The public is being bombarded with facts on climate change. The problem is, not all the supposed facts we are given are necessarily true.
In this edition of BTalk I ask Professor Corinne Le Quere if she can counter some of the common arguments used by climate sceptics. In particular, I raise “facts” presented by Bob Carter from the Institute of Public Affairs in a recent article in the Sydney Morning Herald:
- Atmospheric carbon dioxide is a mild greenhouse gas that exerts a diminishing warming effect as its concentration increases;
- We live in a carbon dioxide-starved world (levels 15 times higher having been reached about 500 million years ago and diminishing since);
- The world warmed in the earlier and latter parts of the 20th century;
- The world has cooled slightly over the past 10 years despite a 5 percent increase in carbon dioxide; and
- The sun recently entered a quietude unknown since the Little Ice Age. Accompanying this, planetary warming has ceased despite still increasing carbon dioxide emissions. Some solar physicists have issued warnings that strong cooling may be imminent.
He concludes, “these facts are consistent with the conclusion that enhanced levels of carbon dioxide are good for the environment, and do not cause dangerous global warming”.
Because he used the word “facts” and it appeared in a reputable newspaper, it’s easy to assume that he was telling the truth. But just to be on the safe side, I called up Professor Corinne Le Quere, a Professor of Climate Change Science and Policy at the University of East Anglia. It seems she disputes some of these facts and questions the relevancy of others. Listen to today’s podcast to hear what she has to say.
So who do we believe? Carter is a scientist — he has a doctorate in Geology and many peer reviewed scientific papers (all to do with Geology). Le Quere is Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research and author of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Assessments of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
It’s your call on who is right. For my money, if Carter spent less time writing newspaper articles and more time writing for peer-reviewed scientific journals it might be easier to believe him. The same goes for Lord Monckton, obviously. His academic achievements relate to literature and journalism.