Sunday, April 26, 2009

Climate distortions

There's a buzz going round the environmentalist circuit at the moment, because the New York Times has suggested that the "Global Climate Coalition, a group representing industries with profits tied to fossil fuels" ignored scientific advice given to it by its own scientists.

Here's the basis for this, from the NYT piece. First:

“The role of greenhouse gases in climate change is not well understood,” the coalition said in a scientific “backgrounder” provided to lawmakers and journalists through the early 1990s, adding that “scientists differ” on the issue.
But its private advice had been different:
“The scientific basis for the Greenhouse Effect and the potential impact of human emissions of greenhouse gases such as CO2 on climate is well established and cannot be denied,” the experts wrote in an internal report compiled for the coalition in 1995.
The problem is, these two paragraphs are not contradictory. Combined, they argue that the scientific basis for the greenhouse effect is well established but the role it plays in actual climate is less certain.

I don't know whether the Global Climate Coalition was setting out to distort the public debate but in this reported example it doesn't seem to have done so.

1 comment:

TDK said...

Interesting to read the full context of the killer quote:

The potential for a human impact on climate is based on well-established scientific fact, and should not be denied. While, in theory, human activities have the potential to result in net cooling, a concern about 25 years ago, the current balance between greenhouse gas emissions and the emissions of particulates and particulate-formers is such that essentially all of today’s concern is about net warming. However, as will be discussed below, it is still not possible to accurately predict the magnitude (if any), timing or impact of climate change as a result of the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations. Also, because of the complex, possibly chaotic, nature of the climate system, it may never be possible to accurately predict future climate or to estimate the impact of increased greenhouse gas concentrations.Climate Resistance. Their emphasis.