Thursday, February 12, 2009

No global warming??

John from Whitchurch seems to think that the brief spell of recent cold weather we’ve had in the UK is evidence that there is no global warming (‘Global warming? You must be joking’, Open Lines, Feb 12). Questioning of evidence is what science is all about and I’m all in favour of it. John seems not to have applied this principle to the evidence he uses however.

His evidence is only for a very, very short period of weeks and days. He refers to information only from the UK. Climate is about decades of changes not short term weather. Climatic change as now discussed, of which global warming is only one aspect (albeit very important), is a phenomenon which is global and which is tracked over geological time (hundreds, thousands and millions of years).

Has he considered whether the recent weather around the globe fits predictions made by the scientific ‘experts’ he scoffs at? Has he looked at patterns and trends over long periods of time and over large areas of the globe as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have in their independent work for the United Nations?

John very properly asks who these ‘experts’ are and what qualifications they have but this information has been very widely publicised for years now. The IPCC were awarded a Nobel Prize for their work last year! There is no doubt that the United Nations are served by very well qualified scientists as are hundreds of governments and thousands of businesses and scientific institutions all around the globe. They have all assessed the evidence and conclude that climate change is real, very serious and requiring urgent, large scale action! However, its not the fact that they are ‘experts’ that convinces me about climate change – it’s the fact that their central evidence and their expertise has passed continual and rigorous testing. This testing rightly continues to be an essential part of the problem solving process.