Climate heresy

  (27 November 09)
  by Greg Spearritt

There are plenty of people now arguing that that global warming is not happening, or that it’s not caused by humans: Clive James, Andrew Bolt, Ian Plimer, the whole of the National Party and most of the Libs among them. Is this a heresy? And does it matter?

 

It is, and it does.

 

………..

 

7 comments

Greg makes an important point about the heresy of climate change skeptics - but only if the mainstream is clearly correct.

I'm a heretic - a skeptic - on this matter largely because of the Climategate incident from East Anglia.

The science of climate change - anthropogenic warming - has been challenged in a very significant way, by calling into question the way these people have done the science.

Just two sources to have a look at:
http://scienceandpublicpolicy.org/originals/climategate.html

http://www.drroyspencer.com/2009/11/my-top-10-annoyances-in-the-climate-change-debate/

Implementing what some governments and the IPCC want will cost us dearly in standards of living in the West. We need to be assured the science is correct.

Right now we can't be.

Posted by Scott McKenzie

Scott is right: we have to have confidence in "the science". However, I don't believe that means being completely assured that it's correct: given what's at stake, we need to act on the probability that it is.

As my article stresses, the problem with the climate sceptics is that their work doesn't go through the time-honoured processes of science: that is, it's not peer-reviewed. In effect, that means it's not legitimate science.

The vast bulk of professional bodies of scientists, plus the peer-reviewed literature agree that we have a problem and it's likely to be caused in significant part by human activity.

Posted by Greg

The 'time-honoured processes of science' might not have worked in this matter.

140 top climate-scientists signed a recent open letter to the UN Sec Gen asking for proof that:
Specifically, we challenge supporters of the hypothesis of dangerous human-caused climate change to demonstrate that:

1. Variations in global climate in the last hundred years are significantly outside the natural range experienced in previous centuries;

2. Humanity’s emissions of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gases’ (GHG) are having a dangerous impact on global climate;

3. Computer-based models can meaningfully replicate the impact of all of the natural factors that may significantly influence climate;

4. Sea levels are rising dangerously at a rate that has accelerated with increasing human GHG emissions, thereby threatening small islands and coastal communities;

5. The incidence of malaria is increasing due to recent climate changes;

6. Human society and natural ecosystems cannot adapt to foreseeable climate change as they have done in the past;

7. Worldwide glacier retreat, and sea ice melting in Polar Regions , is unusual and related to increases in human GHG emissions;

8. Polar bears and other Arctic and Antarctic wildlife are unable to adapt to anticipated local climate change effects, independent of the causes of those changes;

9. Hurricanes, other tropical cyclones and associated extreme weather events are increasing in severity and frequency;

10. Data recorded by ground-based stations are a reliable indicator of surface temperature trends.

You can read their open letter here:
http://www.copenhagenclimatechallenge.org/



Posted by Scott McKenzie

These "top climate scientists" are well within their rights to ask these questions. And the issues they raise can appear quite convincing to the lay person.

They don't, however, appear to hold much sway with the Academy of Sciences from over 40 countries, or with any of the following (as my article outlines):



International Arctic Science Committee

InterAcademy Council (IAC)

International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences

American Association for the Advancement of Science

European Science Foundation

American Geophysical Union

European Federation of Geologists

Geological Society of America

Geological Society of Australia

International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

American Meteorological Society

Australian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

World Meteorological Organization

American Quaternary Association

International Union for Quaternary Research

American Society for Microbiology

Institute of Biology (UK).

I would much rather trust the process of peer review and the opinion of professional scientific bodies than a tiny group of scientists. Other scientists working in the climate science field are much better placed than I or the rest of the general public to assess dissenting claims about climate.

There are also scientists (including in the 'life' sciences) who assert the validity of Intelligent Design/Creation Science. Their work, similarly, does not pass the peer-review hurdle and is not championed by large professional science bodies.

Posted by Greg Spearritt

Dick Gross in his article 'A Disaster for Atheism' alludes to the same issue: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/blogs/godless-gross/a-disaster-for-atheism/20091210-klfp.html

Posted by Greg Spearritt

Confused about the evidence for or against anthropogenic warming? This site clearly sets out information available on the web about some of the contentious issues: http://www.informationisbeautiful.net/visualizations/climate-change-deniers-vs-the-consensus/

Posted by Greg

I have been recently thinking of this in religious terms which may or may not make sense..www.itallturns.blogspot.com
I am not a scientist so I take it on faith. The end of the world doomsayers and the purveyors of false guilt make me sceptical too. I am not agsinst positive humanitarian action on a range of issues but why blur it with global warming.

Posted by Owen

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