Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Conversations on The Conversation

with 3 comments

Just realised the last four posts were on threats. Not uplifting but I’ve been busy and have not written the posts I’ve been thinking about. This one will be different – or will it?

Earlier this week, The Conversation posted an open letter from climate researchers entitled Climate change is real: an open letter from the scientific community. I agree with the title of the letter and the conclusions but thought the language was a bit hyperbolic. Putting an English teacher’s hat on, isn’t it just a bit cute to describe recent findings on record annual emissions as “chilling”? And this:

Limiting global warming to 2°C is now beginning to look like a nearly insurmountable challenge.

Something that causes warming is chilling and a target you want to avoid by not going over it is nearly insurmountable? Oh dear, perhaps we need the humanities more than we think.

Because in the CSES we’d done some work last year on the effect of the economic recovery from the GST and its emissions (in October last year), I wasn’t chilled by the recent announcement from the International Energy Agency that 2010 GHG emissions hit a new annual high. China scaled their greenhouse program back for some old-fashioned coal-driven stimulus, Australia had a dip, and goodness, look at what the world can achieve. But their added point that 80% of 2020 emissions being locked in is even less cheering.

But climate change is real and we should be concerned. So I was wondering who would turn up to The Conversation. Follow-up articles from Karl Braganza (BoM): The greenhouse effect is real: here’s why and Jim Risbey (CSIRO): Speaking climate science to climate policy got some comment. But when Ove Hoegh-Guldberg (UQ) weighed in with Who’s your expert? The difference between peer review and rhetoric the conversation heated up nicely with plenty of rhetoric.

I’m not sure how widely these articles are being read, but they have already engaged two communities in the debate. One is the conventional science community and the others are the climate warriors, whose reality has no room for conventional scientific theory. The good thing is that The Conversation requires registration by real people, so anonymous abuse won’t be part of the exchange. And there are a few people from academia who really do believe that human-driven climate change is still an open scientific question.

But the same old zombie science keeps rising from beyond the grave. Here lies “The current warming is not a natural cycle” having been falsified in 1995, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. And not all of the zombie science is that easy to refute, being complex to explain. There are substantial uncertainties that still need to be better understood, though are not large enough to challenge the core theory.

The most comprehensive site for detailed scientific refutation of zombie science is the US EPA Endangerment and Cause or Contribute Findings for Greenhouse Gases under Section 202(a) of the Clean Air Act: Denial of Petitions for Reconsideration site. Perhaps the links to specific points could be posted whenever they are (repeatedly) raised.


Written by Roger Jones

June 19, 2011 at 10:00 am

3 Responses

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  1. Thanks for the EPA link Roger. I’ve been followed your postings on LP and the work being done at CSES.
    Regards, Mark.

    Uncle Buck

    July 3, 2011 at 7:12 pm

  2. Doh!! Should be: I’ve been following your postings!

    Uncle Buck

    July 3, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    • Maybe both!

      Been quiet here because I have a big writing deadline due on July 4 Western Pacific Time (US).

      Roger Jones

      July 3, 2011 at 7:18 pm

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