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Philip

The only debunking going on is that being orchestrated by corporate-funded organisations such as The Heritage Foundation and The Cato Institute, along with a plethora of right wing bloggers and writers that can only understand a world in which forced consumption of resources in order to maximise profit for the elite members of civilized society is the only way to live.

It's sad that you have fallen into the trap of many people who do not understand the science of atmospherics and climate change (in what way is the ozone hole a vent?) but not surprising. Do you buy things you don't really need? That's because the same corporations are very effective at selling you their wares - unlike the scientists who are suffering for their lack of PR savvy-ness.

There *are* central climate computers, mainly run by research institutions including CRU, the results of which are open to scrutiny. The only reason you cannot grab a piece of the data when you please is because it really doesn't make any sense unless you are a climate scientist - and because of the efforts of the corporate PR lobbies, we have now been convinced that the interpretations posted by climate scientists, peer-reviewed and in professionally moderated journals, are not to be trusted.

No wonder the staff at the CRU got cabin fever. They broke FoI rules because they couldn't get on with their work due to thousands of spurious FoI requests designed precisely for that purpose!

Keith

Thanks for your comment - I should really read part/all of your book before adding any more to the debate.

I think you missed the point of my post: I wanted to draw attention to the world as an 'intelligent machine', capable in its own way of dealing with changes in climate and atmosphere.

I'm not a scientist so please excuse any ignorance I may have towards the technical; call it intuition; call it instinct; call it whatever, what I 'feel' is that the world isn't in as much trouble from climate change as others try to make us believe.

My problem is knowing who to listen to and who to believe; if the scientists aren't PR savvy then they'd better get used to it; they are a business just like the rest of us and need to deliver: isn't PR one of the most important parts of getting the public to understand and interpret their research?

I think the world already has itself own sell-by date; one we cannot change.

In the interim, I want to see honesty from all of those with an interest.

All the best

Phil

The corporate world has a lot to lose if due credence is given to the precipitous state of the world and the situation is taken seriously.

I sense a strong effort by those with vested interests to disrupt and discredit the growing grass roots efforts to begin to face up to the changes that have to be made now.

I accept that the global environment has a degree of self regulation - the Gaia concept. However, any reasoning human should be able to understand that the system does not have an infinite capacity to absorb and balance whatever we throw at it. Growth, both economic and population cannot continue indefinitely, it's a fact that very few of us can face up to because it means some radical changes in the way we all live.

The changes need not be uncomfortable if we all take action now, the longer we leave it the worse the crunch will be. The big corporates stand to see a lot of market vanish if we take action and as a result they feel threatened......their dirty tricks are sometimes subtle, don't be fooled.

George Monbiot always offers thought provoking discussions on the subject supported by references. www.monbiot.com

What is very very scary is that there is a real PR led battlefield, which the media love. The UK is suffering badly in terms of perception with regards public attitude towards climate change and this has been worsened by idiots like the team at the University of Anglia, (who lets face it were hardly any where close to the cutting edge of the research).

When I studied Environmental Science several years ago the climate change model is exactly in line with current weather patterns, so that when the occasional story about the UK basking in glorious heatwaves as a result of global warming are churned it I know it to be a falsehood. But of course it is easy to lead a majority public concensus on climate change being a red herring when faced with these stories combined with the weather we have been having.

Even if humans were not attributing to climate change at all, the results of climate change will still be catastrophic and to be so utterly selfish as to ignore the perils that our children face in the future or those that are faced in the present in certain parts of globe is simply morally unjustifiable.

Philip

Climate change deniers have a powerful weapon on their side - that people can't abide change and will believe anything that suggests they don't have to alter their lifestyles. So any small issue gets blown up out of all proportion and leads to phrases like yours that(the email scandal)"...has debunked much of scientists claims that the world is heading for environmental meltdown".

Do you really believe that?

The last decade was the hottest on record and ice melt continues to increase beyond the gloomiest of predictions. These facts are there for public scrutiny and have nothing to do with the UEA emails.

Even the most cursory glance at the data on warming and greenhouse gases shows that the graph started going up exactly at the start of the Industrial Revolution.

And if, as you suggest, this is all some sort of scaremongering, then why has no one who denies these facts emphatically put the record straight? Why have we not had any scientifically robust counter proposal that we are at no risk if we do nothing to curb our carbon emissions?

Until anything of that sort happens I place my faith in the climate science community rather than the highly paid PR firms that peddle the 'business as usual' message on behalf of their corporate masters. Please don't let yourself be another of the people that they manage to unnerve and anger.

Thanks for your comments everyone...

Let me say that I am on the world's side here - I made it clear at the start of the article that I believe we should continue with our mission of reducing emissions and find a greener way to live. This should be our consideration anyway - regardless of the past.

What is worrying me is knowing whose information to believe and what is, or what is not, sexed up to suit an agenda.

We can't all become climate scientists in order to arrive at our own personal decision on what constitutes 'the truth', so we have to rely on others to sift through the masses of information and erect signposts for us. Those people are the journalists, writers and communicators that, through reading their work and watching them engage in mature, considered debate, we trust. We all have to trust someone. I concur with Richard L that George Monbiot is always guaranteed to get the grey matter working - and he brings a rare honesty, depth and integrity to climate discussions.

That said, enough peer-reviewed scientific information now exists in books and through the internet for anyone to read around the subject and - rationality intact - reach the conclusion that human-made emissions of greenhouse gases are indeed altering the earth's climate.

Yes, there is a small, vocal minority that refute that, but what these people, many of them showing scant basic knowledge of climate change, don't have, is the peer-reviewed scientific evidence to back up their claims. We know for a fact, as Keith points out, that many climate change 'denialists' are funded by vested interests, primarily big fossil fuel companies, and we know that the messages they send out have much appeal for many in a society too myopic to see a different way of doing things.

Pip is spot on to say that there’s a PR-led battlefield out there, and we are beginning, dangerously, to lose sight of the fact that ‘climategate’ and all the other ‘gates’ are yet but tiny distractions in the bigger picture, and yet they are blown up out of all proportion. Throwaway phrases like Phil’s “...the email scandal that has debunked much of scientists [sic] claims that the world is heading for environmental meltdown”, as Richard says, simply feeds into a crucible of confusion. Where is the peer-reviewed scientific evidence that debunks the findings of thousands of climate scientists?

Phil, I’m not aware that “pumping chemicals and gases into the atmosphere” is somehow “yesterday’s model”. In fact we are emitting more carbon dioxide (plus other) pollution than we ever have. Yes, changes in the earth’s climate do happen naturally, but the key point is that human activity is tipping nature out of balance, not just in climate terms, but also in terms of depletion of non-renewable resources, habitat destruction, pollution, ‘peak oil’, scarcity of fresh water, loss of biodiversity, and so on. These are all intertwined in what’s happening to our climate and to our biosphere generally - everything is connected. Even the most canny “intelligent machine” will cough and splutter when it’s fed too rich a mix.

We can go with our guts on some things, and trust in what we feel, but not on this. Too much is at stake to default to a ‘feeling’ that the world isn’t in as much trouble as the science clearly suggests it is. The risk with those kinds of feelings is that they can stifle our curiosity to learn more and, consequently, to act on the knowledge gained.

Hi Phil,

With the main "interests" in this world being big business and the good old US of A I have no problem with documents being upgraded to deal with these bodies that will always oppose the idea of climate change.

Since the world decided that it is under the leadership of the USA, and Europe, in particular us consider ourselves are too weak to oppose them, and too weak, (according to the Daily Mail) to join in with our European neighbours properly, we get the leadership that we deserve.

The US will never agree to the climate change agenda, and now that the Republicans have a hold of Obama, its up to the rest of the world. God (whoever he or she is) help us if the Tories get elected here, the Republicans are the sister party of the Tories! No right minded person is going to believe that a Tory MP sitting in a castle with moat gives a toss about climate change.

If in your points above, where would the independently monitored and adjudicated be situated, probably the US. A place where big business would still hold their vested interest, nothing and no one in this world is independent, every company, organisation and person has an angle or interest. That would be like the so-called independent United Nations, also situated in the US. Israel, Palestine, Iraq, or Afghanistan etc, etc, I think not!

Until we understand what we are dealing with in the terms of those that deny climate change, who will stop at nothing for their own ends for their own gain, those of us who do believe that we are destroying our planet have to stoop to their levels to get our case across.

Big business and the media have no principles, the progressives in this world are just playing their game by their rules.

regards,

Steve

To play devils advocate - have a read of the following:

"At least one study shows “a warming trend in the tropical middle troposphere from about 1960 to 1979, followed by cooling from 1979 to 1997”. Yes, cooling in one of the most industrious periods of man's existence on this planet."

http://www.globalwarminghoax.com/news.php?extend.17

"Significant changes in climate have continually occurred throughout geologic time. For instance, the Medieval Warm Period, from around 1000 to1200 AD (when the Vikings farmed on Greenland) was followed by a period known as the Little Ice Age. Since the end of the 17th Century the "average global temperature" has been rising at the low steady rate mentioned above; although from 1940 – 1970 temperatures actually dropped, leading to a Global Cooling scare."

http://www.globalwarminghysteria.com/ten-myths-of-global-warming/

I know the truth is out there...all I want is a reliable and unbiased and honest source - something, I feel, we will never get.

One huge factor comes into play here: The simple fact that the science community has historically and continues to be exceptionally poor at PR. This is understandable as peer reviewed research is often undebatable and as such rarely attracts media attention.

In most other European and other western countries, (indeed many developing countries also), the science and the fact that climate change is upon us is accepted as fact. This leads to a more optimistic view as to real operations to assist. For example, the village I live in, (900 habitants) has installed an energy biomass (waste from the forestry / agricultural activities in the commune), which heats all municipal buildings. Last year over 3500 square metres of photovoltiac cells were installed in the village and they are currently building a windfarm. Everyone, including the older generation understand why and take pride in what the commune do. This iss true of many many communes. Coupled with some real advances made by big businesses in the Eurozone and US into sustainable energy and development.

Lets be clear here, (without involving the US, which has heavily influenced and distorted UK opinion), the UK not only severly lags behind most other countries in terms of acceptance let alone implementation to such in extend it is embarrassing. The BBC needs to be held to account along with most other UK media in its stance in the matter and the government should not get involved, they simply don't know what they are doing and the vast majority of rhetoric and resulting policy is ineffectual and little more than a 'vote winning' exercise.

For real truths go to the peer reviewed journals, dating back to the 1970's. This means a trip to the library, but be quick I am sure these will all be closed down soon to save money for governmental PR.

I think that as long as the vast majority of scientists seem to support the concerns about climate change, we will merely wonder at the motivations behind Professor Jones' outbursts and those of others like him. I dont know whether he has a book coming out soon (and needs publicity) or if he has any commitments to sponsors of some research he is doing. I dont have the time to check his credentials and others who share his opinions. I am sure he could at least find a number of scientist who also have a vested interest in pushing the pro-climate change arguments.
We non-specialists tend to take seriously the opinions of the majority of experts in any particular field of study. In this particular case, I do hope he is entirely correct but will wait until sufficient scientific opinion supports him.

By posting these links “To play devils [sic] advocate” is merely contributing to the ‘crucible of confusion’ I mentioned in my previous comment. Take the ‘Global warming hysteria’ site. The 10 ‘myths’ it lists are sourced from the ‘Friends of Science’ web site, which, in explaining its position, states “While FOS does not do any original scientific research, it does extensive literature research...in all fields relating to global climate change.” In other words, it is cherry-picking the data to support its 10 ‘myths’, most if not all of which have been solidly refuted by peer-reviewed science.

For anyone wanting to explore for themselves what reputable science is telling us about our climate during the last decade, then I recommend this post http://climateprogress.org/2010/01/04/the-year-in-climate-science-scientists/ on the US blog Climate Progress, which is rich in common sense, but also contains some very solid rebuttals of some very dodgy sceptic/denialist claims.

A couple of recent articles, by people I trust, have brought, for me at least, a sense of balance to what have been a frenzied few weeks in climate change discussions.

Jonathon Porritt, who was until recently chair of the UK’s Sustainable Development Commission, when discussing how any scientific hypothesis is only as good as the rigour with which it is put to the test on the basis of potentially conflicting or inconsistent data, said this on his blog:

“But there are two problems with this, and both relate to the inability of the media to understand the nature of the scientific process, and to act responsibly within that understanding.
First, so much of the dissenting stuff does not emanate from scientists of that kind. Much of it is based on speculation, exaggeration and manipulation of other people’s data. It’s never been published in proper journals, never been subjected to proper peer-review, and completely fails to meet any of the basic tests for “sound science”. Much of it lives and breathes through the blogosphere. And almost all of it is arrant nonsense.”
http://www.jonathonporritt.com/pages/2009/12/the_media_and_climate_change_c.html
And Mark Lynas, author of ‘Six Degrees - Our Future on a Hotter Planet’, writing in The Times on the errors in the data concerning the melting of the Himalayan glaciers, said this:
“So what lessons can be learnt? No one has a monopoly on truth, not even earnest environmentalists. But nor does one mistake invalidate an enormous body of knowledge, gathered over many years by hundreds of experts, which paints a picture of a planet endangered by continuing emissions of greenhouse gases. The IPCC process is rare evidence that our species really is intelligent; that it can marshal and assess vast quantities of data — and act on the results.”
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/columnists/guest_contributors/article7000829.ece

Philip - you might like to read this piece from the Guardian......
http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2010/feb/01/climate-emails-sceptics

Very interesting - our media has a lot to answer for - they love to stoke up the controversy don't they?

“I am just a scientist. I have no training in PR or dealing with crises.”

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/environment/article7017922.ece

There are so many thoughts and questions triggered by this statement...but I will resist.

As for death threats against - nobody can condone threats of physical violence...no matter what side you're on.

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