“if you’re willing to put aside the conspiracy theories for a moment we will move on”

The publication of the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s State of the Climate in 2009 report, with analysis by the Met Office, prompts the Daily Telegraph‘s Tom Chivers to produce the most sensible piece I’ve seen for some time on the subject.

As Dan Gardner says in his wonderful book Risk: the science and politics of fear, to which I will be returning, the phrase “very likely” is about as strong as scientific language gets, and a 95 per cent confidence level is by common convention taken to mean established fact. Obviously, if you’re of the opinion that the IPCC is actually run by the Illuminati or something, then its findings will be of little interest to you, but if you’re willing to put aside the conspiracy theories for a moment we will move on.

So there are the two facts: the world is warming; mankind’s action is almost certainly causing that warming. What’s actually interesting, of course, is where we can go from there. Warming in and of itself is not necessarily a bad thing. We want to know how it will affect our lives. Here the evidence is more equivocal: the IPCC reckons it is “likely” (66 per cent chance) that it will lead to sea level rises and increased droughts, for instance. But the dire warnings of some activists are far from certain; the acknowledged imperfections of computer modelling, especially when it comes to feedback systems (both positive and negative), make it very hard to predict the extent of those two problems.

Read the whole thing.

, , , , , , ,

  • slappymcgroundout

    “the acknowledged imperfections of computer modelling”

    They can’t even model clouds. And, Pete, note the words on malaria. Not simply climate control, but your beloved space programs. Meanwhile, millions dying needless deaths. Funny (not really, but that’s what one says) that you’ll cite to this piece when it’s climate control cost versus malaria eradiction cost, but we’re all dumb when we posit that the money spent on space exploration is even more wasteful in light of the millions dying needlessy owing to our failure to eradicate the plasmodium falciparum parasite. Lastly, so you know, as you probably don’t, when they tell you that you are a carbon based life form, understand that you are a carbon dioxide based life form. Plants get their carbon from the CO2 in the air. We either either plants or eat animals that eat plants or animals that eat other animals that eat plants. So we are carbon dioxide based lfie forms. And so you know that the train jumped the track when we decided to call the staff of life a “pollutant”.

  • drumlins rock

    I still think the Illuminati are making the whole thing up…

  • HeinzGuderian

    What was the ‘very likely’ possibility of that Millennium Bug ?
    The ‘very likely’ exhausted oil reserves by 2000 ?
    The ‘very likely’ Global Cooling,as predicted in the 70’s ?
    The ‘very likely’ epidemics,with Millions of fatalities,caused by Swine Flu/Bird Flu/ ?
    Why only this Spring,there were ‘very likely’ predictions of a UI by 2016 ? ( 🙂 )

    They can’t even forecast the weather,accurately,for the week ahead………….never mind the next 100 years !

    I’ll tell you what’s ‘VERY LIKELY’,that my golf bet has gone down the Swanee once again !!!! 🙁

  • Drumlin Rock

    As you can see global warming in Armagh is “very likely”….


  • Greenflag

    ‘They can’t even forecast ‘

    The economic meltdown -the property bust , the Wall St collapse – the fall of the Berlin Wall-the colapse of the USSR and the RC Church paedophile scandal .

    At a mundane level they even missed out on the Chuckie brothers and Bertie becoming non boozing buddies with the Doc .

    Why do they, whoever they are ‘bother ‘

    On the other hand the late Horseman’s predictions are still on course 😉

  • circles

    carbon dioxide is a carbon and oxygen based compound.

  • circles

    climate does not mean weather

  • slappymcgroundout

    Gee, and to think that the “CO2” had me fooled.

  • D.Quinn

    Climate change is about population reduction!! I urge you to read Ecoscience or at least scan through it its online for free. it was writen by the current white house czar and outlines how people are bad for the planet cus they produce so much carbon and should be culled. The WWF was founded by Julian Huxley who was also a leading member of the British Eugenics society and of the planned parenthood movement. After WWII eugenicists were embarressed by Hitlers extermination camps,and unable to spin it their way set out to create an enviromental movement to acheive population reduction. If anyone is interested i can give names of books to read writen by their leading members on the subject.

  • circles

    OK slappy then as you already seem to know, suggesting that carbon based life forms are actually carbon dioxide based life form is a bit of a daft thing to do.
    It makes no real sense other than to serve as propaganda when people say things like “how can we call the stuff of life a pollutant?”. A slightly pathetic attempt to whitewash CO2 – not that its bad in itself, just too much of it in the wrong place is the problem.

  • The problem with the immediacy of the climate change debate is that the timeframe tends to be so long that it is cross-generational, so a lot of decision-makers keep it on the long finger. So it lacks the energy of an imminent threat. And we should be more concerned than anyone -global warming is really really bad for us since any significant ice-rafting debris event will push off the Gulf Stream giving us the climate our latitude merits – and it will not be warm.
    The conspiracy theorists can relax, though, as we won’t be about to find out if there is climate change. The LHC will create a black hole at it’s centre sucking us back into a singularity as soon as it has been operational for long enough….