A ex-climate sceptic and the next 100,000 years of life on earth

  • 28 Apr 2011, 15:35
  • Verity

A self-described "converted climate sceptic" has been speaking out about the long-term effects of greenhouse gases on Earth's climate.

Dr Curt Stager, a palaeoclimatologist and author, who describes himself as a "climate historian", has written a new book entitled " Deep future: the next 100,000 years of life on earth."

He discusses the book in a fascinating interview with the American political commentator Thom Hartmann (posted at Crock of the Week).

Read more

Energy and Environment – “journal of choice for climate skeptics” Analysing the 900+ skeptic papers part III

  • 21 Apr 2011, 16:30
  • Christian Hunt


Post 3 of 3

The list of '900+' papers linked to by the Global Warming Policy Foundation as supporting climate scepticism included more articles published in Energy and Environment than any other journal.

We reported last week that nine out of the top 10 authors listed by the GWPF were linked to ExxonMobil. We also discovered that prominent scientists featured on the list didn't agree that their work supported skepticism about anthropogenic global warming - and had unsuccessfully asked for their work to be removed from similar lists in the past.

We used the same data analysis tools to examine where the papers on the list were published. The most cited journal by a clear margin was Energy and Environment, which provided 131 papers to the list - almost 15 percent of the total.

Read more

Are the British really bored of climate change?

  • 21 Apr 2011, 11:00
  • Neil

"Do you have 'global warming fatigue'? Just 25% of Britons think climate change is the most important environmental issue." That's how the Daily Mail headlined its report, on Tuesday, of an Ipsos Mori opinion poll on environmental concern.

And the Ecologist report of the survey was titled, "Only a quarter of Britons concerned about climate change."

However, as with most opinion polls (and with many newspaper reports), the reality is a little more complicated than the headlines suggest.

The full poll results [pdf] show that respondents were asked to choose from a list of 15 the three most important environmental issues facing their country.

Read more

"I was defeated by facts" How a sceptic changed his mind about climate change

  • 20 Apr 2011, 16:00
  • The Carbon Brief

"I was defeated by facts," writes the Republican Massachusetts based blogger D. R. Tucker at the FrumForum website. The freelance writer and radio host has explained why, as a member of the "urban right", he has changed his mind about climate change.

"It wasn't all that long ago when I joined others on the right in dismissing concerns about climate change. It was my firm belief that the science was unsettled, that any movement associated with Al Gore and Van Jones couldn't possibly be trusted, that environmentalists were simply left-wing, anti-capitalist cooks."

This response to the public debate on climate change will be familiar to right wing Conservatives and libertarians in the UK, who have seen environmental groups call for state interventions and higher taxation in some areas to deal with global warming.

Tucker writes that he began to question his instinctive rejection of the science of climate change after reading Professor Morris Fiorina's book  Disconnect  (2009).



Read more

Three reasons to care about the Arctic

  • 19 Apr 2011, 15:00
  • Verity

" Climate change is melting Arctic coastlines by 30 metres each year, scientists claim" exclaims the Mail. " Arctic coastlines recede by 'several metres' a year" announces the Independent.

So what's the story behind the headlines?

A new report, "The State of the Arctic Coast 2010" has been released. It was a major undertaking - more than 30 scientists from 10 countries studied around a quarter of the entire Arctic coastline - 100,000 km in all.  They assessed the physical, ecological and social impacts of environmental change.

The report emphasises the importance of the Arctic coast, calling it

"…a locus of human activity, a rich band of biodiversity, critical habitat, and high productivity, and among the most dynamic components of the circumpolar landscape."

It says that the coast supports the majority of indigenous communities in the area and very large populations of fish mammals and birds, providing habitat for 500 million seabirds alone.


Read more

Tags |

“Using our paper to support skepticism of anthropogenic global warming is misleading.” Part II of our analysis of the 900+ climate skeptic papers

  • 18 Apr 2011, 16:00
  • Christian

Post 2 of 3

Three respected scientists have independently complained that their climate studies have been misrepresented by sceptics in order to bolster a list of papers thrown together to challenge the consensus on global warming.

The authors of the list claim it includes more than 900 scientific papers which question human forced climate change, an assertion which has been repeated on blogs and the Global Warming Policy Foundation website. As we have already reported, nine of the ten most prolific authors have links to oil giant Exxon.

Some of the papers cited have been published in prominent peer review journals, including 34 from Nature and 33 from Science.

However, our analysis also shows that many of the papers do not focus on human-induced climate change - and so have little relevance to the theme of the list.

Furthermore, some of the authors featured on the list surprised us, so we contacted a selection to see whether they supported this interpretation of their work - the responses confirmed their work is being misappropriated by inclusion in lists such as this.

Professor Peter deMenocal, of the Earth Institute, Columbia University, told the Carbon Brief when asked about the inclusion of his paper on the list:

 "I've responded to similar queries over the years. No, this is not an accurate representation of my work and I've said so many times to them and in print.

"I've asked Dennis Avery of the Heartland Institute to take my name off [another similar] list four times and I've never had a response. There are 15 other Columbia colleagues on there as well ... and all want their names removed."


Read more

Climate Sock on climate communication

  • 18 Apr 2011, 15:39
  • Christian

There's an interesting post on the blog Climate Sock talking about the way that (mainly) NGOs communicate about climate change, referencing a paper in the first issue of Nature Climate Change ...

Read more

Analysing the ‘900 papers supporting climate scepticism’: 9 out of top 10 authors linked to ExxonMobil

  • 15 Apr 2011, 14:24
  • Christian

Post 1 of 3

'900+ Peer-Reviewed Papers Supporting Skepticism Of "Man-Made" Global Warming (AGW) Alarm' announces the headline on the Global Warming Policy Foundation's website.

The article references a blog linking to more than 900 papers which, according to the GWPF, refute "concern relating to a negative environmental or socio-economic effect of AGW, usually exaggerated as catastrophic."

However, a preliminary data analysis by the Carbon Brief has revealed that nine of the ten most prolific authors cited have clear links to organisations funded by ExxonMobil, and the tenth has co-authored several papers with Exxon-linked contributors.

Read more

Press complaints ruling on UEA, Delingpole and climate didn't stick to the science

  • 13 Apr 2011, 15:00
  • Christian

Professor Phil Jones

"I wasn't going to crow, really I wasn't. But I'm afraid I can't resist," writes climate sceptic James Delingpole on his Telegraph blog. "I'm talking about the Press Complaints Commission's ruling on a complaint brought against this blog by our old friends at the University of East Anglia. They lost. We won."

UEA had complained about three posts written by Mr Delingpole on the subject of "Climategate" which enlarged upon his opinion that the "corrupt, mendacious Climate Change industry" has conspired on a global level, successfully hoodwinking governments, national academies and even multi-national oil companies in order to get a few more research grants.

The first of the contested posts described Professor Phil Jones of the UEA as "disgraced, FOI-breaching, email-deleting, scientific-method abusing" while the second claimed the university's scientists were "untrustworthy, unreliable and entirely unfit to write the kind of reports on which governments around the world make their economic and environmental decisions".

In its ruling, the PCC said:  

"The Commission emphasised that the articles in question were blog posts and were clearly identifiable as such to readers generally … The Commission was satisfied that readers would be aware that the comments therein represented the columnist's own robust views of the matters in question.  Clause 1 (Accuracy) of the Editors' Code permits the publication of such comment provided it is clearly distinguished from fact and does not contain significantly inaccurate, misleading or distorted information."

Read more

7 reasons communicating climate science is tough

  • 13 Apr 2011, 11:20
  • Verity

Hot weather changes climate beliefs.

The message from the world's climate scientists is clear: Earth is warming and humans are responsible. Almost all climate scientists (>97%) agree that human activity is a significant contributor to the increase in the average global temperature. But based on the same study, only 58% of the public agree.

There's clearly a complicated interaction between scientific opinion and what the public thinks. Here are 7 complicating factors we plucked from the science communications literature…

1. Hot days change people's minds

One study, published just last week, showed that people who felt that the day was hotter than normal were more likely to show concern about climate change. The weather was almost as big a factor as people's political belief in opinions about climate change.

Read more