in post 1.

    Has anyone calculated the carbon costs of this conference?

    Imagine the hundreds of air flights, train journies, taxi rides and cars. Imagine the elctricity supplied not only to the conference centre but to all of the hotel rooms. Imagine the costs of burning fuels to feed the delegates.

    Is there a proposal to offset these emissions? Or does it really matter? Will action on climate change make a difference? If so, how can they justify the conference?


  • Comment number 5.

    Are there question marks over the CRU's scientific work? Yes.

    Are there question marks about how it has handled its scientific data and engaged in public debate? Yes.

    Will the row affect Copenhagen? Yes.

    Will the UK government and climate change activists care?. No.


  • Comment number 6.

    I agree with Elizabeth #1
    Ray #4

    Though an "advantage" of these kind of gatherings,
    is that they also generate a mass-hysteria for a common cause.

    Like George Orwell’s Animal Farm book, where mass hysteria meant one pig
    overtrumping another in self-sacrificial willingness
    - except here it’s always someone else (not the politicians) who has
    to make the sacrifice…
    "We must all cut down to save the planet"

    Re Elizabeth on light bulbs,
    are you aware of the industrial politics behind that ban?
    http://www.ceolas.net/#li1ax

    Anyway, there is no energy shortage
    (given renewable/nuclear development possibilities, with CO2 emission limits set as deemed necessary)
    and consumers - not politicians - PAY for energy and how they wish to use it.
    Notice: If there WAS an energy shortage, its price rise would
    -- limit people using it anyway, and make renewable energy more attractive
    -- make energy efficient products more attractive to buy.
    No need to legislate for it.

    And since when do light bulbs, TV sets etc give out any CO2 gas?
    Not like cars.
    And cars are taxed.
    They could of course tax the bulbs, and lower the tax on energy efficient lighting.
    Government makes money on the reduced sales, and consumers keep choice.
    Taxes are unjustified, but better for all than bans.

  • Comment number 7.

    Added note to last comment
    about the unpublicised industrial politics behind the environmentally justified bans...
    http://www.ceolas.net/#li1ax

  • Comment number 8.

    Did anyone hear Milliband on Simon Mayo yesterday (Radio 5Live)?

    First caller, first question, "As a percentage, how much greenhouse gas is man made?"

    Milliband: "Well, er... um... the science is in".
    Caller: "You must've discussed it, as a percentage, how much greenhouse gas is man made?"
    Milliband: "Well... um... All of the C02, all of the CO2 is man made."

    The guy knows nothing, think about that for a while...

  • Comment number 9.

    But still no serious coverage of climategate.

    What do I mean?

    If we had emails demostrating the government had been up to no good - eg. the 'good day to bury news' email on 9/11 - we expect to see the text and extensive coverage. I can not recall any hesitation or legalastic smoke screen regarding that or many other 'private' emails etc you have published when there was a public interest.

    I still await any detailed coverage of the content - the actual words - of the climategate emails on the BBC. Certainly there is none on this site.

  • Comment number 10.

    The BBC certainly needs to clean up its act.

    Climate change has been happening for just how long? Well, ever since the Earth took shape. Is there any seriously hard evidence that man is influencing the present "change"? No. Does the BBC have some feet (on even one foot would do) in the "man made climate change is nonsense" camp? No.

    Copenhagen just proves that these "scientists", who have been making a decent living for quite a while, do not care enough about the problem to stop producing paper, stop flying all over the place, stop wasting computer energy on distorted facts, and stop kidding themselves and us that they know what is going on.

    It seems that although the finger is on that red "Panic Button", the situation is not serious enough to avoid the freebie in Copenhagen.

    Some crisis.

  • Comment number 11.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 12.

    Can the BBC please stop using misleading headlines, take this story and it's headline (retrieved @ 11:12 on 2009.12.08) This decade 'warmest on record', only later is it made clear that the 'record' is only the last 160 years [1], hardly a pin-head dot of history on any time-line of worlds climatic events. BBC, you are meant to be neutral and unbiased in your reporting of climate issues but you are far to ready to take the side of your politico masters - or that is how it seems. Climate change science is not a day facto, you should be challenging both sides of the debate, not just the 'refuseniks' and sceptics.

    [1] a time, 160 years ago, when the Themes used to freeze over, but 2000 years before the Romans were able to grow grape vines in northern England, so if anything the temperature graph is showing that the climate has been returning to a normal average over the last 200 years or so!

    As others have said, the BBC needs to clean up it's act, and if you really are concerned about CO2 emissions then you most certainly should not be decamping from TVC to Copenhagen as has been done...

  • Comment number 13.

    I agree with Boilerplated #11.

    Whether it is sloppiness or bias it is pretty shoddy.

    It just adds to the 'crying wolf' problem at the BBC surrounding this issue.

    Why not stick to facts. Keep the headlines accurate. This could potentially be a serious issue. Why not treat us with some respect otherwise when things get really bad we may not believe you…

  • Comment number 14.

    If the higher entity would pose a set of challenges for the administrate (and/or particular public service), to test its moral grounds, this would constitute the final failure.

  • Comment number 15.

    News at one on BBC1 today 8-12-2k9 reported live from Copenhagen. We were expecting a FULL and balanced piece, as is required by law in your charter. Instead all we got a very biased view based on TOTALLY discredited data and lies.

    " Warmest year on record " since records began 160 years ago, according to who ? What about all the REAL data that goes back much further, 100's and even 1000's of years which clearly show the true picture. We have had a Lot more warmer times in the past.

    The earth has actually been cooling for the last 10 years, NOT warming. You need to stop repeating other peoples lies and corrupt data, and start broadcasting accurate information from now on, as is your duty.

    Also you must interview people who really do know what is happening, and why etc etc. Lord Christopher Monkton is in Copenhagen, so why didn't you ensure that you spoke to him live on camera. You still have ample oppourtunity to do so, and to give him at least as much air time as you have the others.

    Either you have some hidden agenda against the truth, and/or you employ idiots. Whichever way you look at it, the BBC is there to provide the public with true information, and has to allow alternative views. Failure to do so, and quickly, is both unlawful and a crime against society.

    Please contact Lord Christopher Monkton, interview him, and broadcast it ASAP. Also you can continue to do so as often as you the others.

    Here's how to do it properly - http://rt.com/Best_Videos/2009-12-07/climate-change-warming-moncktonthe.html

    Plus more FACTS here - http://www.infowars.com/category/science-technology - http://prisonplanet.tv/

    Outraged,

    Spanner

    SpannerInTheWorks

  • Comment number 16.

    I would also like to add my agreement to post #12. We are in position where the monolith of AGW rests on the work of the few - CRU springs quickly to mind. If the IPCC and the media simply accept that there was no medieval warming or mini ice age on the basis of skewed records from a few tree rings in Siberia we are in serious trouble. Also this 160 years of warming, Is this ground only recordings or does it include satellite or does your journalist not care?

  • Comment number 17.

    I would also like to say something about Mary Hockaday's piece above. I like the fact that the BBC web pages now list the arguments made by sceptics. However, it is not even handed, many of the sceptics are also scientists yet this term is reserved for the counter arguments. And of course the format is here is the argument and this is why it is wrong.

    I do not understand why when the Mann hockey stick and the dendocron data from Siberia have been discredited that special graphical features are run elsewhere on the BBC site showing how the planet temp has changed over 800k years which the big swings of the past 1000 years. I feel there is a lot of sloppiness over the science at the BBC.

  • Comment number 18.

    When those claiming leadership call for austerity measures for the masses but in turn demand all the luxuries they believe comes with their exhaulted positions, when they turn up to a conference in private luxury transport to stay in secure and oppulant surrounding, ultimately to decide on how they will make the sheeple work harder and bleed even more for their leader's entertainment it should be the media's role to question these actions and attitudes.

    The BBC, especially given it's unique position and it's charter, is wholly failing in it's duty. Shame on you all.

  • Comment number 19.

    I see BBC news is now running the Met Office Doomsday scenarios of emissions heating the panet to boiling point in the future. Again starting its trend from 1850 I presume and ignoring natural cycles of warming and cooling. This is simply given a page without journalistic comment.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/8394886.stm

  • Comment number 20.

    #17

    I have also visited this BBC page tucked away under all the other pro-human climate change stuff. I agree with you that it is not a balanced picture. The BBC has not dealt with the recent increase in computer power utilised by the CRU at NASA, which is an attempt to better understand the chemistry involved in the atmosphere, especially aerosols. The clear inference from this is that existing data is questionable at the very least, not to mention the computer models used.

    A very dangerous game is being played out by some very dangerous people, not least because scientists will need our trust whatever else happens in the next ten years and I am one person who will not trust them until they start telling the truth. BBC please note as a messenger of these dangerous fanatics.

  • Comment number 21.

    Has even one reporter from BBC or anywhere asked even one attendee even once what role the growing population of the world plays in climate change and what should be done to reduce population? I doubt it.

  • Comment number 22.

    Re: Met office data for last 160 years and related doomsday BBC news web pages. Has it not occurred to a Beeb journalist that as the WMO data comes from at least 2 of the sources (NASA/NOOA and CRU) involved in dodgy emails on data that a useful counter balance might be to interview the chap who has been pressing both without success to release their data, Steve McIntyre. As I understand it his thesis is that world temperatures have over the past 1000 years have made a U shape or would that upset Prof Jones at CRU too much?

  • Comment number 23.

    You are right the science is complex and it is disputed. Even the METs recently released data has not gone unquestioned - see http://www.jgc.org/blog/

    It does look like these temp sets are tainted with the same tweeking brush as CRU - or maybe its just the same fudged data?

    The BBCs coverage on climate change has been dire and I am, after many years of relying on the bbc, radio and online, now visiting other news sites to get my daily news fix. It is as tho' you are all on a different planet (warmed or not).

    The CRU leaked (not stolen - they were clearly gathered from inside the university and over some years) emails means Copenhagen is now redundant - and very sadly too as we were hoping for some progress. There is no chance of that now, whatever fine words Obama makes at the end of it - it is dead in the water.

    Our only hope is to have all the raw data in the public domain and let anyone who wants to replicate the models that have been done - it surely cant take too long and it would show everyone what the truth is.

    Then we can make some progress.

  • Comment number 24.

    There is one assumption that is being seriously overlooked! Those who preach that the end of the world is nigh UNLESS we cut emissions by 20% or 30% or whatever, are assuming that if these reductions are implemented, then the climate would change to 'normal' _ maybe it would, but scientists also know that it would take 'hundreds of years, possibly millenia' for any 'positive' impact to be felt. Young people especially should carefully ponder the implications.

    The 'believers' are making promises that they cannot deliver upon!

  • Comment number 25.

    The problems have all been caused by consumerism, for which we are all responsible. The only thing which will make any difference is a universal change in personal consumption habits. Some of the quotes from Climate Consortium members are breathtakingly self-interested (see http://hermit.jimx.org/2009/12/ ), and inspire little confidence in the process currently underway in Copenhagen.

    Blaming the bankers or the politicians or industry fatcats or the immigrant next door are all weaselly cop-outs.

    *We* are the ones buying this stuff, and thus we are the problem. We stop buying stuff, and the problem ends.

  • Comment number 26.

    #25. At 11:30pm on 08 Dec 2009, TheHermit wrote:

    "The problems have all been caused by consumerism, for which we are all responsible. [../cut/..]"

    Total tosh, 'consumerism' (except, possibly, deforestation...) hasn't caused the rise in CO2 and thus global temperature, nature has.

    "*We* are the ones buying this stuff, and thus we are the problem. We stop buying stuff, and the problem ends."

    Actually, this is probably nearer the mark than the "TheHermit" realises (and some would want to be known), this is the real eco lefts agenda, since Socialism and Communism failed in eastern europe the basic ideology has been renamed and wrapped up within 'climate-change' issues...

  • Comment number 27.

    I've read that several leading climate sceptics have held their own ‘alternative’ conference to the IPCC in Copenhagen, where they also then managed to disagree amongst themselves as to the cause of the warming in the 20th century, each arguing for their own hobby-horse idea.

    And they say the golden age of comedy is behind us. Priceless.

  • Comment number 28.

    #27. At 11:52am on 09 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    "I've read that several leading climate sceptics have held their own ‘alternative’ conference to the IPCC in Copenhagen, where they also then managed to disagree amongst themselves as to the cause of the warming in the 20th century, each arguing for their own hobby-horse idea."

    But isn't that the point, there is no one single cause for 'Global Warming', people will disagree - it's as natural as climate change is!

    "And they say the golden age of comedy is behind us. Priceless."

    Indeed, especially when people, either through gross ignorance or due to wilful misrepresentation, miss the point...

  • Comment number 29.

    The breeze, the draft pinned to Danish host and Chinese 'investors' gives a fine insight on the 'grand distribution' behind it all, it also shows the need to give a little sovereignty for a little security, wonder what ol' Ben would say about that one.

    This rebranded and repacked, almost approved quest for hegemony is in line with preceding efforts, to the bone. New age colonialism of a sort... which, interestingly and not, yet again and very clearly shows to those who would believe in reformation of treasonous murderous administrate, that treasonous murderous administrate cannot be reformed.

    Do tell, how lovely it would be if we'd have a public service that actually serves the public it feeds on.

  • Comment number 30.

    ‘But isn't that the point, there is no one single cause for 'Global Warming', people will disagree - it's as natural as climate change is!’ 28. Boilerplated.

    Oh so easy to say.

    But the sceptics need to firmly identify and evidence the mechanism[s] behind this alleged natural cycle[s]. (Saying “because I say so” isn’t evidence or building a case.)

    If there is no forcing[s] of some sort, there will be no change in global energy balance. The balance is changing, so natural or otherwise its cause[s] needs to be identified and firmly evidenced.

    Secondly the sceptics need to account for the speed of the change in the past century. Coming out of the last ice age the N. Hemisphere only warmed at the rate of around 1 degree C per 1,000 yrs.
    The rate of over half a degree C in the last century is much, much faster than is shown in the entire record for the ice-ages and interglacials (caused by Milankovitch cycles).

    Thirdly, the sceptics need to come up with an explanation for why a 35% increase in the second most important greenhouse gas would NOT affect the global temperature? Where is the sceptic community's model, theory or case that CO2 does not affect global temperature?

    If the sceptic leadership are arguing amongst themselves then they're a long way from achieving this, probably because they can’t. They can’t even convince each other of the cause far less the mainstream scientific community or public at large.

    The mainstream climate science community has provided a well-developed, internally consistent theory that explains and accounts for the warming during the 20th century and made an honest attempt, based on the known physical properties of greenhouse gasses and of what is known of earth’s climate systems, to predict what could happen if GHGs rise significantly further.

  • Comment number 31.

    @jayfurneaux "Secondly the sceptics need to account for the speed of the change in the past century"

    Well... didn't the last ice age kick in in the space of about 1-10 years...?

  • Comment number 32.

    We are currently in our long term weather like in the fall season is in our typical year , If the leaves are turning their color and there is a nip in the air and birds are gathering in flocks you can bet that winter is not far of f. Any one who cannot read the longer term planetary signs that a more extended period of cooler weather is ahead is blind to the natural cycles of this planet. Yes warming will resume again but more probably in 2-3 decades.
    Ocean SST’s are declining
    The ocean heat content rise has leveled off and is dropping
    AMO has peaked and is likely to go again negative or cool by January 2010 for an extended cool period now [typically 20 -35 years but it can fluctuate considerably]
    WINTER NAO is headed for more negative periods like the 1960’s to 1980’s where 17 out 30 winters had negative NAO. In the 1960’s, 8 out of 10 winters had a negative NAO,
    PDO is heading for 30 year cool cycle and will go negative by early 2010
    A La Nina is possible in 2010 and more frequently during the next few decades
    Lunar- solar tidal forcing clustering is predicted to grow as in past cool periods [more mixing of ocean surface levels due to more significant tidal forcing]
    Solar minimum continues and next 2 cycles are likely to be low in terms of sunspots
    Solar wind is at a 50 year low level
    What the AGW/IPCC supporting scientists are telling us that there will only be constant summer after the fall season. The world is in for a big surprise if they buy into this .

  • Comment number 33.

    #30

    It is sad to see people distort figures as badly as IPCC researchers have done and even worse to know that their computer models are chock full of programming gaffs including basic precision errors, false statistical algorithms, and short cut graphical symbolism of data sets. The 160 year old records are NOT global but concentrate on areas where there were significant interests in weather forecasts - large populated areas and/or transportation routes, mainly shipping. So just how reliable is this stuff, even of recent origin? The answer is "Not very reliable".

    What we can glean from history is that natural cycles, of which there are many, give several short term peaks or troughs alongside the overall trends. These overall trends take years to decipher, not someone dipping in and concluding that x years is enough. Who determines what "x" is? Our longevity is around eighty years hardly long enough to observe traumatic changes in environment unless you have spent your whole life observing that environment and understand how nature works locally. When a river bed dried up a tribe would move to new river and so on, not go into a flat panic about not burning a fire to keep the wilder animals at bay!

    Flat earth revisits Copenhagen?

  • Comment number 34.

    ‘Well... didn't the last ice age kick in in the space of about 1-10 years...?’ Comment 31.

    Less than that according to this (I’m assuming you’re referring to the Younger Dryas).
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/11/091130112421.htm

    But the cause of that is likely to have been sudden and major; two leading contenders for explaining that are the sudden influx of fresh water from Lake Agassiz resulting in the (temporary) shutdown of the shutdown of the North Atlantic part of the thermohaline circulation or a comet strike over Northern America. But recovery from it was slow.

    On a regional scale regions have switched between long periods of drought and moister periods reasonably abruptly; but quite a lot is now known about variability in ocean oscillations and their effects on precipitation patterns over land (it has obvious importance today) and these also fail to explain the warming of the past century.

    ‘What the AGW/IPCC supporting scientists are telling us that there will only be constant summer after the fall season.’ Comment 32.

    An endless summer sounds quite attractive at this time of year doesn’t it?
    But that’s not my reading of the IPCC Impact Assessment Report - even a rise of six degrees won’t abolish winter worldwide; it’s earth we’re discussing, not Narnia.

    e.g.
    Dry regions are projected to get drier, and wet regions are projected to get wetter: "By mid-century, annual average river runoff and water availability are projected to increase by 10-40% at high latitudes and in some wet tropical areas, and decrease by 10-30% over some dry regions at mid-latitudes and in the dry tropics..."
    Drought-affected areas will become larger.
    Heavy precipitation events are very likely to become more common and will increase flood risk.
    Water supplies stored in glaciers and snow cover will be reduced over the course of the century.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_Fourth_Assessment_Report#Projections

    The full report is available as a PDF if you Google for it.

  • Comment number 35.

    #30. At 2:19pm on 09 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    ‘But isn't that the point, there is no one single cause for 'Global Warming', people will disagree - it's as natural as climate change is!’ 28. Boilerplated.

    Oh so easy to say.

    But the sceptics need to firmly identify and evidence the mechanism[s] behind this alleged natural cycle[s]. (Saying “because I say so” isn’t evidence or building a case.)


    No, that is what the 'climate change' pushers should have to do (rather than resorting to abuse by calling anyone who doubts their opinions as 'Flat Earthers' etc., climate has been changing for millions of years, otherwise we would not be talking about "Ice ages" or periods of exceptional warmth, the natural history of the ice shelves, the earth a rocks etc.

  • Comment number 36.

    #34. At 4:27pm on 09 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IPCC_Fourth_Assessment_Report#Projections

    The full report is available as a PDF if you Google for it."


    Now known to be based on incorrect or 'tampered with' data, thus (at face value) not worth the paper it gets printed out on...

  • Comment number 37.

    No, that is what the 'climate change' pushers should have to do (rather than resorting to abuse by calling anyone who doubts their opinions as 'Flat Earthers' etc. Comment 35

    I don't. I'm sure there's a lot of 'climate agnostics' trying to make sense of a mass of conflicting information and claims.

    It would also help if those seeking serious debate didn't attempt to smear people that honestly have at the conclusion that increasing GHGs is likely to increase the temperature of the atmosphere (and produce climate change) as hoaxers, charlatans, part of a global conspiracy and so on.

    'Climate has been changing for millions of years, otherwise we would not be talking about "Ice ages" or periods of exceptional warmth, the natural history of the ice shelves, the earth a rocks etc.' Comment 35

    Agreed. And a great deal is known about these changes and many books written about them.
    As an introduction I suggest 'Ice, Mud and Blood' by C. Turvey; a summary of key discoveries by scientists about past climate change.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ice-Mud-Blood-Lessons-Climates/dp/0230553826/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1260398854&sr=1-1
    I also recommend the books of William James Burroughs and Brian Fagan.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=William+Burroughs+climate&x=0&y=0
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_ss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=brian+fagan&x=0&y=0
    There are many others.

    'Now known to be based on incorrect or 'tampered with' data, thus (at face value) not worth the paper it gets printed out on...' Comment 36

    The IPPC report synthesised the findings of thousands of scientific papers, it wasn't based on one graph by one scientist. It's always dangerous taking a specific and inflating it into a sweeping generalisations.

    However, on the subject of misleading graphs, it turns out that Lord Lawson's new 'sceptical' think-tank, the 'Global Warming Policy Foundation', has a graph on every page of its website (claiming to represent average global temperatures over the last eight years, from 2001 to 2008) that has now (in the past few days) proved to be both wrong and misleading.
    The GWPF can't provide an adequate explanation for this occurrence.
    http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2009/12/climate-sceptics-get-it-wrong-1.html
    Follow up.
    http://timesonline.typepad.com/science/2009/12/climate-sceptics-still-getting-it-wrong.html

    I could of course say this now means that all sceptical arguments can't be taken at face value...

    It would help if people could put aside prejudice, ideological knee-jerk reactions, stereotyping etc and actually look at the science and make real efforts to understand the fields involved.

  • Comment number 38.

    #37 ("jayfurneaux"), why can't you just acept that climate change is a natural occurrence? Please explain how the Romans were able to grow grape vines in northern England 2,000 years ago if the average temperature then wasn't higher back than, why did the Themes regularly freeze over if the average temperature 150 plus years ago (long before many of the so called CO2 producers were used or even known about) wasn't much cooler than it is now. In 2000 there were serious floods in York (and across much of the UK) - I'm sure people will remember them - we were told then that it proved the claims about climate-change because they were the worst floods in the York area for 400 years, great, so what caused the floods of the 1600s then as it sure wasn't CO2 imitations from industry or motor cars...

    It's not the climate-change sceptics that are being blinded by the science in all this...

  • Comment number 39.

    #38. Yes, it's known that climate changes; on decadal, centennial, millennial and billenial time scales.
    A lot of unsung research goes on into this. (Not least by archaeologists, geologists, astronomers, oceanographers, historians etc. Many disciplines feed into the IPCC reports.)

    Many of the mechanisms behind these changes and are known and research into them continues.
    e.g. Milankovitch cycles (orbital variations), comet strikes, volcanism, the oscillations of high/low pressure zones over oceans caused by changing sea temperatures, the uplift of mountain chains, by continental drift, changes in plant cover, variations in solar output, changes in earth’s atmospheric composition, changes in land use, changes to albedo, human habitation patterns and so on.

    All these fail to offer a convincing explanation as to the warming of the 20th century; and they have been investigated. Many disciplines feed into the IPCC reports.

    To ask you some questions back.
    Why do you believe - when:
    [a] the properties of greenhouse gasses when interacting with infrared radiation are understood and uncontroversial in science and
    [b] Most credible sceptics accept the 'greenhouse effect' exists.

    that adding greatly to the amount of GHGs in the atmosphere is also not a factor in climate change, past or future?

    Do you not believe (if not why?) in all the research that has gone into producing the Periodic Table over the past two centuries? Are the properties of atoms and molecules genuine?

    Do greenhouse gasses exist or not?

    Why wont increasing GHG concentrations in the atmosphere affect earth's temperature (and climate) in the future?

    PS. I'll try & find time to look in tomorrow. I work and now need to sleep.

  • Comment number 40.

    #39

    My understanding of GG forcing effects is that CO2 levels are not linked to changes in surface temperatures as demonstrated from ice core studies where surface cooling has accompanied high CO2 levels.

    Roy Spencer, who has studied climate sensitivity for years, says the IPCC science is immature and the models being used are scientifically incorrect. That should be enough to at least doubt the impact of CO2 on temperature and look for something more substantial to convince us that we are causing global warming, if indeed we are.

  • Comment number 41.

    Hi Angel. #40

    “ice core studies where surface cooling has accompanied high CO2 levels.”

    Can you be more specific?
    Can you give a date (BP) or name to this glacial period with high CO2 concentrations?
    A link to a paper[s] or article[s] etc referring to this would also be useful.

    All I’ve seen of Antarctic ice core data shows that CO2 concentrations are low in the cold glacial times, approx 190 ppm), and high in the warm interglacials (approx 280 ppm. Orbital variations (Milankovitch cycles) are widely accepted as the cause of earth both entering into ice ages and recovering from them. CO2 is an amplifier or feedback mechanism in this process.

  • Comment number 42.

    #39. At 00:45am on 10 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    "#38. Yes, it's known that climate changes; on decadal, centennial, millennial and billenial time scales."

    So do you accept that we are seeing climatic cycling and - on the geo-physical evidence - the world is most likely returning to norm after a period of cooler (mini ice-age) climatic conditions.

    "Do greenhouse gasses exist or not?"

    "Greenhouse gases" have existed since the beginnings of the Earth, or at least since the first micro-organisms...

    Man has not created or caused Greenhouse gases, all we have done is give them a (catch all, buzz-word) name.

  • Comment number 43.

    Forget the discredited 'climate change' scam - Copenhagen should be discussing globally enforceable birth control laws, and planting trees.

    Anything else is just re-arranging the deckchairs on the Titanic.

  • Comment number 44.

    ‘So do you accept that we are seeing climatic cycling?’ #42

    I accept that decadal climate variability (ENSO, AMO, PDO etc) carries on regardless in the background; but the cause of the warning in the past century? No, I don’t see climatic cycling as a plausible, firmly evidenced mechanism.

    You need to account for the speed of the change in the past century. Coming out of the last ice age the N. Hemisphere only warmed at the rate of around 1 degree C per 1,000 yrs. The rate of over half a degree C in the last century is much, much faster than is shown in the entire record for the ice-ages and interglacials.

    Then you need to come up with an explanation for why a 35% increase in the second most important greenhouse gas would NOT affect the global temperature? Where is the sceptic community's model, theory or case that CO2 does not affect global temperature?

    ‘Man has not created or caused Greenhouse gases’. #42

    All you’re saying is that humans didn’t create the atoms and molecules that exist in this universe, gosh.

    You seem to accept that GHGs have known physical properties that trap heat and warm the atmosphere.

    What mankind is doing is releasing into the atmosphere very large quantities of GHGs that have been trapped in fossil fuels, you can’t deny that.

    (This is new to our planet BTW, never before, over billions of years, has a species appeared that burnt large amounts of coal, oil, wood and peat for energy.)

    Logically it follows that adding to the concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere will add to the heat trapped in earth’s atmosphere. Do you accept that?
    -------------------------------
    I’ve a busy day ahead of me; I’ll look back in here tonight.

  • Comment number 45.

    #43. At 10:47am on 10 Dec 2009, Enuf_Zed wrote:

    "Forget the discredited 'climate change' scam - Copenhagen should be discussing globally enforceable birth control laws, and planting trees."

    How does one enforce Birth Control laws, if a (once, and some say, still) totalitarian country like China could not do so in past years how will the UN - for that is who it would fall to - do so for the whole world. Actually, nature is a most effective controller of population...

  • Comment number 46.

    What makes me even more suspicious of this BBC campaign and the rhetoric surrounding the Copenhagen summit is not just the problem – if there is one. It is also the solution which is a very left-wing remedy.

    A wholesale transfer of assets from richer countries to poorer countries and a downscaling of First World industry seems to be a Trojan horse for the communism and socialism that has failed so many times around the world.

    If there is a problem why doesn’t Copenhagen simply agree that every country increase tax on carbon emitting processes/products using the same rate for everybody? This may be more realistic and do-able than the left wing stuff put forward by the BBC and other left-wing/liberal organisations which will never happen. If there IS a problem, this insistence on using utopian left wing models will lead to inaction, which will be unforgivable.

    For what it is worth the UK should withdraw from Copenhagen and set up a committee of MPs who should appoint scientists that we trust and start the process of finding out what the real problem is. This should be done away from quangos like Greenpeace and the eu and other hangers on like campaigning journalists and ngos. Democratically elected people should be allowed to get to the truth on our behalf. Perhaps then we can have a Copenhagen II and do things properly and with less uncertainty and less interference.

  • Comment number 47.

    44. At 11:24am on 10 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    "but the cause of the warning in the past century?"

    What warming, only if you take only the last 160 years data as your base point, if you take the last 10.000 years you seem that there has been very little warming - and what there has been is as a result of returning to a higher base point norm.

    "What mankind is doing is releasing into the atmosphere very large quantities of GHGs that have been trapped in fossil fuels, you can’t deny that."

    If you call TWO PARTS PER HUNDRED (2%) very large quantities then you really do have a wrapped sense of scale (or don't understand percentages!)... Also, do remember that the largest (by volume) of the GHGs, and thus a major contributor to any GW, is water vapour, nothing what so ever to do with fossil fuels.

    "This is new to our planet BTW, never before, over billions of years, has a species appeared that burnt large amounts of coal, oil, wood and peat for energy."

    Total tosh, natural bush fires were probably MORE prevalent before man 'civilised the world... Do remember that most of the worlds GHGs come from geo-physical or natural life cycles events.

    "Logically it follows that adding to the concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere will add to the heat trapped in earth’s atmosphere. Do you accept that?"

    That is assuming that these "man made" GHG emissions (2%) are actually having such a detrimental effect, all we have as proof is (now) discredited/questionable scientific models and data.

    I do wish that people would leave the emotive buzz-words and carefully crafted sound bites behind, and as for images of Polar Bears falling off a melting iceberg - do those who use such emotive images really disbelieve Darwinism, and they call the sceptic 'Flat Earthers'...

    As I said, it's not the sceptics who are being blind to the science here.

  • Comment number 48.

    #41

    Roy Spencer disagrees with the feedback mechanisms that IPCC researchers use, and he has considerable expertise in the subject. He says that cloud cover is actually a part of the "cooling mechanism" and that the cycles we are seeing now (changes in CO2 levels) are regular and almost insignificantly affected by man made fossil fuel burn.

    Examination of the temperature data of the last and prior glaciations from NOAA as determined from Vostok ice cores reveals that temperature trends reversed direction irrespective of carbon dioxide level. It is suggested that climate sensitivity is much more involved (and unknown) than the IPCC have allowed for, and that is why they are coming up with "doomsday" data. There is so much doubt that one wonders what these anthropogenic climate change guys stand to lose if they are proved wrong. Money at a guess.

    Roy Spencer devotes considerable effort to putting right the attack on sceptics, clearly outlining his evidence and his convictions. He is not mincing his words and has much credible support. And he does all this for "love".

  • Comment number 49.

    #48. There are problems with Roy Spencer, not least that he supports creationist 'Intelligent Design', that is opposed to evolution.
    Creationism is the antithesis of science, so Spencer's credibility isn't high.
    http://theevolutioncrisis.org.uk/testimony2.php
    and: http://www.tcsdaily.com/article.aspx?id=080805I
    He's very much an outsider's outsider in science. His opinions on climate also don't have 'much credible support',

    As for his opinions on cloud cover I'll simply just post a link to a rebuttal so readers can get both sides:
    http://www.thecre.com/quality/2008/20080619_quality.html

    As for your claims that: ' Vostok ice cores reveals that temperature trends reversed direction' I'll direct readers here:
    http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn11659-climate-myths-ice-cores-show-co2-increases-lag-behind-temperature-rises-disproving-the-link-to-global-warming.html
    and here: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/co2-in-ice-cores/


    More on Spencer here:
    http://www.squidoo.com/roy-spencer

    #47. "if you take the last 10.000 years you seem that there has been very little warming - and what there has been is as a result of returning to a higher base point norm." #47.

    By ' higher base point norm' I think your referring to the period 7,000 to 5,000 years ago known as the climatic optimum. Though you omit the mechanism that both caused it and is supposedly returning us to that state. The climatic optimum was due to orbital variations

    NOAA has a page on the cause of the climatic optimum here.
    "In summary, the mid-Holocene, roughly 6,000 years ago, was generally warmer than today, but only in summer and only in the northern hemisphere. More over, we clearly know the cause of this natural warming, and know without doubt that this proven "astronomical" climate forcing mechanism cannot be responsible for the warming over the last 100 years."
    http://www.ncdc.noaa.gov/paleo/globalwarming/holocene.html

    "Total tosh, natural bush fires were probably MORE prevalent before man 'civilised the world..."

    Wildfires have existed as long as there has been plant cover and lighting, but otherwise your statement is a sweeping generalisation that does nothing to show comparability with today's emissions; there's the no small matter of evidencing it.

    I do know about the role of water vapour, but the amount the atmosphere can hold is dependent upon the atmosphere's temperature;' its role is as a feedback. (The greater the temp, the greater the amount of water vapour etc)
    Also water vapour has a very short atmospheric life (less than two weeks) before it precipitates out.

    I haven't forgotten that most of the CO2 added to the atmosphere each year comes from nature, (as for wildfires, Australia, California and southern Europe seem very prone to them at the present) but we’ve added about 520 billion tons of carbon to the atmosphere so far, and are adding a further estimated 9 billion tons of carbon a year.
    (I also think most people's common sense will realize given the number of cars and power stations in the world that our use of fossil fuels isn't insignificant, it is also becoming much harder to find new coal and oil fields as existing supplies are diminished.)

    You may think the amount of GHGs that humans add is insignificant, but the natural carbon cycle is used to reabsorbing (into the oceans, by photosynthesis, chemical weathering etc) only a certain amount.
    By adding to the atmosphere we're overloading nature's ability to cycle carbon back into natural sinks. Hence the rise in concentrations.

    Before industrialization, the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was about 280 parts per million. By 1958, the concentration of carbon dioxide had increased to around 315 parts per million, and by 2007, it had risen to about 383 parts per million.

    Above you avoided answering my question - that as GHGs are known to absorb infra-red heat it follows that increasing the concentrations in the atmosphere would increase the amount of warmth the atmosphere contains:
    "adding to the concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere will add to the heat trapped in earth’s atmosphere. Do you accept that?"

    I think you do know that they will, but don't want to admit it; possibly even to yourself.

  • Comment number 50.

    Boilerplated,
    "If you call TWO PARTS PER HUNDRED (2%) very large quantities then you really do have a wrapped sense of scale (or don't understand percentages!)..."
    To what does this "2%" refer?

  • Comment number 51.

    #49

    I am not sure that the pro-anthropogenic climate change group should be aiming to do character assassinations in trying to debunk opponents given their recent record.

    And isn't straight science looking for "god matter" right now as we have this debate on whether or not human beings are about to be consigned to history?

    Perhaps you should deal with Roy Spencer's science and think about his track record with NASA. At least he is trying to understand what is going on without jumping to conclusions!

  • Comment number 52.

    Re comments @ 51:

    Well said Angle.

  • Comment number 53.

    50. At 00:57am on 11 Dec 2009, RedGreenInBlue wrote:

    "To what does this "2%" refer?"

    The calculated total CO2 emissions attributable to human activities, such as intentional burning of fossil fuels, that is against the 98% that comes from natural events, such as the direct release of trapped CO2 from geo-physical events such as volcanic activity or the natural (indirect and gradual) release of dissolved CO2 from the oceans sea water - the source of which is most likely to be the totally un-monitored deep sea events such as seabed volcanic activity - all of which have been (conveniently?) forgotten about by the climate change 'scientists' and lobby groups.

  • Comment number 54.

    This will obviously get no coverage at Copenhagen nor I imagine will Richard Black or anyone else at the Beeb read it but a fantastic assessment of how Mann/Jones (and and Folland at Hadley - which is the Met isn't it?) like to cook.

    http://climateaudit.org/2009/12/10/ipcc-and-the-trick/#more-9483

  • Comment number 55.

    #52

    Just to add to this thoughtful comment on scale, we tend to think about naturally "violent" events when measuring nature's input, but what of all the naturally "non-violent" events that have a very profound effect on weather, rather like the subtle variation of the Atlantic jet stream this last year? Did it not create a very different weather pattern for the UK?

    Whether or not Roy Spencer's analysis of our problem is more scientifically "correct" is not the issue at stake here. What is at stake is whether not we have "correctly" identified man's influence on climate, and whether or not we are seeing "natural" events that are "coincidental" to growth in burning fossil fuels. I do not believe that we know enough of the issues that effect such matters and, as boilerplated intimates, there is simply too much that we are ignorant about to really risk all in thinking we know what nature is up to.

    And we are risking all on our clumsy renditions of "What Nature Did For Us" if we are wrong.

  • Comment number 56.

    It saddens me to see the UK Met Office taking sides on "anthropogenic climate change" when all it has is evidence of "climate change". In forecasting 2010 as the warmest on record it is, of course, wishing to add to its inability to make long range forecasts accurately - it claimed 2007 would be the warmest on record, and also that the summer just gone would be a "BBQ summer". 2007 isn't even in the top five and we know what a disaster last summer was. And the Met Office didn't see the deluge that descended on Cumbria recently in its long term forecast did it?

    This demonstrates how far politicisation has gone, invading matters that need to be unravelled properly and not because there is promise of "favour" by being amongst the "popular". Sadly the Met Office seems to have thrown meteorology out with the barff water.

  • Comment number 57.

    Inferring that only 2% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is human made is disingenuous.

    The truth is far from it. Since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution the CO2 content has risen from around 275 parts per million (ppm) to 385ppm today, an increase of over 37%.
    http://www.honoluluadvertiser.com/article/20091124/BREAKING01/311240010/Carbon-dioxide-emissions-near-record-levels-at-Mauna-Loa-Observatory

    CO2 levels are now the highest they've been in the past two million years.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2009/06/090618-co2-highest-carbon-dioxide.html

    Since the last ice age until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained approx 275 parts per million of CO2. Parts per million is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules to all of the molecules in the atmosphere.

    275 ppm CO2 is a useful amount - without some CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for humans to inhabit. (Minus18 degrees Celsius.)

    Beginning in the 18th century, humans began to burn coal and gas and oil to produce energy and goods. The amount of carbon in the atmosphere began to rise, at first slowly and now more quickly. Many of the activities we do every day result in emitting carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases into the atmosphere. We're taking millions of year's worth of carbon, stored beneath the earth as fossil fuels, and releasing it into the atmosphere.
    Now the planet has 385 parts per million CO2 - and this number is rising by about 2 parts per million every year.

    The fact remains that the greenhouse effect is real, despite the fact that it is produced by a small amount of GHGs. Sceptics often try and ignore that fact (it's pretty difficult to deny it outright).

    Increases to those CO2 concentrations will have an effect on temperature; even small changes in temperatures, on land or sea, can have quite large impacts on earth's climate systems. The El Nino/La Nina (ENSO) phenomena demonstrates that.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/El_Ni%C3%B1o-Southern_Oscillation

    Humans, plants and animals survived the ice ages and can exist in some of the harshest climates on earth; very few places have no human activity at all. Even some of the hottest and most arid deserts have some seasonal human activity at least, even the Atacama. Only Antarctica (which also has one of the most inhospitable and arid deserts on earth) seems to have resisted permanent human colonisation (so far), but is not devoid of life.

    The earth has no ideal climate. It has had particular climates during epochs and periods to which organisms adapted (or not).

    I guess if you live in the northern latitudes you’d want some more sunny days. If you live further south, say in eastern Africa, you’d like some more rainfall. Your answer will depend on where you live.

    Although earth’s climate has changed many times in the past, the key factor has been the speed (rate) of change. Periods of rapid change in earth’s past have been immensely disruptive and often resulted in species extinction and major changes to the distribution and organisation of human societies.

    Humans have now moved into and populated all area that are habitable on the planet. Any climate change is going to affect large numbers of people; by altering amounts of precipitation, water supplies, agricultural productivity, species that can live in a region and so on.

    The most disruptive periods of climate change in the past have been those where the changes were relatively abrupt, with too short a timescale for species or societies to adequately adapt.

    Arguments put forward by the 'sceptics' above are a mixture of vague generalisations, saloon bar assertions, un-substantiated and unfounded statements and wishful thinking.
    e.g. "most likely to be the totally un-monitored deep sea events such as seabed volcanic activity"; - if it's unmonitored how do you know it happens at all?

    Those interested in actually following the science might want to bookmark a site such as sciencedaily - and visit it regularly.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/news/earth_climate/climate/

  • Comment number 58.

    SETTING GOALS FOR ACHIEVEMENT ....
    * Defining 100% Confidence & meeting achievable goals in an "infinitely" variable system is the usual F.E.A.(Finite Element Analysis) challenge.
    The BBC should be slapping its' wrist here.
    How long have the BBC known about the BENEFITS of F.E.A.?
    There really is Climate of CONFIDENCE needed in our Experts.
    Politicians must now realise that we created EXPERTS-FOR-THE-BENEFIT.
    Should we be suspicious of these Experts?
    No.
    Are any of these Experts out to pollute?
    No.
    Then they can only BENEFIT.
    It's time to put the World into the hands of the modern day WIZARDS-FOR-THE-BENEFIT.
    Now go & have a cuppa-for-the-benefit.

  • Comment number 59.

    @Boilerplated:

    At 10:39am on 09 Dec 2009, Boilerplated wrote:

    "Total tosh, 'consumerism' (except, possibly, deforestation...) hasn't caused the rise in CO2 and thus global temperature, nature has..."

    Bit of a 'total tosh' purveyor yourself, by the sound of it. Or maybe you're living on a different planet.

    Have a look here:

    http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/co2_human.html#fossil

    ...stats from that well-known hotbed of the 'eco-left', the US EPA.

    "...since Socialism and Communism failed in eastern europe the basic ideology has been renamed and wrapped up within 'climate-change' issues..."

    Socialism and Communism both depend on industrialisation in exactly the same way Capitalism does. The biggest Communist country left is China, and between you and me, I don't see any evidence of them repackaging climate change as some sort of manifesto for world domination.

    Whenever crises occur, vested interests, whether left, right or just plain barmy, tend to subvert their manifestations to support their particular credo's. But the science seems pretty clear about the increase in CO2 emissions, and their causes. And as jayfurneaux says:

    "Then you need to come up with an explanation for why a 35% increase in the second most important greenhouse gas would NOT affect the global temperature? Where is the sceptic community's model, theory or case that CO2 does not affect global temperature?".

    This is surely the idealogically-neutral crux of the matter. Given that the massive and relatively instantaneous increase in CO2 emissions are directly caused by industrialisation, which itself is the root cause of and response to consumerism, it would seem like a no-brainer to make a personal choice to reduce one's consumption 'footprint'.

    Always assuming that one is looking for ways to take action at a personal level in the first place - we could, of course, leave it to the politicians and business leaders we all trust so much...

  • Comment number 60.

    #57. At 11:41pm on 11 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    "Inferring that only 2% of the CO2 in the atmosphere is human made is disingenuous."

    No, it';s the uncomfortable truth that people like you don't want to hear because it blows your assertions apart, why, because people like you have totally forgotten about (some might say hidden) natural undersea CO2 emissions etc.

    "CO2 levels are now the highest they've been in the past two million years."

    Even if that is true were is the proof, not a 'model' that can be fiddled or miss understood, that these higher levels are due to man and not nature - were is the raw data that proves what you say, those who do allow raw data to be seen always have a totally different explanation for why there is an apparent increase in CO2 levels, why?

    You really do need to take the blinkers off...

  • Comment number 61.

    59. At 06:15am on 12 Dec 2009, TheHermit wrote:

    59. At 06:15am on 12 Dec 2009, TheHermit wrote:

    "Boilerplated:

    "Total tosh, 'consumerism' (except, possibly, deforestation...) hasn't caused the rise in CO2 and thus global temperature, nature has..."

    Bit of a 'total tosh' purveyor yourself, by the sound of it. Or maybe you're living on a different planet."


    Whilst you're another purveyor of the lies who thinks that natural geo-physical history started 160 years ago and that we are monitoring all such activity even though we know not for were the earth's crust is allowing such emissions to be released into the depths of the oceans etc.

    Just waiting for the first climate-change fanatic to suggest that the sceptics be burnt at the stake...

  • Comment number 62.

    #8. Dave Ware

    There's nothing quite as funny as politicians and journalists trying to discuss science. Unfortunately, the joke goes a bit sour when you realise that these are the people who make decisions and form opinions...

  • Comment number 63.

    #60 "Because people like you have totally forgotten about (some might say hidden) natural undersea CO2 emissions etc."

    Umm, you know, evidence? Building a case for this? You're not exactly being convincing here. But assertion, wishful thinking etc, yes.

    As you also now accept that rising CO2 levels affect earth's temperature and result in climate change you also, need also to come up with an explanation for why the considerable amount generated by human activity does not also affect the global temperature? Where is the your model, theory or case that CO2 due to human activity does not affect global temperature?


    #61 "Just waiting for the first climate-change fanatic to suggest that the sceptics be burnt at the stake..."

    I wouldn't. Lets' just accept that people have honestly held differences of opinion. I long ago (oh, aged around 6 yrs) gave up any hope that the everyone in the world would agree with one another about anything.

    So perhaps a little less of the " Whilst you're another purveyor of the lies...", world conspiracy theories, hoaxes, general paranoia and 'why is the world so against me' etc and perhaps a little more of looking at the evidence and how science arrives at its conclusions might come in handy when arguing a case.

    BTW. Did you also post above as SpannerInTheWorks?

  • Comment number 64.

    'UN Security Stops Journalist’s Questions About ClimateGate'

    http://biggovernment.com/2009/12/11/un-security-stops-journalists-questions-about-climategate/#more-44722

    More than enough interesting and on topic comments there.

  • Comment number 65.

    I just got back from Germany. The coverage of the Climate Conference was extensive on national TV with other supporting / educational programs taking place too.
    What coverage has been taking place on the BBC?
    The great thing about good science is that it is evidence-based.
    The bad thing about politicians is that they are skilled spin merchants.
    Should policy be based on evidence or spin? It has taken a while for the politicians to start listening and they are only having to do so now because the evidence is so overwhelming. However, I agree with the previous blogs that that point out their patent lack of education. Perhaps all politicians should have a couple of scientific A levels as a minimum qualification standard?
    Previous blogs have already mentioned the single most important factor underpinning the whole debate i.e. us the 'climate changers'.
    Welcome to the anthropocene!

  • Comment number 66.

    #64

    Thank you for the link Moria. Just what are these scientists trying to hide huh?

    #65

    "The great thing about good science is that it is evidence-based.
    The bad thing about politicians is that they are skilled spin merchants."

    Agreed, but please tell me where the "good science" stopped and the "spin merchant" SCIENCE started. Try watching Moria's link before you answer.

    The evidence is certainly overwhelming - overwhelmingly vague.

  • Comment number 67.

    There is what is. And there is what some would like things to be.

    Saying something does make it so. Or should not.

    Our job in the BBC newsroom has been to report on the build-up to the summit and to prepare our audiences to make sense of whatever happens. Now we aim to interpret the various negotiating positions and - if a treaty is agreed - to judge what it means for all of us.

    An entity that is already under the spotlight for moving from objective reporting of fact to such as 'enhancing the narrative' to 'interpreting events' really should have caution with phrases like 'prepare our audiences'.

    Our specialist environment correspondents have been reporting on climate change - the science and the politics and the debate - for a long time.

    Indeed. Question, what makes these correspondents 'specialist'?

    This year, for example, David Shukman has filed reports from the Arctic and Bangladesh on the changes to our climate and our planet. He was with scientists on the northern ice trying to measure its thinning, and in Bangladesh talking to those dealing with the effect of rising sea levels and looking at the analysis that links these to man-made climate change.

    Well, flying around the world to help make points is already contentious, and the BBC really needs its own airline or dedicated extra runway at Heathrow to handle all needing to raise awareness by explaining 'science' by standing on some white stuff... looking at the analysis that links these to the extent that the mitigatable/solvable effects of possible man-made climate change can be pragmatically addressed... with sensible investments that have a clear enviROI outlined, not just lobbing money at 'it'.

    Roger Harrabin has reported from China on the effect of warming and efforts to reduce emissions. And at his blog Earth Watch, Richard Black has built up a rich body of reporting and analysis.

    Evident from the many plaudits garnered. Especially in the CRU emails. Not so much elsewhere. Newswatch was fun last week.

    The scientific background is not, of course, undisputed.

    Has the BBC, or any specialist it has engaged, taken such as Gordon Brown or Ed Miliband or Al Gore to task for not only suggesting it is, but going on to claim those who do still have questions are 'deniers' or 'saboteurs'?

    The row about e-mails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit shows how charged the debate can be.

    No fooling.

    We were the first mainstream news organisation to report the story...

    That is up there with 'I never knowingly didn't report I had relations with that woman until embarrassed into it'.

    ...and have since drawn out three related but distinct threads. Are there question marks over the CRU's scientific work? Are there question marks about how it has handled its scientific data and engaged in public debate? Will the row affect Copenhagen?

    There are those who answer the first question with a yes, and many more saying, like UK Climate Change Secretary Ed Miliband, that "one string of e-mails does not undermine the global science on climate change".


    Well, yes. But as already pointed out. What you choose to share from Mr. Ed is... 'selective'.

    This is because that's our main job here: to report what's going on. Our coverage of climate change comes under scrutiny and criticism too. We don't endorse one interpretation or another: we seek to report the range.

    If you say so. But there are some (I can use that vague proxy too) who might suggest that saying it ain't doing it.

    ps: Are these guys under the BBC editorial policy/guidelines?:

    http://worldhaveyoursay.wordpress.com/2009/11/24/whys-and-the-climate-change-sceptics/#comment-182327

    I just ask, as my contribution was not just moderated, it was 'vanished'. And I still await any reply from the BBC as to why that might be.

    Still with the 'us' and (vs. ?) 'them' notion?

    Might help if it was clarified what various protagonists (including the BBC, which really should not find itself in that role at all but stand apart as a balanced, objective medium) actually mean when such labels are used.

    This headline suggests a move from creating a coherent single entity that is 'sceptics', from the 'deniers' cheerfully used a few days ago. Maybe as Global Warming was morphed into the equally clueless 'climate change'? Progress?

    But I am still unaware of few that do not accept that the climate changes, and is doing so now in a negative manner. Man's role in cause, and correction, does not even get featured in such usage.

    And that, unless I'm missing something, is where the substantive debate lies.

    To try and promote it otherwise is not very honest, really. Or smart.

    I merely have questions. Of all who claim to 'know'. So bunching me in with an extreme tribal collective that another extreme tribal collective likes to have silly fights with serves the cause of proactivity poorly. And I'd say that to move 'the debate' on needs all those sympathetic to possibly man--worsened negative climate change discussion points that can be won over.

    But for now much I am reading speaks of a command and control mentality which is a more immediate concern even to climatic issues, and potentially more divisive. A lot can happen in the edit suite. Control that you control the medium. Control the medium and you control the message.

    "We got a number of complaints about yesterday’s programme. I’ve published several at the bottom of this post. The nub of the criticism is that we had too many climate change sceptics on the programme. So if you too had these concerns, here is why"

    I've read that and over a few times, and there does seem more than the slightest whiff of empathy with one set of 'views' over another, which at best might lead to further polarisation.

    Was/is that the intention?


    Interesting bunch; even on twitter:

    Right we're on air. Do climate deniers deserve to be part of this discussion?
    6:06 PM Dec 8th from web


    Get your own house in order. Then write about it.


  • Comment number 68.

    #63. At 00:01am on 13 Dec 2009, jayfurneaux wrote:

    "#60 "Because people like you have totally forgotten about (some might say hidden) natural undersea CO2 emissions etc."

    Umm, you know, evidence?"


    Talk about the pot trying to call the kettle black...

    Were is all the so called climate change evidence, every time it's suggested that it should be released into the public domain it's declined with excuses like "Oh, we don't own (all of) it" - if climate change is so important and the evidence is so damming of it's cause it would be placed in to the public domain regardless.

    As it is, we know that there is undersea volcanic activity, we know that there is CO2 emitted (amongst other gases) because we know that the same gases are emitted from volcanic activity above sea level, we know that we are not monitoring undersea volcanic emissions to any degree. If you disagree with any of that you disbelieve the geo-physical sciences!

  • Comment number 69.

    In reply to a comment @ #63:

    "BTW. Did you also post above as SpannerInTheWorks?"

    No, I have never found the need to bolster my opinion by having multiple accounts and agreeing with myself.

  • Comment number 70.

    Many of the blog entries here refer to the issue of 'trustworthiness'. Should who's data can we trust? There is unsurprisingly a huge amount of cynicism over people's motives. I was wondering if I was alone in observing the correlation between economic necessity and acceptance by the UK and USA governments of the apparent impact of human population and activity on climate?
    Also, has anyone else noticed how the BBC is constantly plugging Tamiflu (to use the brand name as the BBC always do) and is also running an advertisement on the cover of the health page? Is there drug money involved? Is this a new economic necessity to help supplement the TV License?

  • Comment number 71.

    Re my comments @ #69 and the original (last) 'question' asked by jayfurneaux:

    Nor have I found it necessary to have multiple accounts and disagree with myself either! In case that was going to be the next accusation made by the fanatical and unquestioning "Climate change is man made" lobby.

  • Comment number 72.

    #70

    Yes. Whose data can we trust?

    It is very interesting to note the ongoing debate about the Briffa data, even in its revamped formats, challenged for authenticity by Steve McIntyre since the hockey stick "fraud" was revealed. How do you determine which tree ring samples to use? Do you wait until you find a group that "supports" the IPCC "model" or should you use a completely random sample? It remains a thorn in the side of the climate change throng as long as they continue to look for historic support for their theories.

    As for Tamiflu and the BBC, did Auntie report on the money that changed hands in Tokyo?

  • Comment number 73.

    Much of the cynicism on these (and other) blogs insinuates that anthropogenic climate change is a conspiracy when of course no data supports an alternative theory. It has already been suggested that if anyone was to publish a paper that reliably suggested a different mechanism involved in recent trends, they'd probably get a Nobel prize.

    Blogs such as ClimateAudit are fun because 'conspiracy' makes good gossip, but gossip and hearsay are not the scientific way. The claims that there is widespread fraud involved in paleoclimatology was started by an article written by McIntyre which questioned Briffa's integrity. This wasn't shown conclusively of course, and the records have been set straight, yet we still get 'denialists' claiming that the science is unreliable and that there's widespread fraud to support some sort of hoax. The fact is that McIntyre's work has been shown to be flawed in many ways. Here is a reputable source of information - http://royalsociety.org/General_WF.aspx?pageid=5322&gclid=CMGtkJn7054CFVBd4wodlxlqqg

    It is important to have a yardstick so that we can separate the wheat from the chaff. We have to be able to trust in something and peer reviewed facts and data, while not infallible is a pretty good starting point.

    I therefore lose faith in the BBC when it blatantly advertises a pharmaceutical company product alongside the public service information on bird or swine flu. However, I also thank the BBC for this opportunity to be able to openly express my opinions.

  • Comment number 74.

    I am in total accord with Elizabeth (post #1), in that the whole issue can hardly be taken seriously on the basis of Copenhagen.

    The problem is that scientists are dependent on systematised data gathering. They aren't systems engineers so have little or no idea of how to model a system as complex as "Nature" because they really don't know what they need to find out.

    Let's face it, whatever is causing exaggerated changes in the ecology will continue to do so. The dinasaurs had a long reign, so eventually will humanity come to an end. Inevitable. And I dare say that the politicians will STILL be sitting there gasping for breath and eating their dressed up solyent green while arguing about evidence for climate change.

    The planet will be fine until the sun goes bang but humanity is unlikely to be there to see it. Overpopulation will become a far more devastating issue than suffering the hottest decade in 160 years. And I'd love to know where in the world that hottest decade happened so I could move there. It certainly didn't seem to be the UK.

  • Comment number 75.

    #73. At 5:46pm on 13 Dec 2009, Bob-D wrote:

    "Much of the cynicism on these (and other) blogs insinuates that anthropogenic climate change is a conspiracy when of course no data supports an alternative theory."

    But that is the point, no data supports anything other than a theory, and that is all 'climate change' is.

    "It is important to have a yardstick so that we can separate the wheat from the chaff. "

    Indeed, and that is why the CRU's around the world should publish their raw data - all of it - and be dammed, and if in doing so it proves they are correct in their theory then the sceptics will be proved wrong, on the other hand if the CC/GW theorists are proved wrong it will make all other conspiracies look like an afternoon tea party in comparison and economic cost...

  • Comment number 76.

    #73

    It is a cheap shot to reduce opposition to the IPCC as evidence that opponents support a conspiracy theory. I support a notion that there has been some very poor science involved and that that, in itself, is not unusual, sad as it may be. When universities and academics were forced into the "real" world of bidding for business we opened a rather unpleasant can of worms, manoeuvring scientific researchers to a different kind of expertise. My contention is that the mere idea of an IPCC is an open door to quackery, and the CRUs found to be lacking are evidence of that.

    Alongside the "cunning" manipulation of Briffa's data in the "hockey stick", which was a hugely silly gaffe by academics who should know better, we also have mistakenly "doom laden" reports of the retreat of glaciers which is by no means new, and collapsing ice fields which are also found historically. We also know that the greatest threat to the planet, rather than to humanity alone, is a large asteroid on a collision course. The greatest threat to humanity, rather than to the planet alone, is over population, which, forgive me if I am wrong, is not even under consideration.

    No, here we see science jumping on a bandwagon that has arisen from computer models programmed by humans, with data prepared by humans, and on machines made by humans. As boilerplated points out science has not released the raw data, McIntyre's contention also, so that all of us who are interested and capable can do our own modelling. With one eye on the "conspiracy" to hide Biffra's original data, what have these scientists got to hide? What are they going to say if the next batch of data shows further cooling as McIntyre has demonstrated by reference to more recent tree ring data?

    McIntyre is supported, as is Spencer, by plenty of scientists. They all argue that there is something bad going on amongst the select bunch that the IPCC are paying. Are they just jealous of the money being made by the opposition or are you, and those who believe that anthropogenic global warming is "fact", being hoodwinked by a bunch of academics who are now in too deep?

    Let the IPCC explain to all of us exactly why the raw data should be kept out of the public domain without resorting to "we do not own it" nonsense.

  • Comment number 77.

    You had an article about a "wonderful" invention by 15-year old Robert Appleton. It would be very interesting to know which London school 15 year old Robert Appleton goes to (and which scholl yo went to). They obviously need to review the qualifications of their science teaching staff. I was 15 57 years ago. was not very good at physics at that time but even then knew that you don't get something for nothing "energy can neither be created nor distroyed" comes to mind.
    Where do you think the energy comes from to light those bulbs - it's not free you know.
    Where do the BBC's science editors come from? and they insist on tellng us that our use of fossil fuels is causing significant global climate change. Their understanding of that is equal to their understanding of Robert's invention. Pete Ridley

  • Comment number 78.

    Hey - just a quick note as we're watching the Geminid Meteor shower. We're getting a cracking good show here in Oxfordshire.
    I'm with you. Clearly overpopulation is what this all boils down to, if it means we have to make the apparently giant intellectual leap from climate change to climate changers in order to handle the Taboo, then so be it. http://home.btconnect.com/tipiglen/taboo.html

  • Comment number 79.

    Of course you dont have to have a science PhD to understand science, but reading the above is largely depressing.

    Maybe if the poles warm up a bit, and Africa cools down a bit, the average Global Temperatures stay the same. But that doesnt mean there isnt a massive Climate Change.

    Is the science in? Yes of course it is. CO2 Levels are unprecidented, in the last 800,000 years or so.

    Is the mechanism understood? no, of course it isnt. Global Temperature variations are complex, partly due to Day and Night, partly due to Latitude, but mostly due to an enormous amount of Greenhouse Gases, of which H2O is a large component, while CO2 plays a part.

    Maybe less bile and vitriol, with more humility and understanding, would get us further, who knows?
    n-n

  • Comment number 80.

    I am still trying to maintain an open mind, despite my pre-disposition to thinking that the 'climate' is not moving in a healthy direction and that 'man' most likely is not helping.

    There is the small matter of relative influences, so in moving on my interest I now err more on what is being proposed, what it will cost and, crucially, what are the measures in place to ensure that the vast sums of money being injected will indeed result in the vast corrections needed, as understood, and then explained by bunch of Oxbridge politics and economics grads and their mates from the mass comm department.

    So, today, I learn from Mr Miliband: "This is not just about getting any old deal. We want an ambitious outcome that respects & understands the science." Excellent!

    However, one presumes, that it is more to be settled science, peer reviewed in Whitehall, and no saboteurs masquerading as folk with simple questions allowed near. Especially in 'complementary' media.

    Because I was just watching the BBC Breakfast news this morning. With a nice young man from one of those proliferating agencies/quangos/think tanks/advocacy groups being 'interviewed' (as much as a teleprompter can) to confirm pretty much everything I 'learned', as has the BBC, Hilary Benn will be sharing later today.

    There can be no other views on this, as we wouldn't want any old press release masquerading as news. So can the Head of the BBC Newsroom please confirm there is no other view to the one put forward, exclusively, with one 'expert' 'guest'* in support, on acidification of oceans and coral damage, purely down to the activities of man, and curiously mirroring exactly what a senior government minister will be saying later today?

    *It was funny, if ironic, when this champion of doom and demanded restraint shared that he had garnered much of his insights on the state of coral reefs when... flying to visit all the country offices around the world.

    Bless. And unique that this was also missed by two presenters whose tans suggest that a family Xmas might be on the slopes again. To study the effects of AGW, no doubt.

    It's good to have standards. Just... double isn't always better.

  • Comment number 81.

    #79. At 11:07pm on 13 Dec 2009, nikki noodle wrote:

    "Of course you dont have to have a science PhD to understand science, but reading the above is largely depressing."

    Yes indeed, and it seems that whilst a few (brave) scientists are 'peer reviewing' the claims of man made climate change the mass of the scientific world are acting like lemmings, we really are in to the age of the "Kings new cloths" were few if anyone dares to question anything because when ever anyone does we have hysterical, emotional outbursts form the "climate change is man made" fanatics all but calling non believers heretics and worse.

    "Maybe if the poles warm up a bit, and Africa cools down a bit, the average Global Temperatures stay the same. But that doesnt mean there isnt a massive Climate Change."

    But that is the point, no one is questioning "Climate Change", what people are doing is questioning the cause and effect, nature vs. nurture.

  • Comment number 82.

    @ Angel_In_Transit, post #20; although this actually applies to many of the posters here;

    "I have also visited this BBC page tucked away under all the other pro-human climate change stuff. I agree with you that it is not a balanced picture. "

    That's the point. It ISN'T a balanced picture. On the one hand, you have multiple scientific institutions; governments; thousands of scientists; international accords; untold studies and reports; all speaking in support of the theory of man-made climate change.

    On the other hand, you have a handful (a growing number, but still relatively tiny) number of voices - often nothing to do with science, or at least nothing to do with any sort of scientific field which would involve the study of climate - insisting that climate change isn't happening; and that if it is, it's nothing to do with us; and even if it is, they shouldn't have to alter their lifestyles or pay any more tax in dealing with the problem. And also insisting that anybody who doesn't agree with them is "biased", or somehow brainwashed by the media, or just plain stupid.

    The picture ISN'T balanced. Therefore the coverage of it won't be. You wouldn't expect the Natural Law party or the Monster Raving Loonies to be given as much airtime as Labour or the Conservatives; don't try and demand that the BBC now give equal airtime to a minority (and sometimes rather silly) view, just because you've decided you want to believe it.

    And on that note; seriously, people - have some of you actually thought about what you're suggesting, or insinuating in some cases, here? That not only is Climate Change a scam, but that thousands of scientists, internationally-recognised and generally well-respected scientific bodies, most of the world's major governments and most, if not all, of the press... are all either in on the plot, or else have been completely and totally fooled?

    The Climate Change Fanatics may well be overly-sensationalist, but at least what they're claiming sounds like it might actually be feasible. Whereas a conspiracy of the magnitude that some of you are convinced is going on, here... well, it would dwarf any previous conspiracy of any kind. Covering up a crashed UFO at a sealed military base would be easy by comparison. Even the nut-jobs who think the US Government really arranged for the attacks on the Twin Towers wouldn't be involving that many people in their theory.

    But to think that all these hundreds of thousands of people, all these organisations, could've been either co-erced, persuaded or fooled into going along with a bogus Climate Change theory... and that the only people who have spotted it are a handful of detractors with little scientific experience and often vested interests in "disproving" the theory of Man-made climate change... well, it's just stupid, people. Come on, now.

    One final thought, then - and a question, if you'll permit me - would all those of you who do ascribe to the view that Climate Change is, basically, a fraud and that those involved in its research have been falsifying their data, and that most of the media have been deliberately misreporting facts and covering up the sceptics' views...

    ...would you not concede that it must, therefore, be possible - just possible - that, actually, the reverse is true? That there are forces with vested interests conspiring in the other direction, to discredit the Climate Change theory at any cost, and that they're not above falsifying data or using their pet media outlets to put out opinions in the form of facts, too? And that, therefore, you're the ones who've been fooled?

    Come on, now - Angel, boilerplated, various others too numerous to mention - how about it? It is, after all, pretty much what you're alleging. Surely it's possible the other way around, too...?

  • Comment number 83.

    #82. At 12:51pm on 14 Dec 2009, Khrystalar wrote:

    "...would you not concede that it must, therefore, be possible - just possible - that, actually, the reverse is true? That there are forces with vested interests conspiring in the other direction, to discredit the Climate Change theory at any cost, and that they're not above falsifying data or using their pet media outlets to put out opinions in the form of facts, too? And that, therefore, you're the ones who've been fooled?"

    What, even 100.000 years ago? That's is the point, climate changed even when mankind (as we know it today) wasn't around...

  • Comment number 84.

    Who ever or whatever causes climate change is not the point. It's what we are going to do about it that matters. Personaly nothing will make me change my lifestyle just so the third world can continue to breed beyond their ability to sustain their population, despite my own politicians attempting to tax me to do just that. Just whose interests are they meant to represent anyway??

  • Comment number 85.

    Thank you Khrystalar for helping to put the record straight on this blog. It really is time (if not too late) to move the logical process on. The fundamental question is; what the heck we are going to do about demographic entrapment?

  • Comment number 86.

    Some people do some science at school (geopgraphy, physics, chemistry etc), but many don’t. Of those that do memory decays as the years pass. Science of course moves on in the meantime.
    Having read through the comments above it strikes me that many people are arguing from a very low knowledge base.
    In the interests of promoting a better informed debate may I suggest the following reading list. There are of course others.
    -----------------------------
    General

    An Ocean of Air: A Natural History of the Atmosphere by G. Walker.
    A history of some of the major discoveries about air, gasses and the atmosphere from Galileo to the present day together with explanation as to their importance for life on Earth. (The Discovery of Global Warming’ by S. Weart is also good on the history of the discovery of greenhouse gasses.)

    Earth: The Power of the Planet by I. Stewart & J. Lynch. An accessible introduction to earth systems and earth’s history.

    The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate’ by A Dessler and E Parson. This is a readable introduction to help the public and policy makers sort through the conflicting claims in the climate-change debate.

    Does the Weather Really Matter? The Social Implications of Climate Change. W.J Burroughs.
    -----------------------------
    Earth Systems:

    Atmospheric Science. J. Wallace & P. Hobbs. (A standard universtity introductory text.)

    Atmosphere, Weather and Climate. R. Barry & R. Chorley. An introduction to earth’s ocean/atmosphere interactions & meteorology systems that determine climate and weather.

    The Global Climate System: Patterns, Processes and Teleconnections. H. Bridgeman.

    Introductory Chemistry for the Environmental Sciences. R. Harrison.

    Weather Cycles: Real or Imaginary? W.J. Burroughs

    Solar Activity and Earth’s Climate. R. Benestad.
    -----------------------------
    The CO2 Issue

    CO2 Rising by T. Volk. Designed as clear yet detailed exposition of the carbon cycle and atmospheric chemistry for the lay reader.

    The Carbon Age: How Life’s Core Element Has Become Civilization’s Greatest Threat by E. Roston.

    What We Know About Climate Change by Professor K. Emanuel

    The Forgiving Air: Understanding Environmental Change, by R. Somerville.

    Given their prominence it’s also worth reading what the IPCC actually say in depth.
    Climate Change 2007 - The Physical Science Basis. IPCC.
    -----------------------------
    Past Climates:

    Earth’s Climate Past and Future by W.F. Ruddiman. An account of known factors that have influenced climate change over earth’s history.

    Ice, Mud and Blood by C. Turney. A summary of key discoveries by scientists about past climate changes during earth’s history.

    Climate Change: A Multidisciplinary Approach by W.J. Burroughs. This surveys many technical aspects and issues of modern climate science.

    Paleoclimates: Understanding Climate Change Past and Present. T Cronin.

    Paleoclimatology: Reconstructing Climates of the Quaternary. R. Bradley.

    The Long Summer: How Climate Changed Civilization [during the Holcene]. B. Fagan.
    -----------------------------

    Some of the above are university undergraduate level - it is science after all - but written to be understood by most educated readers. There are of course other books. Most University libraries will also offer associate membership to members of the public.

    My local library service (UK) will buy books for its shelves based partly on readers’ suggestions, if they don’t already have them in stock,.
    It’s worth asking for these titles, if the library hasn’t got them in stock, or are unwilling to buy, they can also try the interlibrary loan service (for a small charge). Alternatively these books are all available on Amazon.

  • Comment number 87.

    I hear a lot of valid points in everyones views - yes, hype such as 'moral panics' are a well recognised method of maximising publicity, which is media's way of placing due emphasise toward this matter. The finance involved in this is irrelevant - money is a 'token' which enables survival, choice and expression ... which means money is being properly exercised in this instance. Yes, money elsewhere could always be better distributed/applied but lets stick to the subject - finance and the planet are too very different entities (and I believe it is a shame that it takes taxes to invoke a response from people to 'care')

    Nature is beyond our control and I do believe that change is inevitable in every arena of life, not just climate change. However, I do also feel concern toward the aspects of it that my fellow-man and I are responsible for; we all contribute toward pollution - as a result of capitalist living this contribution is increased. There are marvellous inventions that could greatly reduce emissions into our atmosphere but availability of them is restricted to those who can afford morals - again a result of capitalist living. The redistribution of natural conductors that once secured our poles correctly - again, extracted and sold for gain. The capitalist regime is a wonderous reflection of human talent, but it is also quite sad.

    Survival of the Fittest also means that the Weakest Perish - whether physically or emotionally (namely, countries, societies, individuals and species who cannot afford a voice). Copenhagen is allowing voices to be heard. This should alleviate some tension from the more fragile elements of life at the very least, even if a solution cannot be mustered. Such opportunity for representation is morally correct and fair.

    I will never under-value this planet or the life it has granted onto me - its natural order and the sensation genuine harmony creates should never be overlooked by man-made trivia!

  • Comment number 88.

    @ Boilerplated, post #83;

    "What, even 100.000 years ago? That's is the point, climate changed even when mankind (as we know it today) wasn't around..."

    Yes of course it did. The planet has been in a constant state of flux since its formation; the basics of science state this.

    The climate has changed many times. Some of these changes have been very sudden, and some extremely violent. Some have been so powerful they have changed the very structure of the rock beneath our feet.

    And the fossil record is littered with species which did not survive these changes.

    The fact that the climate is changing constantly doesn't mean that we shouldn't be concerned about man's impact; quite the opposite, in fact. It's the reason we need to understand everything we can about how we're contributing to the changes we're experiencing.

    Consider a rocking-horse. Standing still, it would take a fair amount of effort to push it over on its tail or it's nose. But if it were rocking back and forth as hard as it could go, it would take only the merest tap at the right time in order to bring it crashing down.

    Anyway, back to my question which you quoted, but neatly managed to side-step; (bravo, by the way - a piece of footwork of which Ronaldo himself would be justly proud)...

    If you believe its possible for this many people to be "fooled" by Climate Change advocates falsifying data and using rhetoric instead of hard facts... won't you also admit its possible for a smaller amount of people to be similarly fooled by Climate Change sceptics, doing the same thing? Including yourself?

  • Comment number 89.

    The African bloc and their backers didn't take long to come back to the table, perhaps they saw the chance of pocketting a lot of cash disappearing into the distance. Why the British and other taxpayers are even considering handing vast amounts of cash to these people is beyond me. At the present time, charity should begin and end at home. Most, if not all of this cash will end up in the Swiss accounts of the myriad corrupt politicians who populate Africa and a lot of the other small states.

  • Comment number 90.

    #88

    I think you misrepresent the importance of "false data" and "rhetoric". The problem is not the data it is the way it was manipulated to produce the "hockey stick" within the "hidden" computer code. The ability to replicate the "hockey stick" from the data the IPCC allegedly used has only been closely emulated by one sceptic (in proving how it was done). Thus far no IPCC scientist has managed to even get close to reproducing the "hockey stick" from the data - not even the original producer of the graph - despite challenges from the sceptic who demonstrates within a thorough paper how it was done. Is that why the data and the code are being kept from us?

    We have already had one disaster based around technology - the banking crisis - and the easier it is to manipulate data to get it onto the front page the more our ruling classes are prepared to pay. Or is science above such devilry?

    #87

    I agree with you that our stewardship of the planet is appallingly remiss. However the western capitalist bandwagon rumbles on and straight over the developing countries who are not happy with the manner of "progress" on agreements or the "cutting up" of the money on offer in Copenhagen. At the end of the day it appears anthropogenic climate change is all about money despite the cataclysmic "end" we are facing.

  • Comment number 91.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 92.

    One basic underlying issue seems to be avoided in the debates so far. Human population, left to itself, will expand to use all available resources. By reducing carbon footprint per person we may merely be delaying the problem. In addition we should be taking steps to limit human population, before it is limited for us by climatic change, food shortages or wars over increasingly scarce resources.

    This is, I am sure, a difficult and highly political issue. However I think population pressure is the fundamental problem from which all of the other issues result. Hence we should treat the cause as well as the symptoms if we want to hand the planet on to future generations in good order.

  • Comment number 93.


    Just saw the BBC Breakfast male teleprompter reader 'interview' the saviour of the planet in full waffle/'I' mode.

    He asked the PM about the public conviction around man's role in climate change, and in his reply Mr. Brown flips it back to no doubt on generic global warming. Which indeed is hard to disagree is happening. Not where the debate, lies, Gordon. Why the Clintonian semantics, especially from a person trying to making saving the world all about him in every breath?

    Also I'd have like to see developed the claim about his vast experience in matters of a 'private carbon market'. Is this just a set up for shunting money around and taxes?

    Mr Miliband has told reporters that the crucial finance session he co-chaired carried on talking up to midnight last night. It has now agreed that more public money is needed, but no figure.

    Maybe they are still making some figures up?

    Oddly, the climate analyst Roger Harrabin just on did admit that this is controversial, so maybe the message is getting through that shunting dosh off any old where, any old how is not a panacea for resolving anything except the profits of a Lagos Mercedes dealer.

    So maybe there is a sense that aspects of our governance are still worth holding to account.

  • Comment number 94.

    Dear BBC,

    The events at Copenhagen deserve more coverage than you have given them thus far.

    These are literally turning points, maybe even tipping points, in the collective futures of all of us.

    The younger we are, the greater the impact on us is bound to be from whatever the outcome.

    Please give some serious thought to expanding your coverage of the Copenhagen Conference and the Ultimate Summit of Leaders that is to come, during all of the coming days.

    Wishing you all the best & looking forward to remaining tuned in to your live coverage for as much as possible,

    And Happy Christmas, joy-filled festivals and a Hopeful New Year to you all, with continued Health & Happiness --

    from Your Friends Always
    Maria Ashot & Family

  • Comment number 95.

    #92

    The population "explosion" is disturbing, more so since the increased movement of disadvantaged people towards "money" (and hope), a phenomena that is not without parallels. But if we do nothing then nature will step in, in one way or another. It is unlikely to be anthropogenic climate change for a number of reasons including the fact the vast majority of the planet is covered by water and nature regulates population peaks and troughs on a local scale. The more likely outcomes are seriously scary compared to climate change and will not be (mis)managed by a series of "talks" such as that taking place in Copenhagen.

    The debate, right now, should be about "our LOVE of money" and how we can change as a species to being really diverse, really tolerant, really free, and really equal, "our LOVE of life, ALL life".

  • Comment number 96.

    Meanwhile, back in the news (there's a funny link in the comments to our dear leader going where he's told and taking others with him...ironic... If it was Bush it would be main lead on BBC now)...

    http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/jameskirkup/100020159/copenhagen-climate-conference-gordon-brown-says-co2-makes-god-change-the-weather/comment-page-1/#comment-100108379

    Maybe he gets his science settled in the same place Milibands E. & D. make their dioramas to try and scare Nordic ministers with alligators in Gothenburg high street:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00pfk53/Newsnight_16_12_2009/

    It has certainly convinced many who saw it:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/newsnight/fromthewebteam/2009/12/wednesday_16_december_2009_in.html#commentsanchor

  • Comment number 97.

    At the closure of the conference The Institute for Econmoic Analysis in Moscow inform us that the data emanating from The UK Met Office on which all our predictions for global warming are based are seriously flawed.

    Not only that but, they may have been deliberately manipulated to distort the data toward greater global warming than the true scenario. It apperars that only 25% of the vast Russian weather station data has been selected. These are the weather stations close to urban dvelopments and appear chosen because the conurbations give out heat which if used in isolation to the complete data give a vastly increased average temperature rise.

    This in turn because Russia is such a large land mass covering something like 40% of the world's total then distorts the whole picture and would require a total audited recalcualtion of the global model. A exceedingly damaging claim if true.

  • Comment number 98.

    Where are we? What the investigation showed? Is the fraud as big as those emails and code suggest? Is it worse?

    Are the fraudsters still at large? In charge?

    Why would our elected leaders act like they bode in another reality?

    How exactly it goes... that last sentence of animal farm?

  • Comment number 99.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 100.

    The Copenhagen area seems to have become the world leaders in the manufacture and distribution of Fudge in the last 24 hours...

    Oh, and can the BBC please stop pushing the myth that humans can control climatic change, we can't, we can how ever act against man made pollution though.

 

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