Climate feedbacks explained with added vocoder in science rap video

  • 11 May 2011, 12:00
  • Robin

When head of the Royal Society Sir Paul Nurse called for scientists to "get out there" and communicate what they do, we're not sure if the following two-minute rap video is quite what he had in mind.

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Has global warming stopped?

  • 10 May 2011, 17:00
  • Robin

Over the last few weeks Carbon Brief has analysed some of the key scientific arguments made by the UK's climate skeptics.

These arguments appear online, have been quoted in the media, and are even on occasion repeated in Parliament. But we have found that many of them cannot be supported by the scientific evidence base.

Instead, the arguments rely on cherry-picking data, ignoring scientific evidence and in some cases misrepresentating data or research. In a series of blog posts we're examining some of the most prominent assertions. (h/t for inspiration to Skeptical Science).

The first counter-science argument, and the one we've found repeated most frequently,  was recently noted by science journalist Simon Singh on his blog:

Lord Lawson seems particularly keen to focus on the first decade of the 21st century in order to argue that manmade climate has ended or never happened … Why does the GWPF fixate on just a few years of data when we can look at decades, centuries or millennia of data? GWPF appears to have a "less is more" (or "homeopathic") approach to data.

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New book aims to reclaim scientific skepticism

  • 08 May 2011, 11:00
  • Robin

An assertion frequently found in the comments sections of websites - and sometimes in national media - is that there is no credible evidence for climate change.

For several years now one of the best resources available to rebut this claim (and the many others that come with it) has been the blog Skeptical Science. Founded by Australian John Cook, the site sets out its mission on its home page:

"Scientific skepticism is healthy. Scientists should always challenge themselves to expand their knowledge and improve their understanding. Yet this isn't what happens in global warming skepticism. Skeptics vigorously criticise any evidence that supports man-made global warming and yet uncritically embrace any argument, op-ed piece, blog or study that refutes global warming."

So this website gets skeptical about global warming skepticism. Do their arguments have any scientific basis? What does the peer reviewed scientific literature say?"

The website specializes in laying out the arguments of climate sceptics, and in explaining patiently, honestly and accessibly the reams of evidence to the contrary.

Now Cook has released a book. Entitled " Climate Change Denial: heads in the sand" it is co-authored with environmental scientist Hadyn Washington and billed as an "an in-depth examination of the social science behind denial" - particularly denial of climate change.

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The science is solid, it is time to move on - the UK government view on climategate

  • 06 May 2011, 13:20
  • Christian

The government have just formally responded to the Science and Technology committee's review of the reviews of the UEA emails - a response that they have to provide as part of the committee process. The short version of their response is that they accept the findings of the Science and Technology committee, which had broadly found that most of the charges brought against UEA and the review processes were baseless.

If you're interested in more detail, you've probably been following this for a while (for those less interested an outline of the whole process is here), so forgive me if I don't explain every last point in intricate detail.

So, the government response, point by point. The top line:

 The findings of the Committee give us confidence in our judgement that the conclusions are well thought through and that no events at CRU undermine the scientific consensus on human-induced climate change.The recommendations of the reviews are also useful for advising future research policies and practices.[our emphasis]

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Lord Monckton in Oz. Again.

  • 06 May 2011, 13:00
  • Neil

Christopher Monkton, climate skeptic, Ukip deputy leader and hereditary peer, is off to Australia, again. Following his visit in February 2010, the 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley is planning another trip down under to preach his own unique brand of climate scepticism.

But it seems that before he's even raised the money for his airfare, Monckton is already facing tough questions.

Writing at ABC's The Drum current affairs website Graham Readfearn, askes whether his visit is really going to be that valuable an experience for the Australian populace -

"Among other things, Lord Monckton argues that attempts by Governments and the United Nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases from deforestation and burning fossil fuels are part of a conspiracy to install a world government. In Lord Monckton's eyes it's all a socialist plot. Climate change is not caused by burning fossil fuels and, even if it was, the impact is negligible. No action is required."

Monckton does get a lot of stick for his flamboyant performances and incredible claims about science. Earlier this year, we noted that even his fellow climate sceptics were confused about whether they should be cheering him, or distancing themselves from him. His lectures have been deconstructed and debunked by climate scientists in meticulous detail.

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Cutting greenhouse gas emissions is urgent says new Arctic report

  • 06 May 2011, 11:00
  • Verity

A major report evaluating the latest Arctic science has been released this week, and the results are unambiguous: the Arctic is changing at an unprecedented rate, it's down to climate change, and greater urgency is needed in tackling the problem.

The report was compiled by scientists from the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme (AMAP) - an organisation of leading Arctic experts set up by the Arctic rim countries - and released to over 400 scientists at a conference in Copenhagen.

Here's a video from AMAP about the state of the Greenland Ice Sheet in our changing climate from AMAP:


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Andy Russell on the Merchants of Doubt

  • 06 May 2011, 10:33
  • Neil

Dr Andy Russell of the Institute for the Environment at Brunel University has an interesting review of Merchants of Doubt by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M Conway. Russell sums up the book:

"Excellent examination of the background and tactics used by "experts" to delay the implementation of regulation on important scientific issues. Journalists in particular should have a read but I'd think it would be interesting and comprehensible to anyone."

Dr Russell draws out some important points from the book; in particular the issue of journalistic balance:

"One theme that crops up over and over again is the insistence from the "doubt merchants" that they deserve equal time in media debates and discussions. This is really important and, I think, shows that this book should be required reading for journalists working on controversially perceived subjects. Because, as we see time and time again in the book, the controversy is often not based on the science.


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The Daily Mail's different views of sea level rise

  • 05 May 2011, 13:00
  • Christian

The Daily Mail has produced an article covering this week's Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Project report on Arctic melt and sea level rise. While it gives a clear picture of the report, it raises some questions about their coverage of the same issue just a few months ago.

Here's the start of the piece:


The AMAS report presents itself as 'the most comprehensive synthesis of knowledge about the Arctic that has been presented in the last six years,' and draws on the work of over 200 scientists who contributed to it.

It concludes that taking into account Arctic ice melt, sea levels could rise 0.9-1.6m by 2100 (1.6m is around 5.2 feet). The Mail article takes the top end of that range as 'the latest doomsday prediction'.

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