A Weblog monitoring coverage of environmental issues and science in the UK media. By Professor Emeritus Philip Stott. The aim is to assess whether a subject is being fairly covered by press, radio, and television. Above all, the Weblog will focus on science, but not just on poor science. It will also bring to public notice good science that is being ignored because it may be politically inconvenient.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Four downpours of good sense cool climate-change hot heads.....

I am encouraged - four most sensible sets of comments on climate-change hysteria for you to sample:

(a) First, in the excellent The Scotsman newspaper (April 24): 'Common sense must top green agenda':
"The most bizarre sight of last week was that of David Cameron driving a team of huskies across the Norwegian snows. If it is hard to imagine how the ruddy-cheeked Tory leader could more blatantly illustrate his commitment to the environment, it was also difficult to take the scene entirely seriously.

The same cannot be said about the green agenda, however. Concern about the environment is no longer a minority preoccupation: it engages people across the whole spectrum of society, of all political opinions. To that extent, Cameron is right to address the issue. But it is an issue that needs to be examined closely, scientifically and dispassionately, not fuelled by hysteria. Apocalyptic alarmism from green activists has become the secular equivalent of those religious cults that regularly assemble on mountain tops in expectation of the imminent end of the world.

What are the facts about global warming? The only honest answer is: we do not know. Nor is our knowledge advanced by scientists who are not climatic experts issuing sensational pronouncements..." (read on)

(b) In The Washington Times (April 21): 'Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted':
"Global warming may not be as dramatic as some scientists have predicted.

Using temperature readings from the past 100 years, 1,000 computer simulations and the evidence left in ancient tree rings, Duke University scientists announced yesterday that "the magnitude of future global warming will likely fall well short of current highest predictions..." (read on)

(c) Then there is the inimitable Mr. Steyn writing in the Chicago Sun Times (April 23): 'Nothing to fear but the climate change alarmists':
"Do you worry? You look like you do. Worrying is the way the responsible citizen of an advanced society demonstrates his virtue: He feels good by feeling bad.

But what to worry about? Iranian nukes? Nah, that's just some racket cooked up by the Christian fundamentalist Bush and his Zionist buddies to give Halliburton a pretext to take over the Persian carpet industry. Worrying about nukes is so '80s. "They make me want to throw up.... They make me feel sick to my stomach," wrote the British novelist Martin Amis, who couldn't stop thinking about them 20 years ago. In the intro to a collection of short stories, he worried about the Big One and outlined his own plan for coping with a nuclear winter wonderland..." (read on)

(d) And, we must finish with this splendid suite of 'Letters to the Editor' from The Sunday Telegraph (April 23): '41 scientists debunk global warming alert', with other letters (scroll down):
"The president of the Royal Society, Lord Rees of Ludlow, asserts that the evidence for human-caused global warming 'is now compelling' and concerning (Letters, April 19).

In a public letter, we have recently advised the Canadian Prime Minister of exactly the opposite - which is that 'global climate changes all the time due to natural causes and the human impact still remains impossible to distinguish from this natural 'noise''.

We also noted that 'observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future'" [a link to a full list of signatories is provided after the letter]

But, above all, enjoy this glorious bit of correspondence:
"If I read another word about climate change, I shall go mad. Of course the climate is changing. That is what climate does, and has done so for billions of years. Do these scare-mongering pseudo-scientists really believe that puny man can control the unimaginable forces of nature by sticking a windmill on his roof, throwing away his fridge and planting a few trees?

Global warming? Perhaps, but what's the betting that in a few years they will be telling us that they have got it wrong? That, in fact, the earth is getting colder?

My advice? Leave it to God."

Well done, Mr. Celiz. I know exactly how you feel.

Philip, increasingly wide-eyed at the sheer bunkum that is climate-change hysteria in the UK. Like Mr. Cameron, I am getting a tad husky in trying to ensure that common sense prevails. "Tea anyone? Or an iced drink? Mush, Mush."

[New counter, June 19, 2006, with loss of some data]

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