Fake fights are not helping climate scienceMay 17, 2007 at 2:37 pm | Posted in Climate change, Climate science, NERC | Leave a comment
Published in New Scientist magazine, issue 2595, 17 March 2007
Professor Alan Thorpe, NERC’s Chief Executive, gives his thoughts on the climate change debate.
Fake fights are not helping climate science
Few areas of science have implications as momentous as those of climate change. Much is riding not only on ensuring that the science is as accurate as possible but also on getting the political and social response right. Given the high stakes, it is hardly surprising that scientists’ methods and conclusions are coming under considerable scrutiny. This is as it should be. After all, scepticism is fundamental to the scientific method.
Scepticism is one thing; cynicism and conspiracy-theorising are quite another. These are the hallmarks of a recent attempt to discredit the widely accepted theory that human-made carbon dioxide emissions are causing global warming. A loose affiliation of scientists and writers is pushing the alternative idea that fluctuations in solar activity provide a better explanation for the rise and fall in the temperature of Earth’s atmosphere over the past few centuries.
Their basic argument goes something like this.