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Wednesday, February 16, 2005

It's HOT in here


Global Warming - Climate change. Is it real or just a ruse by the anti-american enviromentalists?
New Scientist takes an in depth look at the question.

This is perhaps the most crucial scientific question of the 21st century. The winning side in the climate debate will shape economic, political and technological developments for years, even centuries, to come. With so much at stake, it is crucial that the right side wins. But which side is right? What is the evidence that human activity is warming the world, and how reliable is it?

These questions are tackled with a dense presentation , so have a cup of coffee and prepare to use your brain...

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Ok... the brain hurts a bit eh?
I understand...
After a lengthy and very complete presentation of evidence here's the conclusion reached...
Where does this leave us? Actually, with a surprising degree of consensus about the basic science of global warming - at least among scientists. As science historian Naomi Oreskes of the University of California, San Diego, wrote in Science late last year (vol 306, p 1686): "Politicians, economists, journalists and others may have the impression of confusion, disagreement or discord among climate scientists, but that impression is incorrect."

Her review of all 928 peer-reviewed papers on climate change published between 1993 and 2003 showed the consensus to be real and near universal. Even sceptical scientists now accept that we can expect some warming. They differ from the rest only in that they believe most climate models overestimate the positive feedback and underestimate the negative, and they predict that warming will be at the bottom end of the IPCC's scale

For the true hard-liners, of course, the scientific consensus must, by definition, be wrong. As far as they are concerned the thousands of scientists behind the IPCC models have either been seduced by their own doom-laden narrative or are engaged in a gigantic conspiracy. They say we are faced with what the philosopher of science Thomas Kuhn called a "paradigm problem".

"Most scientists spend their lives working to shore up the reigning world view - the dominant paradigm - and those who disagree are always much fewer in number," says climatologist Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, a leading proponent of this view. The drive to conformity is accentuated by peer review, which ensures that only papers in support of the paradigm appear in the literature, Michaels says, and by public funding that gives money to research into the prevailing "paradigm of doom". Rebels who challenge prevailing orthodoxies are often proved right, he adds.

But even if you accept this sceptical view of how science is done, it doesn't mean the orthodoxy is always wrong. We know for sure that human activity is influencing the global environment, even if we don't know by how much. We might still get away with it: the sceptics could be right, and the majority of the world's climate scientists wrong. It would be a lucky break. But how lucky do you feel?

I'd say it's clear , It's HOT in here.




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