fredag 27 november 2009

The Royal Society Flunked the Climate Science Test

Whatever The Royal Society, the National Academy of Science of the UK and the Commonwealth at the cutting edge of scientific progress does, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will do the same, a couple of years later. Bishop Hill now reports on difficulties of communication with The Society which are similar to mine with the Academy.

In March 2005 the Royal Society presented a A guide to facts and fictions about climate change where we read:
  • It has become fashionable in some parts of the UK media to portray the scientific evidence that has  been collected about climate change and the impact of greenhouse gas emissions from human  activities as an exaggeration. 
  • Some have questioned the motives of  the scientists who have presented the most authoritative assessments of the science of climate change,  claiming that they have a vested interest in ‘playing up’ the potential effects that climate change is  likely to have. 
  • This document examines twelve misleading arguments put forward by the opponents of urgent action on climate change and highlights the scientific evidence that exposes their  flaws. 
The twelve misleading arguments are as follows:
  1. The IPCC has become too politicised and does not accurately reflect  the wide range of views within the scientific community. The IPCC summary for policy-  makers does not adequately represent the scientific uncertainty. 
  2. Many scientists do not think that climate change is a problem.  Some scientists have signed petitions stating that climate change is not a problem. 
  3. There is little evidence that global warming is happening or, if it is  happening, it is not very much. Some parts of the world are actually becoming cooler.  Increased urbanisation could be responsible for much of the increase in observed  temperatures. Satellite temperature records do not show any global warming. If there has  been global warming recently, it would not even be a unique occurrence within the past  1000 years. Europe has been much warmer in the past. 
  4. The Earth is getting hotter, but not because of emissions of  greenhouse gases from human activities. Carbon dioxide makes up such a tiny fraction of  the atmosphere that even if it doubled it would make little difference to the climate.  Variations in the sun are more likely to be the cause of climate changing than increases in  greenhouse gases. 
  5. There is no reliable way of predicting how temperatures will  change in the future. The climate is so complex that it is hard to predict what might  happen. The IPCC’s climate scenarios are developed by economists not scientists and are  often misleadingly presented as predictions or forecasts, when they are actually just  scenarios – the most extreme of which are totally unrealistic The IPCC’s findings are  dependent on models that are badly flawed. No climate model has been scientifically  validated. The IPCC 2001 predictions showed a wider uncertainty range than that in earlier  reports. 

  6. Scientists have been exaggerating the evidence by claiming that  individual extreme weather events have been caused by climate change. The recent  flooding in the UK in places like Boscastle and Carlisle would have happened anyway, and  the frequency of hurricanes hitting the Caribbean and Atlantic coast of the United States is  no different than in the past. Even if they appear to be more severe, this is only because  more people are living in places that are affected by natural extreme weather events. 
  7. There is conflicting evidence about whether the ice at the poles is  melting and, in fact, it is actually becoming thicker in Antarctica. 
  8. There is little evidence of a rise in sea level due to global warming.  There is no correlation between rises in climate temperature and sea levels. There has been  no consistent trend this century, with sea level rising in some places but not in others. Even  if sea level is rising it has nothing to do with global warming and is actually due to the fact  that southern England is sinking due to the bending of the Earth’s crust.
  9. Even if climate change is occurring, it won’t be that dangerous.  Abrupt climate change is just another scare story. While an atmospheric concentration for  carbon dioxide of 550 parts per million has been proposed as a political target, there has  been no scientific determination of “dangerous” levels of greenhouse gas concentrations. 
  10. There is no evidence that climate change will be bad for people.  In fact, warmer weather will actually be good for those people who live in cold countries.  Climate change may make some places like Russia warmer and more productive places to  live. A warmer climate will be good for the UK’s economy, with more tourists and better  wine-producing conditions. Increasing levels of carbon dioxide would produce a rise in  plant productivity and crop yields. Surely we should let the benefits and costs of climate  change even themselves out. 
  11. There are too many uncertainties about climate change and its  impacts to justify taking action. It would be better to wait until we are more certain about  climate change before acting. 
  12. The Kyoto Protocol is a waste of time because the United States  will not ratify it. The emission reduction targets required under the Kyoto Protocol are  “trivial” and would do no more than postpone global warming by six years. Implementing  the Kyoto Protocol would be too costly. The trillions of dollars that would be wasted on the  Kyoto Protocol should be spent on helping developing countries tackle poverty. 
What is truely remarkable is that, in particular in the light of Climategate, each one of these statements instead of being misleading, seems to be essentially correct. An amazing result by a Royal Society: No correct answer out of twelve questions! Such a result must require some intelligent design.

It is like the little child hiding the chocolate bar under the sofa saying: It is not under the sofa. Twelve times.

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