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A balanced approach to climate change

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Alistair Burnett Alistair Burnett | 17:20 UK time, Thursday, 12 November 2009

Will the Copenhagen climate conference next month get a global deal on measures to control the rise in global temperatures?

That was one of the questions discussed this week when The World Tonight, co-hosted a conference at Chatham House with the journal International Affairs and the Royal Society looking at the challenges governments all over the world face with climate change and the potential scarcity of natural resources.

Drought in AustraliaWe also discussed how measures to deal with climate change could make food, energy and water shortages worse. You can listen to the programme we did from the conference here.

Most of the people at the conference were climate experts, technology specialists, politicians, lobbyists and activists, but there were also journalists ie us.

At one point, the discussion turned to concerns that many climate scientists have that public scepticism about climate change may be growing just as the models these scientists use to project the rise in global temperatures and the impact that will have on ice melt in places like the Himalayas, are suggesting a worse scenario in the next few decades.

They expressed surprise that this should be so.

One explanation offered was that the counter-message from climate change sceptics and lobby groups, especially in the US, that climate change is part of a natural cycle and nothing to worry about is a much simpler message to convey than the arguments for taking action which are based on a precautionary principle and complex climate modelling.

Others asked if the problem was a decline in public trust in scientists generally, because they are often asked to make projections which may not be subsequently borne out by experience.

Still others asked whether the media was responsible for the apparent rise in scepticism, arguing that the media in the interests of balance give airtime too much prominence to climate change sceptics, given the overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree climate change is happening and it is man-made and measures need to be taken to reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

From the BBC's perspective, the answer to this question is that our journalistic role is not to campaign for anything. Impartiality means not taking sides in a debate, while accurately representing the balance of argument.

So, in the case of climate change we need proportionately to reflect the sceptical view but also, for example, reflect the debate among climate scientists about the most effective way of dealing with global warming.

On our programme, for instance, one of our panellists argued an all-encompassing global conference like Copenhagen is not the way to make progress as it is trying to deal with too many issues at once.

Another of the panellists argued that capping emissions and developing a market to trade in carbon is too slow and uncertain a way of dealing with the problem and we should invest in technical solutions to reducing the amount of CO2.

On the wider issue of reporting risk which is often what reporting what scientists are saying involves, the BBC has specific guidelines which you may be interested in reading.

Anyway, take a listen to the programme and let us know what you think.

Alistair Burnett is the editor of The World Tonight.

Comments

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  • Comment number 1.

    Did journalists not learn from the MMR fiasco that the emptiest pots make the loudest noise? On one side we have all the world's leading scientists, and on the other side we have a handful of journalists scrabbling around for a "story".

  • Comment number 2.

    Biggest problem is that the average punter does not trust anything politicians say, probably rightly. In addition so many of the claims of " man made global warming " seem to come from scientists employed by people with vested interests, this itself makes the message questionable, and ally this to the constant tax increases to help stop " global warming "and the whole concept becomes a question of how believeable is it?Whether man causes it or not is still debateable, but it is happening, and whether adding to taxes and the futile gestures of humanity will stop it is extremely unlikely.

  • Comment number 3.

    Why are people sceptical? Could it be something to do with the fact that computer models of several years ago have predicted increasing temperatures but the observed temperature has stayed almost flat for nearly a decade. Despite this scientists make proclamations that things are "worse than we thought" and they predict ever more extreme events what will occur in ever shorter times scales.

    In my opinion media reporting of scientists claims has departed from the realm of plausibility - people are right to be sceptical especially when legislation like the climate change bill will cost the tax payer over £18 billion per year.

    The simple fact it that the models have failed to accurately predict climate change - everyone knows the models are seriously flawed therefore why should we take any notice of any theories based upon them when the cost of action is extremely high.

    Perhaps the pubic just aren't as gullible as the scientists thought.

  • Comment number 4.

    How anybody can claim that too much airtime is given to sceptics escapes me.
    The media & in particular you, the BBC, are guilty of the most biased reporting in favour of climate change fanatics & fantasists,so much so that I now refuse to watch BBC news programmes.

  • Comment number 5.

    Willodweesp is right. For instance, back in mis October reported on Pen Hadow and Co and their prediction that the Arctic will disappear in the nest 10 - 20 years. This was based on the rather comical saga of the Catlin arctic ice survey who's primary measuring equipment failed to work due to the cold - in fact the severe conditions meant less than half the planned distance was covered.

    On the same day the met office issued a press release stating the Arctic ice cap was unlikely to disappear for at least 60 years. I saw no coverage of this but there was on the more extreme and pessimistic story. This was a clear demonstration of bias in the BBC - there is no point in denying it.

  • Comment number 6.

    May I suggest that the reason many scientifically educated people are sceptical is that the science is not settled. Unfortunately the BBC does not help itself by the crass ignorance of presenters such as Justin Webb, I think it was, who interviewed Professor Ian Plimer on the Today programme this morning. This is what Justin Webb said: “Most scientists say that if you look at the warming that there has been (and that I think you accept there has been) over the last 100/150 years and you look at the huge increase in carbon dioxide emissions that there have been and you put two and two together.”

    First Justin Webb made the assertion, without any evidence whatsoever, that “most” scientists hold a particular viewpoint. The IPCC is not “most scientists”. It is not a scientific body. It is a political body led by an economist who started out as a railway engineer.

    Justin Webb proposed that “most” scientists would put two and two together and deduce that because two values are apparently correlated, one causes the other. But correlation does not imply causation, as any scientist will tell you. In fact the Vostok ice-core data, so abused by Al Gore, provide evidence that temperature leads carbon dioxide by approximately 800 years - the complete reverse of the anthropogenic global warming hypothesis.

    Why does the BBC fail to report the brilliant forensic work by Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre who conclusively destroyed Michael Mann’s and Keith Briffa’s notorious hockey sticks? Climate scientists unfortunately appear to be incompetent statisticians who peer review each others work and do not detect the obvious blunders and, even worse, are prone to the withholding of data on which their hypotheses are based.

    The BBC has got it disastrously wrong over climate change. Its biased position is harming the broadcaster’s precious reputation for truth-telling.

  • Comment number 7.

    Sadly I have now come to know the BBC as the British Brainwashing Corporation. It is self evident that corporate policy is decided, man made warming is the message the only message and is assiduously followed by presenters. This policy is producing, whether intentionally or not, a climate of fear and mass hysteria.

    Where is the balance?

    The honourable recent exception of Clive James’ recent broadcast, making rational observations in respect of the science. was subsequently vilified by the fanatics

    It was notable, during the brief interview on the Today programme this morning that too much sceptism was being aired by Professor Ian Plimer a highly qualified geologist. He, having analysed the warming and cooling history of the earth from core samples, was not given a full hearing and the interview seemed to be cut short to go to some matter of far less importance.

    It is also evident that the much-respected botanist David Bellamy was unceremoniously dumped from broadcasting because he did not espouse the corporate policy.

    Of course the worlds resources are finite and should not be wasted. New technologies need to be developed but the man made climate change fanatics and fantasists do not want to hear any other view, even from highly respected scientists.

    The sun dictates warming and cooling cycles of the earth. The very idea that man can control the warming by the sun by a degree or two is in the same order as that of King Canute believing he could control the ebb and flow of the tides.

  • Comment number 8.

    "So, in the case of climate change we need proportionately to reflect the sceptical view ..."

    Note the logical implications of this position for responsible journalistic practice: Naomi Oreskes' seminal study in Science found that precisely 0% of the peer-reviewed scientific literature diverges from the consensus on the question of anthropogenic climate change (see in particular Figure 4.1, p. 71, in this document: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]The representation of the divergent point of view on the BBC has, by my count, been rather higher. Judging by the standards you yourselves profess here - that "we need ++proportionately++ to reflect the sceptical view" - what exactly does this say about your own coverage? And how, one wonders, will future generations look back on your efforts?

  • Comment number 9.

    Interesting. A few thousand words about the climate change debate and not a single mention of McIntyre & McKitrick's mathematical deconstruction of Mann & Briffa's so-called 'hockey stick' graph.
    It's as though you either haven't heard the storm of protest about Briffa'a data fraud or are hoping to just ignore it.

  • Comment number 10.

    How often does the BBC present doom laden prophecies concerning Climate Change? Many times, often through journalists who have not one iota of science in their blood. Conversely how often does the BBC raise the possibility that the opposite view is worth mentioning? The ratio is about 100:1 in favour of hyped up warmist guesses [most of which are turning out to be false/manipulated/downright lies].

  • Comment number 11.

    Well, if you leave the Arts graduates in charge of the science output, what do you expect?

  • Comment number 12.

    The BBC is not reporting the very high costs of taking action against global warming. Currently this has just been used as an excuse for tax rises. However large reduction in CO2 output means that the organisations making the CO2 will have to either use very different processes or be closed down. Closed down means that the workers get fired. When all the companies and civil service departments are firing people this is likely to result in high unemployment. The government will lose the taxes currently paid by those people and private sector companies.

    A government getting less taxes will have to reduce pensions, social security and the number of people it employs. The sort of things that happened in the 1920s and 1930s. Very bad news.

  • Comment number 13.



    “public scepticism about climate change may be growing”

    Gee, could it be that the predictions in the 1980-1990’s with “the models these scientists use to project rise in global temperatures” were way off?

    I’ve got an idea for your net meeting. It’s a novel idea. Forget the smoke and mirrors, tell the people the truth.

    Discuss the facts. https://vortex.nsstc.uah.edu/data/msu/t2lt/uahncdc.lt

    Fact: Since the inception of Satellite temperature reading technology global temperatures have risen 13 tenths (.13) of a degree. (hardly the 2-6 degree change predicted by now)

    Fact: Global temperatures have been trending DOWN, not up for over a decade now.

    Fact: Co2 has continued to rise in direct contrast to temperature decline for over a decade now

    Deduction: There is little or no correlation between Co2 and temperature rise.

    Declaration: “We have saved the planet!”

    Meeting adjourned

    Go home wondering why you didn’t think of this sooner…

  • Comment number 14.

    This is very refreshing - honest coverage of the issues rather than fear based propanganda.

    You state....

    "Another of the panellists argued that capping emissions and developing a market to trade in carbon is too slow and uncertain a way of dealing with the problem and we should invest in technical solutions to reducing the amount of CO2."

    If people are really worried about CO2 (not some other agenda) then this is a much easier message to sell.

    Trying to persuade me to abandon my car and be unemployed on shaky evidence is not going to work. To persuade me to keep my car and fuel it on new, non-fossil, fuels is pushing at an open door. Why would I resist that?

    Stop the climate of fear approach and start with some measures to shift away from fossil fuels.

  • Comment number 15.

    Climate change - the big picture
    The Met Office:
    https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/corporate/pressoffice/myths/index.html


    NASA - Eyes on Earth:
    https://climate.nasa.gov/

  • Comment number 16.

    Regarding the piece on Europe coming out of recession. I noticed the correspondant (Nigel Cassidy) stated that the UK was Europe's second biggest economy. That was the case until 2007. In both 2008 & foreseeably in 2009 & 2010 the UK has dropped back to 3rd with just a very small lead over Italy in 4th place. The spectacular fall has been due to the recession but also the devaluation of the pound.

  • Comment number 17.

    General Jack

    They realy do a good job of "Hiding" the facts don't they.

    I'll stick with the facts, not smoke and mirrors.

    Don't let yourself be duped.

  • Comment number 18.

    Brief though it was, Professor Plimer's slot on the Today programme was a welcome contribution to balanced debate. I thoroughly enjoyed his response to the interviewer patronisingly telling him he was entitled to his beliefs. Without quite getting shirty, Plimer said that Belief is the currency of politics and religion; that science in contrast proceeds by accumulation of evidence in support of, or in refutation of, a given hypothesis.
    If the current cooling trend continues, we the public will mock and scorn the bent scientists with their seats on the apocalypse gravy train.
    However, the vast economic forces being wheeled out to combat non-existent AGW will take some stopping. With such momentum, I fear it will take a decade or more to dismantle the Global Warming Bandwagon.
    Montaigne put it succinctly: "Nothing is so fervently believed as that which is not known."

  • Comment number 19.

    You've got to love the irony.

    The lead article is about 'balance'.

    Most of the people commenting have absolutely no interest in anything that might dispove their own conspiracy theories, and are actually offended by the presentation of opposing arguments by the BBC.

  • Comment number 20.

    Another day, another 'From the BBC's perspective, the answer to this question is that our journalistic role is not to campaign for anything. Impartiality means not taking sides in a debate, while accurately representing the balance of argument that rather presupposes the notion that because it is said that means it is true.

    There is a heck of a critical message out there. Sadly, the mostly self-elected messengers seem to be woeful at conveying it, and are now blaming everyone and everything but themselves that the public is either confused or dubious.

    Trust in the media, especially certain ones, is indeed low and plummeting. But I don't think it is down to their noble commitment to 'balance'.

  • Comment number 21.

    An important factor must be that some powerful corporations see action to reduce emissions as a threat to their profits. They are quite right. Effective action is only possible with a drastic reduction in the use and production of fossil fuel and probably meat production. Naturally, they have reacted by a substantial investment in a disinformation campaign.

    In our market based economic system the easiest way to make changes is by engineering substantial price increases for products with bad footprints. Unfortunately the governments of the world have let themselves be talked into a trading system to do this rather than the alternative of taxes.This means that the extra revenue generated by the higher prices, accrues to the companies and speculators in the market, rather than to governments who could have used it to reduce other taxes and subsidise things like home insulation and the development of alternative technologies.

  • Comment number 22.

    "...the answer to this question is that our journalistic role is not to campaign for anything..."

    That's the best laugh I've had in a long time.

  • Comment number 23.

    Maybe the theory is that if you pop in the odd massive extreme in every so often, and pit them against the B team for poor measure, that sorta 'balances' out the others?

    https://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/blog/2009/nov/13/climate-deniers-today-programme?showallcomments=true

    Heck of a way to secure trust or credibility from any quarter.

    But, certainly, like so much... unique.

  • Comment number 24.

    When I was at school in the seventies the prediction was that north sea oil would run out by the nineties. We still haven't hit 'peak oil' yet.
    This and many other examples illustrate why the public distrust the advice/opinions given by politicians and experts.
    Add in the fact that all we hear about are tax rises to pay for prevention of an unknown event and not a peep about the billions of humands on the other side of the world doing anything about it themselves and it's no wonder the public are sceptical.

    The only solution is through population reduction. We are naturally going down this route in Europe, despite the bleatings of the religious/low cost worker brigade. If the rest of the world did this, not only would global warming if it exists be reduced but the finite resources of the world would last a lot longer.
    How about green taxes on those who have more than one child?? The biggest impact any person can have in terms of carbon footprint is to have a child so why not shift the tax burden on to them?
    Automation and productivity will naturally take the place of low pay/low skill jobs and I for one would prefer factories of robots to sweatshops.

  • Comment number 25.

    The biggest problem with the whole subject of science in the media is that the stories are, mostly, reported on by people with degrees in Law, politics, economics, classics and other non-science subjects. There are a few well qualified people in the industry but they are few and far between and rarely are the ones conducting the interviews, on the front page or reporting the story on TV or Radio.

    The problem with that is people outside of the science world don't propperly understand the way scientists talk about things. They don't understand the complex details of the reports or papers so just focus on the conclusions of the research. They then often misunderstand the real world implications of the subject and don't spot any mistakes or unfounded conclusions made.

    They also tend to focus on the 'worst case scenarios' and potential extreme results without realising that these are very unlikley to take place.

    Above all else they don't understand the scientific method, they don't realise that scientific assumptions are not the same as assumptions people make in day to day life.
    When a scientist looks for a solution or outcome to a problem they sometimes make an assumption about what is going on, that assuption is then tested with the evidence and results and if it doesn't fit it is either refined or totally changed. The assumption is based on previous knowledge and the known trends etc.
    For example when working out how planets move around the sun the fair, but obviously not perfect, assumption was made that they move in circular orbits. This was then compared with the evidence and found to be not quite true so the theory was refined to the point where it was realised they move in eliptical orbits and are not perfectly alligned with each other. (admitidly it's quite a simplistic example but you see the point)

    There needs to be much better education of kids and adults about science.
    For most people it may as well be magic with the wizards wearing white coats instead of pointy hats.
    People don't understand and frequently neither do journalists, couple this with sensationilist reporting and the slightly synical view that politicians are always lying (Yes they do lie, but not as much as most people think) and you get unfounded mistrust of the theories that people are coming up with.
    Add in the over reporting of research which goes against current theory (which is only natural) and it just adds to the problem.

    It happens all the time, MMR jabs, mobile phone masts, waste incinerators, endangered species awareness, GM food etc. etc.
    Climate change is nothing special in this regard at all.

  • Comment number 26.

    I was wondering how long it would take for population control to be brought up in this debate. Ok if there were less of us then there would be less of a problem, but it's not the silver bullet argument that some people think it is.

    Even if it would reduce CO2 to an 'acceptable level' we should be trying to stop our emissions completely. In the ideal world nothing would require us to give off any emmsisons, plus theres some really nasty stuff in the emissions apart from CO2. We need to try to remember that polution is a really big problem with the potential for disasterous climate change if we dont tackle CO2 emissions aswell.

  • Comment number 27.

    It is quite entertaining to see a bunch of 'warmists' being perplexed by the increase in scepticism. Ordinary people lost trust in politics and the press ages ago. Now eco-campaigning scientists and scare mongering environmentalists are starting to get in the neck too. People will simply not make drastic changes to their lives and pay more in taxes and energy costs on the basis of a flawed hypothesis.

  • Comment number 28.

    whoopee.. scientists arguing amongst themselves and suddenly the BBC wakes up to its own worse nightmare; it has backed a losing horse. Well don't worry Auntie because neither horse has a hope in hell of winning this race. Scientists have attacked a "problem" by trying to prove or disprove something in their lifetime when they'll all be dead long before the eventual winner romps home in what becomes much more than a two horse race.

    As for now, the world is over populated, we make far too many decisions for short term financial gain, and too many scientists have heads in "sponsored" troughs. And the BBC has lost it knack for presenting genuinely interesting and balanced science.

    Is the climate change debate evidence that as science becomes more sophisticated its practitioners become less and less clever?

  • Comment number 29.

    I think some of the scepticism comes from many of the public seeing no one in a position of (corporate or other) responsibility taking things seriously. Aviation is still actively promoted (to preserve profit), nothing is done about importing food while we export food of exactly the same sort; and office lights everywhere (including those of government buildings) blaze throughout the night while computers tick over silently waiting for an inout so they can do something.

    Simultaneously we are treated to endless patronising lectures (particularly on news reports) about how we can "reduce our carbon footprint". We're told we're going to have smart meters foisted on us that, aside from invading our privacy yet again, will tell us when to switch things off, as if we don't KNOW when we're using electricity... well, most of use do and we're happy to reduce our consumption. We also know that the more electricity and gas we save, the higher the unit prices will get because the suppliers have to keep their shareholders amped.

    So why should we take it seriously? I'm not a sceptic. I've just given up caring. It's pretty obvious the ecology will rebalance itself in response to the ravages of 20th century humanity. It isn't so much that twice the population are "polluting" than in, say, 1960, but that 'twice' is about 3 billion. As the forests go, so the atmosphere will change - you don't need a Nobel Prize to realise that! Just needs a bit of systems thinking - something that most scientists and sceptical public aren't too good at.

  • Comment number 30.

    > From the BBC's perspective, ... Impartiality means not taking sides in a debate, while accurately representing the balance of argument.

    > So, in the case of climate change we need proportionately to reflect the sceptical view but also, for example, reflect the debate among climate scientists about the most effective way of dealing with global warming.

    Every national science academy of every major industrialised country on the planet, representing thousands of scientists, confirms that recent climate warming is due to human activity. 97% of published climate scientists confirm the same.

    The BBC is not providing balance by giving air time to the Deniers - people like Ian Plimer - it is providing false balance and unjustifiable equivalence.

    The BBC does not balance their natural history and scientific output on evolution with programs from creationists. It does not balance programs about the Holocaust with programs that deny it ever happened.

    The BBC is doing the public a great disservice by pretending there are two legitimate sides to this 'debate'. There are not. There is the science on one side, and delusional, ranting anti-science on the other.

  • Comment number 31.

    DavidCognito, in my opinion you are wrong.I am a Darwinist. I do not believe that I am delusional, nor am I rantingly anti-science. I have a legitimate point of view. Can I suggest that you examine the work of Steve McIntyre? It seems to me that climate change has been comprehensively hijacked by politicised, statistically innumerate scientists with an agenda. Polar bears are not in danger. The Maldives are not sinking. Check the science. Don't rely on authority.

  • Comment number 32.

    "31. At 10:31pm on 13 Nov 2009, MikeRavenor wrote:

    DavidCognito, in my opinion you are wrong.I am a Darwinist. I do not believe that I am delusional, nor am I rantingly anti-science. I have a legitimate point of view. Can I suggest that you examine the work of Steve McIntyre? It seems to me that climate change has been comprehensively hijacked by politicised, statistically innumerate scientists with an agenda. Polar bears are not in danger. The Maldives are not sinking. Check the science. Don't rely on authority."

    Those of us, like myself, with scientific qualifications (mine being a master degree in astrophysics) or a background in scientific research will partially agree with you.
    People should never rely on authority, they should rely on the evidence.
    The evidence is almot universally pointing towards man made cliamte change and the extreme results of climate change (like the maldives and the polar bears that you mention) are used to make people realise the potential implications.

    No doubt you will try to counter my arguments with mention of or quotes from one particular research paper which questions man made climate change. I have met people who lecture at respected british universities, who are Dr not Mr, who have a prolific history of scientific papers and also publish research based on wildy inacurate or even false results or data. These people are 'not part of the mainstream' of science, the reason being they are wrong or unethically reporting the facts. They are also most often opposing a well knoen and well supported theory. I wonder where the anti climate change researchers fit in?

  • Comment number 33.

    MikeRavenor:

    > Can I suggest that you examine the work of Steve McIntyre?

    Why are you suggesting getting climate science from a mining executive with absolutely no expertise in the subject? Is it because he provides the answer you want to hear?

    And in the same way, you reject the total consensus from the planet's climate scientists because you don't like what they're telling you.

    Furthermore, you accuse the Royal Society, NASA and every other national science academy on the planet of lying - without providing a shred of evidence for the accusation.

    Here's a partial definition of denialism, see if you recognise anything in it:

    > Almost every denialist argument will eventually devolve into a conspiracy. This is because denialist theories that oppose well-established science eventually need to assert deception on the part of their opponents to explain things like why every reputable scientist, journal, and opponent seems to be able to operate from the same page. In the crank mind, it isn't because their opponents are operating from the same set of facts, it's that all their opponents are liars (or fools) who are using the same false set of information.

    Stop getting your 'science' from agenda-driven amateurs and start getting real science from credible scientific sources and you may alleviate your ignorance about what is going to happen to polar bears and the Maldives.

  • Comment number 34.

    "Why are you suggesting getting climate science from a mining executive with absolutely no expertise in the subject? Is it because he provides the answer you want to hear?"


    Actually, Steve McIntyre does have the expertise required to apply the correct statistical process to a data set. There is no point in bad mouthing McIntyre as he has published the entirety of his work on the internet. Thats more than can be said for Briffa who wouldn't release his data at any cost until he was caught out. If MyIntyre was wrong then why doesn't one of the "experts" prove it?

    But, I have to say that although it was interesting, the tree ring story is probably irrelevant anyway. If CO2 is meant to be increasing at a record rate then we should be able to see its effect using direct measurement rather than using proxies.

    The problem is that I have seen no evidence at all of any correlation between CO2 and temperatures. Yes, both temperatures and CO2 seem to have risen at the same time but how much of this was down to natural causes and how much was down to the CO2? If you exclude the other climate effects (feedbacks) there should be just over 1 degree temperature increase for a doubling of CO2 - in that case there should be no problems. The models used by climate scientists use feedbacks to come up with higher temperature increases but the understanding of climate feedbacks is incomplete and fraught uncertainty. There is no proof that the net effect of feedbacks will increase sensitivity to CO2. Previous predications from climate models have overestimated warming - what is the true scale of the problem? From what I have seen nobody knows - climate scientists have yet to prove it is worth trying to take action on climate change.

    Of course the media don't seem to think about these things - all we seem to see is the most extreme predictions trying to cause panic in the population. If you actually read the IPCCs reports (the full ones not the shortened ones for the politicians) the language if a lot more reserved and there are a lot of caveats putting a lot of statements into context and pointing out uncertainties.

  • Comment number 35.


    "Why are you suggesting getting climate science from a mining executive with absolutely no expertise in the subject?"

    Because Steve McIntyre has demonstrated statistical skill which the tree-ring boys appear to lack or disregard. McIntyre has also displayed perseverance in getting access to data which the published, peer-reviewed tree-ringers withhold or hide.

    I shall not reply to your personal attack.

  • Comment number 36.

    In supporting #34 and #35 I should like to point to the cautionary tale of our ancestors. Of necessity they used careful observation and collection of evidence over many centuries to piece together their ideas of our world. Sometimes the deductions proved false and sometimes they provided "half" the picture; occasionally they were correct. The evidence remained; it was the interpretation that was right, "half" right, or wrong.

    Supplementing observation, evidence and interpretation with serious computer power (as in weather forecasting) narrows our propensity for giving poor prediction but it does not eliminate it. We are still predicting on shaky ground and we need to be very careful indeed about making something out of what may be a very incomplete data set.

    What politicians should concentrate on is how population numbers and economics may be making our planet impossible to sustain at its current rate. These are entirely within our control unlike climate.

  • Comment number 37.

    Hi Alistair !

    I know what the beeb is thinking and will be saying: criticism from many directions means we are balanced and impartial.

    This just doesn't work: "The vicar was criticised from within his church and from outside his church therefore his sermon was a great sermon".

  • Comment number 38.

    Are science advisors gagged on climate change?
    Since Hominins (Homo sapiens being the latest) that used tools have been on this planet 2 million years have gone by. During their evolution in the last 2.5 million years there have been 21 cycles of glaciation (H M McHenry 2009).
    We are the proof they survived. To understand climate change we should listen to the geologists.
    The old ideas are often the best, so heed this world politicians:-
    "... the present may only be a pause during the slow restoration of a more genial climate under which the existing ice-sheets will melt away. If this happens, the liberated melt-water will raise the level of the oceans by about 100 feet. London and New York and all other ports and lowland cities throughout the world will be submerged, and ..." Regius Professor of Geology (Edinburgh) A Holmes DSc FRS [1944]

  • Comment number 39.

    One page on the BBC website tells you everything you need to know about the BBC's bias:

    Climate scepticism: The top 10

    The biggest bias is
    not the way the page gives more space to the "anti-sceptic" arguments
    nor is it giving the "anti-sceptics" the last word.

    No the biggest problem is that the page exists at all.

    There is no other page like this anywhere on the BBC where problems with a theory are listed and attacked with the theory's fans given more time and given the last word.

  • Comment number 40.

    Well, after several years passed and a few weeks to go, let's see where we stand then...

    https://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article6916648.ece

    And the response in some quarters seems not to be to question the content and/or efficacy of the message (much less change it), or shoot (OK, change... it's a word with hope behind it and has worked before) some rather less than credible messengers a tad tainted by less than sterling rigour in checking before passing on, but it's.... to blame the public for not buying in?! Or being too thick to resist the seduction of siren whispers that a select bunch on the Argo have somehow managed to resist?

    Unique.

    And the solution being espoused from some, essentially, 'we know better, so...', has uncomfortable resonances from history.

    Vicky Pope, head of climate change advice at the Met Office, said that growing awareness of the scale of the problem appeared to be resulting in people taking refuge in denial...

    Ed Miliband, the Energy and Climate Change Secretary, said: “The overwhelming body of scientific information is stacked up against the deniers


    I. am. not. a. 'denier'. It is a phrase that makes no sense and hence I have no clue what it means. Or why it is so used.. and abused... by those in theory seeking to win over and persuade.

    What I am interested in what all the measures and money are going to really be used for, and how it will all work, be measured effectively to assess value, etc.

    Some questions I (and others) posed, by invitation, for Newsnight's Ethical Man kitchen cabinet of top minds at the beginning of the week, and which remain unanswered.

    I think the climate is changing, for the worse, and 'man' sure is not helping. But giving carte blanche to blow the farm to the current crop of 'leaders' and their mantra-chanting cheerleading squads, especially when both sets seem to be getting a bit less enthusiastic about democratic free speech as their arguments falter, is hardly the way to get me onside.

    Lord knows what the impact is on folk who know little or don't care much for advocacy that, with the best will in the world, is going to involve some less than fun options.

    This smacks of bum's rush at best. 'Half price Armageddon if you give us your savings now! It's a time critical deal, so no fussing about the t&cs, just sign here!'

  • Comment number 41.

    MikeRavenor:


    > ...McIntyre has demonstrated statistical skill... displayed perseverance in getting access to data...

    Questionable ability with statistics and an obsession over harassing real scientists to gain access to obsolete data. That's how you judge him to be competent and worth listening to? That is why you remain confused and misinformed.


    > I shall not reply to your personal attack.

    You mean you have no response to my challenge for you to provide evidence for your accusation that every national science academy on the planet is lying. I understand why that is.

  • Comment number 42.

    DavidCognito: Oh dear, oh dear!

  • Comment number 43.

    I saw this piece of research the other day. Looks like green party supporters are on average much smarter than the other parties except the Lib Dems. Makes you wonder if libral evironmentally friendly ideas might be the intelligent options in politics.

    https://www.mrc.ac.uk/Newspublications/News/MRC005139

    "Mean age 10 IQ scores for people voting in the 2001 general election for various parties were as follows:
    Green 108.3;
    Liberal Democrat 108.2;
    Conservative 103.7;
    Labour 103.0;
    Plaid Cymru 102.5;
    Scottish National 102.2,
    UK Independent 101.1,
    British National 98.4;
    Did not vote/None 99.7."

  • Comment number 44.

    The problem is mainly with the media and the BBC in particular IMHO. For years there have been alarmist news stories about this issue from Greenpeace, the UN, scientific and political institutions etc which the BBC have eagerly fed to us. There was a time when, for example, when Greenpeace appeared to have an umbilical cord attached to the BBC and the ability to preach to us virtually unchallenged.

    As the BBC appears to have cried wolf too often in the past, it appears the message is no longer getting across. What is more, although the problem is still not defined in the public’s mind, the solutions promoted by the BBC tend to be of the left wing variety. The environmental campaigners seem to have formed a rainbow alliance with left-wing organisations and left-liberal media such as the BBC/Guardian have been used to push the message they want us to hear. Market solutions too uncertain we are told. How about command and control solutions using fictional international law? How about bypassing the People and using binding treaties instead?

    It is no wonder why many people, especially those on the Right of politics – are sceptical.

    The trouble is, just like the eu problem and immigration, the majority of us have been left behind while the BBC and its friends have cosy fire-side chats.

    Despite what appear to be recent efforts for BBC News to be more balanced on environmental issues, the rest of the corporation has run away with itself, pumping out green propaganda. This is especially evident in output aimed at younger audiences. This propaganda tends to undermine any efforts made by BBC journalists to make amends mistakes of the past.

    The environment is too important to be hijacked by a few BBC journos/editors/managers and their friends. We need unfettered facts. If this can only be achieved by a major culling of BBC management and journalists then so be it.

  • Comment number 45.

    There are currently 44 posts on this blog with just short of 40 of them expressing various degrees of scepticism about so-called anthropogenic global warming (AGW) and about the perceived bias of the BBC against sceptical commentators. In general, I agree with those views. I am a scientist of mature years, versed in its methods and thinking. I am also a former referee for the Chemical Society and have published a small number of papers in the chemical areas. I have spent considerable time over the last 18 months reviewing thousands of blogs, published papers, basic science, and rants and raves from all constituencies to the debate. I have found NO convincing or credible evidence that mankind, through its use of fossil fuels and subsequent production of carbon dioxide, is contributing either at all or even marginally to global climate change.

    As a scientist, I am appalled at the way some in the scientific community have used and abused statistics, scientific method and their professional positions. As a former reviewer, I am appalled at the way information used to bolster published papers has been withheld from scrutiny by the wider scientific community (re McIntyre v Briffa, Mann et al.). The lack of transparency of methods, the hiding of computer code, the "loss" of embarrassing results are all shameful.

    But, all of this is of no import to the BBC and the main stream media, so long as they can peddle alarmism and give it a veneer of respectability.

    I would make three further points. First, in view of the Professor Nutt affair, those scientists who have allied themselves with AGW and its political implications would do well to remember that politicians have no sense of loyalty. It is a concept alien to those in power. Once the job is done, the treaties and taxes in place, society coerced into thinking that it is responsible for a non-existent disaster far in the future, then the alarmists will be redundant. Indeed, they will become a liability because they might just see their errors and start to recant. So, they will become expendable. No more super-computers for the MET Office, no more huge grants for University of East Anglia, no more limelight, no more trips to far-flung places, the science will have been settled.

    Second, if the AGW proponents can try to suspend their beliefs for say 5 minutes and try to imagine climate change occurring without mankind's contribution (as they would see it). What do you think the Government's response would be? You will probably dismiss such a question as hypothetical, academic, or meaningless, but it is not. Climate does change, as sceptics point out, and such change may be severe. What are you going to do about it if humankind is not to blame?

    Finally, one of the contributers above, DavidCognito, is disparaging of sceptic views. From the tone and style of his comments I believe he contributes to a number of other blogs under different names. However, he does make an important point regarding learned societies and their adoption of a pro-warmist stance. I have to point out that the governing bodies of such societies may well take such a view, but most such societies do not consult their members.

  • Comment number 46.

    The votes are in. Yesterday the Times front page noted that only 41% of people in the UK think we are directly responsible for climate change. I feel the reason is that we have been brought up with the well worn term "There is no scientific evidence that......" thus if someone could tell me:

    How much CO2 reduction will it take to reverse the trend (and about a million other questions like it)?

    I might start to believe it.

    It worries me that a global unstppable trend will have devastating effects and if the Governments of the world stopped telling the tide not to come in and started spending a fraction of whats been splashed on the credit crunch the we might lessen the effects in areas we care about.

    Cynically, this way the Superpowers get the peasant to pay for the (inevitable) fossil fuel switch off whilst diverting us demanding that they do something to help the 3rd world from drown and drought.

    Thats why we don't believe them - lack of credibile evidence and we know it.

  • Comment number 47.

    It would be wonderful if the BBC gave a balanced airing to opinion on climate change instead of favouring The (significant human-made global climate change) Hypothesis. There are many of us who are highly sceptical of what is said by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). There has been no convincing evidence provided that any climate change that we may be experiencing across the globe is anything other than the natural change experienced between all previous ice ages. The last ice age was only a few thousand years ago and it has been slowly warming ever since. What's new?

    The UN's Copenhagen Conference has two major objectives with nothing to do with climate change:
    - redistribution of wealth from developed to underdeveloped economies,
    - establishment of a framework for future global government.

    Give Lord Monkton an airing.

  • Comment number 48.

    What Pete says is very correct. Greg here in America, and the Climatic change they talk about on the mainstream news programs save for Fox News is all a bunch of hot air, excuse the pun. It is all about government striving to usurp more power from the people and take away our liberty. Global warming my foot.
    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

  • Comment number 49.

    Part of the issue is that many people think we are still discussing "Global Warming" rather than "Climate Change" and base their opinions on their own (localised) personal experience. This is especially so of the UK as we "bask" in the relative warmth of the Gulf Stream, any variation or fluctuation of which is likely to see massive drops in temperature. The natural cycle of this planet has seen extremes of temperature at both ends of the structure where life was almost extinguished from the planet. Volcanic activity also makes Mankinds contribution seem negligible. However, both of these arguments ignore the fact that what we're trying to preserve are the conditions to ensure Civilisation or at least survival of the human race. If we preserve our environment (or at least live harmoniously within it) there just might be enough of that environment left to afford survival in the event of near cataclysmic "natural" geological events, the sceptics use to "prove" Anthropogenic Climate Change doesn't exist.
    It took the Germans and Scandinavian countries decades to prove (to UK sceptics) that their "Acid Rain" problems originated from the UK. We have used up whatever "safety margin" we have and we are overdue a change in geomagnetic polarity, fluctuating solar activity and unpredictable tectonic activity.
    Our current levels of technology and the available resources could provide a decent living to everyone currently on the planet if we had fair & equitable distribution of wealth. This would correspondingly lead to a decrease in the population expansion rate, because the inbuilt reaction to a harsh environment with high infant mortality is to increase the breeding rate.
    The other problem in the UK is the wholesale belief (strengthened by politicians and the media) that a "Scientific Opinion" is only equal to anyone else's opinion (that's Democracy, innit). This opinion is to be ignored when politically expedient,and ridiculed at every opportunity,e.g. "stating the bleeding obvious" University studies, labelling as "geeks", the belief that "Blue Sky Research" is a waste of money and that funding should only go to projects using already obsolete technology (i.e. The ones that "Business Interests" can see "profit" in.) On Dragons Den an engineer turned up with a gearbox he claimed was 100% more efficient than existing models. They turned him down because they didn't understand what he was offering, potentially Wind Farms with double the power output, 100mpg cars as standard, improvements in power generation generally. Rejected because of lack of "Commercial Viability" (as seen through Business eyes).
    The 'Capitalists' and their army of Bean Counterstruly run the world now.

  • Comment number 50.

    Here is today's example of reporting bias:

    Greenland ice loss 'accelerating'

    The Greenland ice sheet is losing its mass faster than in previous years and making an increasing contribution to sea level rise, a study has confirmed.

    Published in the journal Science, it has also given scientists a clearer view of why the sheet is shrinking.

    The team used weather data, satellite readings and models of ice sheet behaviour to analyse the annual loss of 273 thousand million tonnes of ice.

    Melting of the entire sheet would raise sea levels globally by about 7m (20ft).


    The last sentence about the entire ice sheet melting was just slipped in by the BBC author. None of the studies mentions this angle. The scientists are not talking about all the ice melting. Nobody except the BBC author is talking about all the ice melting.

    The scientists are trying to estimate the rate of melt today and comparing this to other estimates and estimates of other times.

    I would also take issue with the use of "confirm" in the opening sentence. You can only confirm something by direct observation. This study is an estimate that confirms nothing.

    "My guess confirmed Fred's guess"

  • Comment number 51.

    "Even if it would reduce CO2 to an 'acceptable level' we should be trying to stop our emissions completely."

    Interesting. Last time I tried that, I suffocated.

  • Comment number 52.

    #43. Colonicus42:

    And one might interpret this as showing that upper-middle class voters, who always score higher on IQ tests designed by and for them, have both the time and money to play at being "Green". Meanwhile, the rest of us are living in the real world and trying to scratch a living.

    That may, of course, be pure rowlocks, but it's consistent with the data.



  • Comment number 53.

    I welcome the government's current ad campaign on climate. The latest figures show the world is warming quicker than expected. Now is the time to just act rather than talk: reduce C0 emissions and plant some trees. It's national tree week soon (see the BBC's Tree O'Clock) - the perfect time to leave your car at home and get planting, or get someone to do it for you, e.g. the Woodland Trust or Woodland Friends.

  • Comment number 54.

    "The latest figures show the world is warming quicker than expected." Err, which figures and who expected what?

  • Comment number 55.

    #54

    Thank you Mike. Actually, the latest figures show the exact opposite, but why let facts get in the way of a good story?

    Nothing wrong with planting trees, mind. It just doesn't need the fertiliser beforehand.

  • Comment number 56.

    #53 to #55

    Who knows what the figures "show"? Are we plugged into every darned nuance of our environment, our star system, our galaxy? Nothing wrong with wanting a "cleaner" planet; problem is what do we mean by "cleaner"?

  • Comment number 57.

    Alistair,

    I received a good UK scientific university education in the early sixties. Many of my peer group received a similar education. It is my impression that the majority of my peers are sceptical about AGW.

    The BBC, with its extensive news-gathering capacity, could do the UK a service by surveying my peer group, educated in the hard sciences, maths and statistics, to find out whether or not my impression is based on fact.

    I agree, by the way, nothing wrong with trees!



  • Comment number 58.

    " 52. At 8:17pm on 16 Nov 2009, Spiny Norman wrote:
    #43. Colonicus42:

    And one might interpret this as showing that upper-middle class voters, who always score higher on IQ tests designed by and for them, have both the time and money to play at being "Green". Meanwhile, the rest of us are living in the real world and trying to scratch a living.

    That may, of course, be pure rowlocks, but it's consistent with the data."

    Well I'm from a mining family in the south wales valleys and have an IQ of 162 so.... Anyway, the only reason IQ tests are designed by 'upper middle class' people is because anyone who works in the related fields are usually fairly well paid and end up being called middle class. I hate using class as a definition, it doesn't mean anything, all it tells you is how successful you are.

    Also, IQ tests are the accepted way of working out your analyitical intelligence. Ok there are other forms of intellegence that are arguably more important, emotional, perception, memory etc. And they arn't necesarily perfect, you get different scores from different tests and as with any test it only tests you on that day at that time.
    However the data does show a definate link between the lib dems and the greens and a high IQ score, 5 points is actually an outwardly noticable difference.

    The implication from your point is that there is a link between upper middle class and voting green/libral. So your saying that those who are, generally, better educated vote for environmental or liberal ideas. Just kinda proves the same point I was making from a different angle.

    What you are saying doesn't fit the data, it fit the data but also makes a massive unfounded assumption about the data and doesn't take all of the data into account.

  • Comment number 59.

    @ goldCaesar, post #19;

    "Most of the people commenting have absolutely no interest in anything that might dispove their own conspiracy theories, and are actually offended by the presentation of opposing arguments by the BBC."

    Indeed; I would say that roughly half the comments so far can be roughly translated as "The BBC is biased and wrong because it's not exclusively reporting the view that I, in my infinite wisdom, have decided is correct". (Which is, let's face it, no different from 99% of the allegations of "BBC bias" which tend to clog up every discussion on these blogs!)

    It's not the BBC's job to decide right from wrong on an issue like this. Merely to report on what's being said by the scientists. And, whether some of you might like it or not, there are far more scientists speaking out in favour of the various climate change theories, than there are sceptics. That's just the way it is - it's not the BBC's fault, or anybody else's.

    Which is not to say that the sceptics' position is necessarily invalid, nor that it shouldn't be examined; merely that the BBC are in the difficult position of being expected to provide "balance" on an issue which is, inherently, not balanced.

    And they do this very well - they give the majority of airtime to the majority viewpoint, but also dedicate occasional reports to the sceptics' position.

    The "right" and "wrong" of each argument is up to us - the readers/viewers - to decide, not the BBC. So please stop criticising them for not solely putting forward whichever view each of you so badly want to be the truth.

    Here's a hint - if you're scared of seeing viewpoints that oppose your own, it's usually a sign that your viewpoints are, basically, a load of poorly-conceived rubbish.

  • Comment number 60.

    "they give the majority of airtime to the majority viewpoint"

    Precisely my point. How do you know it is the majority viewpoint? It is certainly not according to the latest Times poll. Nor in my scientifically-educated and practically experienced peer group. I have absolutely no problem whatsoever with seeing viewpoints which oppose my own. I have seen nothing from the BBC about the dodgy tree-ring thermometer statistics and the scandalous withholding of data.

    Kind regards

  • Comment number 61.

    Ha ha ha a Russian icebreaker carrying over 100 tourists, scientists and journalists on a cruise around Antarctica was struggling to free itself from sea ice but was not in any danger, a shipping company said Tuesday. Now a Russian news agency said that a BBC camera crew filming a documentary about the Antarctic was also on board.

    Here’s the link:

    https://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gmsVpgaIiXXnNyJXTyVsKrxNyYhwD9C1BGFG0

    For years the BBC’s key message is that the ice caps are melting and have inserted this message into their programmes at any given opportunity.

    However that wasn't supposed to happen now, was it Beebiods?

    Man-made Global Warming works in mysterious ways.

  • Comment number 62.

    Ex-Beeboid,

    You have made a very good point. I have searched the BBC News website and, despite apparently having an in-house BBC documentary film crew on board, there is no mention of this, in my opinion, newsworthy event. The BBC seems to have a bias towards only reporting melting events.

  • Comment number 63.

    #59

    I think the comments at #61 and #62 rather suggest that the BBC has "formed an opinion" about "what is news" which is quite different to reporting what various scientists, politicians, people, sheep and goats think about the climate. Has it become fashionable for journalism to pay into the "league tables of accountability" (popularity) so beloved by our image ridden society?

    Since when was a majority such an effective measure of efficacy? Didn't Darwin face torpor, challenge and ridicule from his scientist colleagues at first?

  • Comment number 64.

    I would suggest the popular media, and I will not mention names, please choose, are more intent on bringing to our attention what is the most popular mis/conception of what is going on with the climate. And this includes the lies and obfuscations made by most politicians and no doubt certain scientists from the Tyndall Centre.
    Where has the wonderful speech by Lord Monckton ( St. pauls, minnesota)ever been mentioned on the BBC for one thing? Has he ever been on the news programmes or are his view so contrary to what the politicians wish us to believe there is some deep self censorship at hand in the hallowed corporation? And any other arm of the media? ITV or Sky even?
    The greatest tool of all political propaganda is to keep on message as they say, to keep bringing up one theme until it is such a common part of the collective thought patterns it s taken for granted. Thus once this threshold is reached then any rational discussion of the subject is like talking Thomas Paines 'Age of Reason' to a devout catholic. Thomas Paine is one of my great heroes of sensible rational thinking, may I say.
    The whole subject of anthropogenic climate change takes on /has taken on a religious overtone such that when this Copenhagen summit and treaty is finalized we will be even more manipulated than before and God help us thereafter. By succumbing to this climate change nonsense we become ever more enslaved to the globalist/Bilderberger agenda.
    Finally there is indeed, climate change and we have a bearing on this but FAR FAR LESS than nature herself and the sun. We have been here a few thousands of years, they have been here billions.

  • Comment number 65.

    Just to say "thanks" to Khrystalar, the author of #59. Well put!

  • Comment number 66.

    @ MikeRavenor, post #60;

    "Precisely my point. How do you know it is the majority viewpoint? It is certainly not according to the latest Times poll."

    My apologies, I should've been more clear - I was talking about the majority viewpoint of the scientific community, not the general perception of members of the public. I'm not sure that the BBC should be obliged to report something as 'fact' on the basis that some people have simply decided it's true. After all, there's plenty of wackos out there who believe that Elvis is still alive; but I wouldn't expect to see a huge amount of airtime devoted to his possible whereabouts on the BBC!

    Two points I'd make about the Times Poll, though. Apart from it being a random selection of opinions from members of the public without necessarily any scientific knowledge, I mean.

    Firstly, it DOES confirm what I wrote above - that the majority view is that the Climate is changing; that climate change is happening (83% of respondants said that). The difference of opinion being on whether it is largely man-made, of course. Note the word "largely".

    Of the vast majority who believe climate change IS happening, the largest group (41%) believe that it IS largely the fault of man. About one third (32%) of respondants believe that it's not entirely, or even mainly, our fault. (I'm in this camp, personally). 15% apparently think that the climate isn't changing at all, and I can only assume that these people have actually been living under a rock for most of their lives.

    What the poll doesn't say, is how many believe that man is having a significant effect, although we're not the main cause of global warming or climate change. This is certainly the category I'm in personally - and I would imagine a large portion of the 32% who think it's not "largely" man-made would probably also fall into this catergory. I personally have never met anybody who believes Climate Change is happening who doesn't think that man is at least contributing to it in some way. Have you?

    But whichever way you look at it; the majority view is that Climate Change is happening, that it's a pretty serious problem, and that man is having some sort of effect even if we're not largely to blame - which the majority of people who accept that it's happening, believe we are. (As proved by the poll).


    Nor in my scientifically-educated and practically experienced peer group."

    Well then by all means; feel free to put your heads together and publish your conclusions, methodology, reasons, etc. as a scientific paper for peer review - as most of the thousands of scientists "officially" commenting on the issue, both for and against, have had to.

    Otherwise, with due respect, you're just taking the attitude I parodied above - "Me and my buddies have decided that this is the truth, therefore the media must reflect our views as fact or answer to accusations of bias".

    No, I'm sorry; I would have no objection to the BBC interviewing you and giving your views airtime - that's part of it's job, after all - but you can't claim to outweigh the opinions of published and respected scientists all over the world, just because you say so.

    Pleasure discussing this with you; any further comments you have would be welcomed.

  • Comment number 67.

    Just quickly, something else I'll pull several correspondants up on, at this stage - nick-ynysmon, MikeRavenor are two of the recent ones, but there's plenty of others scattered through the discussion.

    Please stop saying "The BBC hasn't mentioned [insert random study or notable person here], that proves they're biased". It's nonsense.

    There are hundreds of thousands - maybe even millions - of voices currently expressing differing opinions on Global Warming and Climate Change. No, the Beeb hasn't covered each and every single comment made by a sceptic - they haven't covered each and every single thing done by the Climate Change theorists either. There simply isn't enough airtime; which is why they have to have a selection of some of the best-researched and most coherent studies from the different widely-held views, in order to fulfil their duty of giving us a picture of the world at large.

    I imagine that the reason many of the people people/reports you guys mentioned haven't seen the light of the day on the BBC is either because they didn't make sense, or they were simply obviously wrong - just the same as thousands of pro-GW/pro-CC fanatics who've never been mentioned on the Beeb, either.

    If you go into something looking for reasons to believe there's biased reporting going on, you'll probably find them. Whether or not they're actually there!

  • Comment number 68.

    Khrystalar

    "I was talking about the majority viewpoint of the scientific community"

    Evidence please.

    Regards

  • Comment number 69.

    There is no longer any room for "scepticism" on climate change. Just travel to the melting ice sheets and see for yourself.

    The reason some sceptics are still given airtime in the US is because American education declines further & further: all kinds of nonsense gets play there, and if it has a political camp it can feed off of, all the more so. Climate science has some bad news for the investment camps, so they do the ostrich thing and encourage others to continue playing their games even while the threats are already in plain sight.

    And because Europeans, in particular, seem very credulous and disinclined ever to think ill of Americans -- whom they tend to find devastatingly charming and irresistibly sexy in their relaxed, easygoing demeanour -- European media then believe it is only "fair" to emulate Americans who give sceptics airspace.

    In fact, it is dangerous. The science on the threats caused by human irresponsibility & waste has been incontrovertible for decades now. It is time to move on to actual practical solutions, and let the fringe bellow amongst themselves.

  • Comment number 70.

    Maria: "Just travel to the melting ice sheets and see for yourself." You could also go to the Antarctic where ice is accumulating.

  • Comment number 71.

    maria-ashot wrote:

    “The reason some sceptics are still given airtime in the US is because American education declines further & further: all kinds of nonsense gets play there, and if it has a political camp it can feed off of, all the more so.”

    Oh the irony;-)

    And please can we keep bigotry out of science, there are skeptics in Japan, India and China and I doubt you’d say the same about them.

    All

    More and more people are becoming skeptical of journalist when they talk about climate change; this is because they have been involved in scare mongering in the past. Here’s an example from a BBC link from 10 years ago, extract below:

    “These and other findings - for instance that the Antarctic ice cap is melting, and could eventually raise sea levels by 70 metres - are coming in all the time.”

    https://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/563127.stm

    Now the politicians use climate change to impose more taxes on us and other political groups use climate change to push their own political beliefs onto us.

    I still have an open mind on the subject, but I would rather listen to facts from scientist from both side of the debate.

    Now how many people here can say the same?

  • Comment number 72.

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

  • Comment number 73.

    All forgot to mention, the ten year old link tells us the Antarctic ice caps are melting yet almost ten years to the day it was written a BBC camera crew are struggling to free themselves because of freezing ice in the Antarctic.

    I bet John Simpson could never have imaged this scenario when he wrote his article.

  • Comment number 74.

    "73. At 2:12pm on 18 Nov 2009, Ex-Beebiod wrote:
    All forgot to mention, the ten year old link tells us the Antarctic ice caps are melting yet almost ten years to the day it was written a BBC camera crew are struggling to free themselves because of freezing ice in the Antarctic.

    I bet John Simpson could never have imaged this scenario when he wrote his article."
    ________________________________________________________

    Wow, thats an appauling lack of knowledge there!

    It's November!
    Winter in the northen hemisphere!
    Or the time when the north gets colder!
    The ice caps shrink every summer and expand every winter, the problem is the high and low points are getting smaller. I bet you'd get annoyed if I used the summer to prove my point!

  • Comment number 75.

    #74

    Antarctica = Southern Hemisphere.

    November 18th = late spring (one month from summer).

    But otherwise sound....

  • Comment number 76.

    It's very easy to see why there are so many so-called "skeptics". The mainstream media, and the BBC in particular, would prefer to use the word "heretic" but tyou would be hard pressed to get away with quite such a strong label.

    There are too many vested interests in the field of climate change. Didn't it use to be called "global warming" - until the greedy marketing folk discovered that the more generic label of "change" would be even less provable. There is a vast amount of money, mostly public money, to be diverted in this field in everything from spurious research grants to carbon trading to replacement products to consumers.

    The absolute distruction of the Briffa fakery has made me feel even more strongly about the smoke and mirrors. For a more readable report - since the BBC refuses to report on it - try https://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/09/29/yamal_scandal/

    The problem is that there is an entire parade of people shouting "the Emporer is wearing nothing!" but the media is ignoring those views that don't fit with their agenda. BBC guilty even more than most.

  • Comment number 77.

    @ MikeRavenor, post #68

    "Evidence please"

    Well, I'm basing my view of "majority" largely on the fact that there were over 600 seperate authors and contributors to the IPCC's 2007 Working Group Report alone - that's just the scientists who wrote ONE single report endorsing the theory of man's effect on Climate Change.

    Whereas I've been unable to find more than a handful of scientists who've publicly stated that either CC isn't happening, or that man is having little or no effect upon it. Wikipedia seems to have the most complete list, actually;

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_opposing_the_mainstream_scientific_assessment_of_global_warming

    There's about 40 names there. By all means feel free to add some other names, if you can find any more. But unless you can come up with at least 600 dissenters, to match those involved in a single report on Climate Change who endorsed the theory of man's effect, I'm afraid my assertion stands.

    While we're on the subject of proof, then; let's see YOUR evidence for the claim "The BBC has a bias towards only reporting melting events"; or for your claim that "tree-ring theorists have tried to hide data"? Or that Climate scientists are "imcompetent statisticians"? Or, indeed, any of the other claims you've made in this discussion?

    Or are you simply one of these people who bleats "show me proof!" every time somebody questions them whilst at the same time believing they have free reign to make any sort of unquantified/unqualified claim they choose, without being called upon it?

    Frankly, I hope not, because I'm enjoying this discussion - and if you're just another time waster of the sort I just mentioned, there's not a lot of point in me continuing with it.

    Hope you're well.

  • Comment number 78.

    Khrystalar: The 600 authors of whom you speak are employed in the AGW industry. That is where their grant money comes from. Confirmation bias is to be expected. That is not evidence that the majority of the scientific community support man-made global warming.

    Neither Michael Mann nor Keith Briffa would not release their tree-ring data/computer code for replication purposes. When Canadian statistician Steve McIntyre finally gained access, he was able to demolish the hockey-sticks - see the Wegman report to the US congress (I think it was). That is where the incompetent statistics comes in.

    The BBC report melting in the same way that after a major air accident they report every minor aeronautical failure for the next few weeks.

    I suggest you rely on evidence and science rather than invoking the dubious authority of the IPCC.

  • Comment number 79.

    Whoops that should read "Neither Michael Mann nor Keith Briffa would release their tree-ring data/computer ....."

  • Comment number 80.

    @ MikeRavenor, posts #78 and #79;

    "I suggest you rely on evidence and science rather than invoking the dubious authority of the IPCC."

    Mike; I'm not "invoking the authority" of the IPCC, or anybody else. I'm not saying that they're necessarily correct in their assertions. I'm merely pointing out that there are more scientists who've put their name to one single report from one single organisation in favour of the man-made climate change theory, than there are - as far as I can tell - who've ever come out for the sceptics' camp. Again, feel free to provide some supplementary evidence if you'd like to question this statement - otherwise, as I said, my assertion about "majority view" stands.

    Incidentally, something I noticed whilst searching Wikipedia for that list of sceptics' names; their main article on Global Warming Controversy makes the claim that - whilst the list of scientific bodies who've published various "man-made CC" theories is as long as your arm - not a single nationally or internationally recognised scientific body has officially come out against the man-made climate change theory. I think one did - the US Society of Petroleum Geologists, or something - but retracted their report and changed their position shortly after.

    Now, there's no reason to belive that Wikipedia is entirely accurate - anybody can edit it at any time, after all - nonetheless, I haven't been able to find one, either. Can you?

    And if not, I'd have to ask the question - why do you not think that the majority of the world's scientists who've weighed in on the Climate Change issue, have come out in favour of man's actions playing a major part? Exactly what are you basing YOUR assumptions on?

    Thanks for the info on the Hockey Sticks thing, by the way - I was wondering exactly what you meant by that when you mentioned it earlier. But now I know enough to research it, I must take grave issue with your comments about the IPCC.

    Well, not the comments in themselves - you say that people employed by an international panel on Climate Change are more likely to come out in favour of it being man-made. That's not necessarily true, but it's certainly possible.

    What I must take issue with, though, is the fact that you can push THAT assertion - that people employed in the AGW industry might fiddle their data a little bit - but fail to mention that Steve McIntyre is a long-time employee of the mineral exploration, oil and gas industries (who would surely be amongst those who have the most to lose from Climate Change legislation restricting air travel, for example, or the use of "gas guzzling" SUVs, etc.); nor that his co-author for the report you're talking about which challenged the "Hockey Stick" theory, a chap called Ross McKitrick, is a member of a right-wing think-tank called the Frasier Institute, the policies of which - as well as things like greater privatisation of public services and the removal of gun control restrictions - include opposition to climate change legislation?

    Surely, then, this report you're talking about is equally - if not more - likely to suffer from "conformation bias", given that both authors are employed by parties with a vested interest in proving GW data to be flawed...? How come you didn't mention THAT while you were claiming that Mann & Briffa's conclusions had been "demolished" in Congress?

    Incidentally, this wasn't the Wegman report - that came later. Mann was asked to testify before a special Senate Sub-Committee as to why he hadn't released all the data to McIntyre. His response, I believe, was basically that he thought McIntyre was simply looking for reasons to discredit his work for his own ends - not an uncommon complaint in the scientific community, I'm afraid - rather than seeking any sort of scientific understanding. The committee asked him to produce all his data and he did indeed make it publically available.

    A seperate Committee was then set up to investigate the data and came to the conlusion that, whilst there a few minor errors, these were not enough to have any real effect on the eventual model. How this translates to McIntyre "demolishing the hockey-stick theory", in your mind, is beyond me to guess.

    And the part you wrote about the BBC and the "melting" thing isn't proof; it's just another of your opinions. For "proof" you need to provide at leat some sort of point of reference that can be checked - not simply say "Yes, they do it, they definitely do it, because I say so!"

    Hope you're well, Mr Ravenor!

  • Comment number 81.

    @ Angel_in_Transit, post #76;

    "Antarctica = Southern Hemisphere.

    November 18th = late spring (one month from summer)"


    Indeed; except that summer is only 3 months long in Antartica. Spring and Autum last barely a month; the rest of the year being entirely winter. It's late spring there now, yes. A couple of weeks ago, it eas EARLY spring. A week before that, it was still winter.

    But, here's a challenge for yourself, Mike, Colonicus, Beeboid and Maria, if they're still reading; let's see if any of you actually have any scientific acumen to backup your various assertions, eh?

    Anybody with the most basic grasp of chemistry should be able to give me a reason why the melting of the ice-caps should logically be followed, after X-amount of time, by a sudden re-freezing - leaving aside for now the question of whether GW was to blame for the melting in the first place. Can anybody tell me what it is? Anyone?

    If you need a hint; try a little sodium chloride.

  • Comment number 82.



    Khrystalar:

    I am quite well thank you. Science is not done by consensus. I think by the way you mean "confirmation bias" not "conformation bias". I think you mean both authors were employed - in the mining industry. Why does that prevent them from making objective criticism? It seems to me that Mann and Briffa have been demolished by McIntyre. You are entitled to your opinion, but your opinion lowers mine of you.

    "I noticed whilst searching Wikipedia For starters." For goodness sake. Wikipedia! Some scientist. "Then came the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine’s Petition Project of 2001, which far surpassed all previous efforts and by all rights should have settled the issue of whether the science was settled on climate change. To establish that the effort was bona fide, and not spawned by kooks on the fringes of science, as global warming advocates often label the skeptics, the effort was spearheaded by Dr. Frederick Seitz, past president of the National Academy of Sciences and of Rockefeller University, and as reputable as they come.
    The Oregon petition garnered an astounding 17,800 signatures, a number all the more astounding because of the unequivocal stance that these scientists took: Not only did they dispute that there was convincing evidence of harm from carbon dioxide emissions, they asserted that Kyoto itself would harm the global environment because “increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.”"

    As an aside, I first started researching CAGW properly in 2007 after Mr Gore flew (in his private jet, I believe, but am not sure) into Edinburgh (Scotland) to give a 40 minute presentation to the British National Association of Pension Funds investment conference, at which I was a delegate. He made a terrible impression with his ad hominem attacks on critics of his extreme viewpoint. He then flew out again (in his private jet, I believe, but am not sure). His mind-blowing hypocrisy rang alarm bells all over the conference floor.

    Kind regards




  • Comment number 83.

    Khrystalar

    And

    Like the Heidelberg Appeal, the Oregon petition was blown away. But now it is blowing back. Original signatories to the petition and others, outraged at Kyoto’s corruption of science, wrote to the Oregon Institute and its director, Arthur Robinson, asking that the petition be brought back.
    “E-mails started coming in every day,” he explained. “And they kept coming. “ The writers were outraged at the way Al Gore and company were abusing the science to their own ends. “We decided to do the survey again.”
    Using a subset of the mailing list of American Men and Women of Science, a who’s who of Science, Robinson mailed out his solicitations through the postal service, requesting signed petitions of those who agreed that Kyoto was a danger to humanity. The response rate was extraordinary, “much, much higher than anyone expected, much higher than you’d ordinarily expect,” he explained. He’s processed more than 31,000 at this point, more than 9,000 of them with PhDs, and has another 1,000 or so to go — most of them are already posted on a Web site at petitionproject.org.
    Why go to this immense effort all over again, when the press might well ignore the tens of thousands of scientists who are standing up against global warming alarmism?
    “I hope the general public will become aware that there is no consensus on global warming,” he says, “and I hope that scientists who have been reluctant to speak up will now do so, knowing that they aren’t alone.”
    At one level, Robinson, a PhD scientist himself, recoils at his petition. Science shouldn’t be done by poll, he explains. “The numbers shouldn’t matter. But if they want warm bodies, we have them.”
    Some 32,000 scientists is more than the number of environmentalists that descended on Rio in 1992. Is this enough to establish that the science is not settled on global warming? The press conference releasing these names occurs on Monday at the National Press Club in Washington.

    Read more: https://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/fpcomment/archive/2008/05/17/32-000-deniers.aspx
    The New Financial Post Stock Market Challenge starts in October. You could WIN your share of $60,000 in prizing. Register NOW

  • Comment number 84.

    "81. At 8:44pm on 18 Nov 2009, Khrystalar wrote:

    @ Angel_in_Transit, post #76;

    "Antarctica = Southern Hemisphere.

    November 18th = late spring (one month from summer)"

    Indeed; except that summer is only 3 months long in Antartica. Spring and Autum last barely a month; the rest of the year being entirely winter. It's late spring there now, yes. A couple of weeks ago, it eas EARLY spring. A week before that, it was still winter.

    But, here's a challenge for yourself, Mike, Colonicus, Beeboid and Maria, if they're still reading; let's see if any of you actually have any scientific acumen to backup your various assertions, eh?

    Anybody with the most basic grasp of chemistry should be able to give me a reason why the melting of the ice-caps should logically be followed, after X-amount of time, by a sudden re-freezing - leaving aside for now the question of whether GW was to blame for the melting in the first place. Can anybody tell me what it is? Anyone?

    If you need a hint; try a little sodium chloride."

    ________________________________________

    Boy did I make me-self look silly.

    Ok I missread the post, but still an ice-self is an 'Ice' shelf. Nightly re-freezing happens, as do cold snaps in the local weather.

    Anyway, I assume your pointing out that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than pure water (I believe that sea water actually freezes at about -4C, may be wrong though). The salt water change in the ocean would indead reduce it's salinity and therefore increase it's freezing point.

    The difference however would be very small, but indeed may actually level the melting out at a point. There would not be any rapid re-freezing, and any change in global temperatures (which incidentally may happen because the ice will have melted, the white ice shelfs reflect light and water absorbs) would shift the balance, if the area is hotter and the freezing point is higher they will cancel out each other effect slightly. There would however be significantly less ice on average and there may potentially be a significant sea level increase. Also in any system like this there would not be an 'on off' situation as you describe, there would be a more analog style variation.

    There is also the problem of salt water and fresh water having different densities, this is the basic reason for the great atlantic conveyer, upset the ballance on one end and it may stop, there is some evidence that this has occured in the past. The gulf stream is inextricably linked with the conveyer and if it stops we would have a local climate much like the east coast of canada and north USA, which is much colder in winter than the UK.

    Now your queiry about scientific acumen, I happen to be a university graduate, I happen to have studied Astrophysics, I happen to have done a Masters degree, I happen to have gotten a 2:1, I also happen to have an IQ of 162, I currently work in intelectual property law and have a big (slightly geeky to be honest) interest in planetary physics and climate science. My sister has a 1st class Masters in Chemistry and is curently doing a Phd. I am very good friends with people who are doing, or have done, PhDs in subjects like quantum mechanics and Genetics. We frequently end up chatting about research that has been done in all sorts of scientific subjects. I'm actually one of those wierd people that enjoys learning new things, especially if it proves or indicates something that goes against my current knowledge.

    I've gone out of my way to read as many scientific papers as I can on the subject, and not just the sorts of papers that are mentioned in the press and freqently brought up in debates and have specifically looked at both sides of the argument in detail (I used to think there was a potenitial outside effect from orbit changes or changes in the suns activity, but that doesn't weight up when you look at the evidence). I mean the actually research, the actually guts of the reports not just the abstracts and conclusions that the press focus on. Most of the mainstream science doesn't get the press interest but just slots into the body of research and evidence supporting the view that climate change is happening, that it could have massive consequences and that it is in all probability massivly effected by man made effects.

    I really do hope that the thousands of people who have done this sort of research haave gotten it totally wrong, but from my knowledge of the basic and fundamental science involved and the evidence that is available it looks like they are mostly pretty much right.

  • Comment number 85.

    A few things convince me that climate change is more of a profitable & political opportunity than such a serious threat.

    1. If the threat is as real and as great as stated by political/media propaganda then why is the reaction to it so tepid, especially as all government propaganda data & evidence points to such supposid gigantuous national damage namely:-

    a)loss of productive industrial land to rising seas
    b)reduction in food production
    c)increase in seriousness and regularity of floods
    d)loss of significant national coastal assets
    e)growth in flood repair/damage expense
    f)reduced land for housing
    g)major & expensive disruption & dislocation to society
    h) progressive constant/regular increases in all the above

    2.Why is the threat not responded to with the same instant reaction & resources as a military threat.

    3. Why, in building more nuclear powerstations to combat emissions, WHY are they mainly being built
    a) on old existing sites and
    b) on new sites

    in coastal areas which are stated by climate change information/facts to be areas that will be lost to rising seas.

    4.Why are not ALL significant developments, housing/industrial etc , especially in most threatened areas, made to take account of expected & stated flooding & land loss and counter measures taken/added to ensure the security of these developments.

    5.If the threat & dangers are as stated, why is there not a climate change (war) cabinet.

    6.Why are resources being directed at building new & more nuclear & coal/gas powerstations when once built, they will still waste 25% of all generated electricity transmitted down present overhead pylons as well as being in many locations that are at risk.

    7.Just by solely changing electricity transmission cables to an underground buried network, it will reduce use of combined fuels, coal/gas & nuke by 25%+ also greatly reduce the transport to power statiions emissions, also ultimately reduce prices by 25% & ultimately reduce required electricity energy output by 25%+.

    I just do not understand the total lack of rationality in UK energy policy, because it just does not fit in with governments own facts & statistics & propaganda information, or long term sustainability.

    Either the world is secretly expected to end or there is a capitalist or other energy conspiracy or government are just totally negligent irresponsible & inept

  • Comment number 86.

    85. At 00:31am on 19 Nov 2009, MrWonderfulReality

    Ah you are forgetting the fundamental fact that politicians are inept and don't listen to scientific advise until it reaches the point where they have to to avoid losing money.

  • Comment number 87.

    @ MikeRavenor, post #82;

    "I think you mean both authors were employed - in the mining industry. Why does that prevent them from making objective criticism?"

    Well... for the same reason that - apparently - the 600+ scientists I mentioned in connection with the IPCC report are 'likely to suffer "confirmation bias", because their grant money comes from the AGW industry', as you asserted above.

    By which I mean; it doesn't, necessarily. Nevertheless, it could well do. Just like McIntyre and McKitrick.

    All I'm saying is that you can't, on the one hand, dismiss the pro-CC scientists as being "biased" because they're in the pay of people who may have vested interests, without applying that same sceptism to the anti-CC crowd. Not if you're attempting to be objective in any real sense. It's just silly.

    "I noticed whilst searching Wikipedia For starters." For goodness sake. Wikipedia! Some scientist. "

    Indeed. I noticed, as I said, whilst finding that list of names on Wikipedia that they claimed there were no recognised scientific bodies on record as opposing Global Warming. I did point out that Wikipedia is far from being guarenteed accurate; quite where you get the impression that I'm using it as a scientific source - which I assume you are, as you appear to be using that as an excuse to berate my 'scientific prowess' - I have no idea. You should try reading what's actually there, rather than making stuff up. I just wondered if you knew of any such bodies who had.

    On, then, to your point - you named the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, in support of your assertion; the OISM, however, is not a nationally or internationally recognised scientific body; it's a small, self-proclaimed 'research institute' run from a tiny farm just outside of Oregon. It lists eight members in it's faculty, at least two of which have been dead for some time.

    The paper upon which the petition was based has never been peer-reviewd anywhere outside of the members of the OISM; nor has it ever been accepted for publication in any scientific journal (the best they managed was a "review" of the paper in some science magazine or other). It came in for much criticism because it appeared to have been designed - down to the typeface and formatting - to look exactly like a report from the National Academy of Sciences (which IS an internationally-recognised scientific body). When many of the scientists who had signed realised what it was they were actually basing their signatures on, many angrily demanded to be removed. The likeness to a genuine release from the NAS was so complete - it was even signed off by an ex-president of the organisation - that the National Academy was forced to make a press release shortly after the report came out, reassuring people that the NAS had not, in fact, completely reversed its position on the GW issue.

    Also; a large number of the names on the list - difficult to tell exactly how many, but I understand that it's many thousands - aren't even scientists at all, let alone scientists with any experience in Climatology; the only requirement for signing was having a batchelors degree in some sort of scientific discipline. Dentists, fitness instructors and even IT professionals qualified under those terms; all of whom were found on the petition.

    Still, this is the closest you've come so far to providing any sort of proof for your assertions that there are more than just a handful of scientist-dissenters from the man-made climate change theory, so I guess I should at least give you credit for trying. It's not really a list of scientists who opposed the generally accepted theories, though, is it? It's more of a list of random degree students, many of whose names were obtained under dubious pretenses.

    So I'll ask again - do you know of any recognised scientific bodies who have officially come out against the established man-made climate change theory?

    Have a good evening, my friend.

  • Comment number 88.

    @ Colonicus42, post #84;

    "Anyway, I assume your pointing out that salt water freezes at a lower temperature than pure water (I believe that sea water actually freezes at about -4C, may be wrong though). The salt water change in the ocean would indead reduce it's salinity and therefore increase it's freezing point."

    Quite right, well done! I wondered if anyone would actually get it; clearly, you do have some genuine scientific prowess.

    Indeed, as the ice melts, it dilutes the seawater slightly and therefore raises its freezing point. Hence, after a long period of the antarctic (or arctic, for that matter) ice melting, we would expect to see re-freezing, for exactly this reason. (I guess you're right, too - it wouldn't necessarily be 'sudden', I don't know why I said that!)

    I wonder how long Angel and Beeboid would've gone on ranting before they realised that, far from disproving the Climate Change/Global Warming theories in respect of the polar ice caps by bringing up this story, they're actually highlighting an effect which is predicted by them...

    But then - as I believe somebody else said, above - this is the problem with calling the theory "Global Warming" in the first place. It encourages the less educated members of society to believe that the name means that every time they find an instance of it getting cold, somewhere, this means they've "proved" Global Warming to be fake...

    Anyway, bed-time for me. Thanks for your response.

  • Comment number 89.

    I laughed when I ran across the remark about balanced content on the BBC. The very fact that you refer to those who regard the greenhouse gas issue as "skeptics" reveals your bias. How very good of you to feel that in the interests of fair play you should present some dismissive reports of their views.

    In the interest of "balance" should we not refer to those (like the BBC) who howl unceasingly about climate change as "zealots?"

    In the end, as China follows it's policy of relentless development, massive growth and spreads it's tentacles to the developing world, it won't matter whether you are a climate change zealot or a skeptic...there will be a MASSIVE explosion of CO2 and pollution of air, land and water in the next few decades that this issue is irrelevant.

    Copenhagen is about taxation. A great new way to tax people, MASSIVE new agencies, new power bases, more contracts to award, more influence. It is a politicians wet dream!

    I was in Kyoto when the protocol was worked out and believe me, it was a joke in Japan after the protocol was announced. A feel-good exercise that no-one took seriously. The US quite rightly rejected it, Japan rejected it.

    The US isn't going to check China's expansionism, so you can kiss your fantasies about reduced emissions goodbye! But not the taxes! You had better LOVE to pay new taxes, live with more government regulation, red tape, bureaucracy because that is rolling toward you like a jugernaut!

  • Comment number 90.


    Perhaps there is some truth in clichés such as 'history repeats itself' and 'there is nothing new'? And that the debate on mankinds impact on climate is no exception?

    A propos of which, I really enjoyed a recent article in the NYT, which features no lesser personage than Benjamin Franklin debating man's impact on weather patterns back in the 18th century! (he asserted that the clearing of forests by settlers was disturbing local weather).

    If the moderators allow, the article can be found at: https://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/18/opinion/18gelber.html?scp=1&sq=franklin%20climate&st=cse

    Otherwise, search for "Ben Franklin on Global Warming" by Ben Gelber, published in the new York Times on 17 November 2009.

  • Comment number 91.

    Re #90 - sorry, it was Thomas Jefferson who argued the bit about the forests.

  • Comment number 92.

    #81

    The seasons are fixed by the Sun's position on the Ecliptic; regardless of where you are the season's occur at the same time Spring/Fall = 21 March approx; Summer/Winter = 21 June approx; Fall/Spring = 21 Sept approx and Winter/Summer = 21 December approx. The length of day and night are determined by latitude and season. The harshness of the weather is determined by local conditions at that latitude. Both poles are incredibly harsh and risky environments at any time of year.

    If we can agree on something it is that, for some reason, the planet appears to be getting warmer in a very short observation period. We also know that, aside from burning and processing fossil fuel, we have been polluting with chemicals from our waste products for an indeterminate time. Technology has enabled us to engage many "short term" fixes, and despite our closeness to nature we worry about the deaths of those dear to us. We constantly hear about "increasing longevity". Our diets are, perhaps, more sophisticated than ever before. Some are healthier physically than ever before but, perhaps, less so mentally (than ever before).

    So we have become more impatient, anxious, and demanding than ever before. We have an intense idea of pseudo-intelligence and we are much less truthful. We have twisted the logic of selfishness via the "me, me, me" syndrome. There is a theme here about human nature and what has gone AWOL in our recent history and what has become more influential in our lives. I suggest nature may be telling us that what has gone missing should never have been thrown away.

  • Comment number 93.

    Angel_in_Transit #92

    "the planet appears to be getting warmer in a very short observation period"

    I don't think that is correct. It is only imperfect (to say the least) climate models which are projecting rapid warming on the basis of unproven assumptions.

  • Comment number 94.

    #93

    Thank you for pointing out the "risk" of climate models. I did use the words "appears" and "very short" in an attempt to point out the "vagueness" of our knowledge. Perhaps I was trying to convey the thoughts of the average Jo in the street who is basking in warm weather at times of year when s/he may have expected otherwise. That science is preying on our "natural" ignorance is, in my opinion, indisputable.

    Perhaps the last great "readers" of nature have left our consciousness for good although, in Siberia for example, there may be a few who can still tell us what is "really" going on. But they are not scientists are they?

  • Comment number 95.

    What happened to global dimming? I've heard it's been reversed, we now have global brightening!

    Bright and informed people..., ready to scrutinise what's been served by the administrate whose ranks are filled with treasonous and murderous enemies of our kind kind.

  • Comment number 96.

    @ Angel_in_Transit, post #92;

    "If we can agree on something it is that, for some reason, the planet appears to be getting warmer in a very short observation period. We also know that, aside from burning and processing fossil fuel, we have been polluting with chemicals from our waste products for an indeterminate time."

    Indeed; this is what gets me about those who seem to think that man's actions are having no effect - or even a very minimal effect - on the environment. As you say; we've been putting not only CO2, but also many other chemicals, toxins and agents, into our environment for so many years now, it's difficult to understand how anybody could possibly think that we're NOT having an effect on the world around us.

    Re; your comments on Antarctica's seasons - I think you may be right, although I'm not sure. I looked around on Google; there's actually a few different explanations of how the seasons work down there, it seems. National Geographic, for instance - whom one might expect to be fairly accurate with this sort of thing - seem to think that there are only two seasons, winter and summer, with the winter's being very long and the summers only lasting a matter of months.

    But I did find the blog of a climate scientist actually working at some sort of research base in Antarctica, who explained the mechanics almost exactly the same way you did; which is good enough for me.

    As for the rest; interesting and thought-provoking stuff. Thanks.

    Hope you're well.

  • Comment number 97.

    " 93. At 09:21am on 19 Nov 2009, MikeRavenor wrote:
    Angel_in_Transit #92

    "the planet appears to be getting warmer in a very short observation period"

    I don't think that is correct. It is only imperfect (to say the least) climate models which are projecting rapid warming on the basis of unproven assumptions."

    And 8 of the 10 warmest years on record were in the last 15 years, and yes 1998 was a freak high point.

  • Comment number 98.

    #97 "And 8 of the 10 warmest years on record were in the last 15 years, and yes 1998 was a freak high point." So? The earth is emerging from an ice age. Temperature records do not exist for the MWP or the Roman Warming or the numerous warm epochs before. What do you suggest is the correct earth temperature?

    On another point, Mr Gore's new book of science fiction, 'Our Choice', has a delicious picture of a hurricane off Florida spinning clockwise. Novel! Come on BBC, report that! (See it at WUWT)

  • Comment number 99.

    "98. At 3:21pm on 19 Nov 2009, MikeRavenor wrote:
    #97 "And 8 of the 10 warmest years on record were in the last 15 years, and yes 1998 was a freak high point." So? The earth is emerging from an ice age. Temperature records do not exist for the MWP or the Roman Warming or the numerous warm epochs before. What do you suggest is the correct earth temperature?"

    So?

    Brilliant argument that!

    Anyway, yes we are coming out of an ice age, but changes in the climate on that sort of level happen on geological timescales of many generations.
    The problem isn't that the earth is getting warmer it's that it's getting warmer much quicker than we think it should be, there are some serious implications to that and it's probably being made alot worse by human effects.
    The same arguement is true of your challange of what the right temperature for the earth should be. The temperature isn't the problem, its the speed of the change.

  • Comment number 100.

    Indian Philosophy says every things in this world has an END. Present civilization may also have an end. Climate change is no more a speculation or prediction. It has emerged as a reality and it can be felt in every corner of the World. Technology and and it's unruly adoption may have lead us into this disastrous path. We can calmly wait till the end or we may adopt to act( The Karma).I don't see any hopes in Copenhagen submit etc. With the development of science and technological advances we could have able to carve a beautiful World. But where we failed? We must think about the problem in totality............saroj mishra

 

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