Thursday, February 24, 2011

the status of climate scepticism


Unnoticed by the public, climate scientists continue doing their job, monitoring and researching climate change. Albeit with a new twist: it has been realized, that also human psychology needs to be thrown into the, already very interdisciplinary, mix. Not only the hard science matters, but crucially also subtle issues, like clarifying, constraining and communicating uncertainty. To this aim, the prestigious Nature Publishing Group has issued a new journal: Nature Climate Change, augmenting the physical climate science with insights from social science research. Read the editorial here.

Meanwhile, in the climate sceptic camp, Lord Christopher Monckton, 3rd Viscount Monckton of Brenchley, has been getting a lot of media attention. He is a prolific, hugely popular and very influential climate sceptic.

Let's see what happens when one gets to the bottom of his contrarian claims and assertions, by the courtesy of youtuber and science journalist potholer54:

Monckton recently lost a legal battle with the BBC over a documentary about climate change scepticism portraying him, called "Meet the Climate Sceptics" (BBC Four), which, he said, would gravely damage his reputation. (See the four youtube clips below.)

The central question is this. It's not whether CO2 or other greenhouse gases can cause warming, because we've known for 200 years that they can. It's not whether we are causing the CO2 in the atmosphere to rise, because we are. The only question that really matters is, given the rate at which we are adding CO2 to the atmosphere, how much warming will that cause, if it continues [i.e., climate sensitivity].
Christopher Monckton

It is important to understand the difference between forcing and sensitivity because, as we will see in a minute, Monckton gets them completely mixed up.

Christopher Monckton on the politics of climate science:
In December [2009], just weeks away, at Copenhagen, a treaty will be signed, that will, for the first time, create a world government [...].
and on a miraculous invention:
And then 18 moths ago I cured myself with an invention which shows much promise. We're curing people of everything from HIV to malaria to multiple sclerosis.

 More Monckton quotes and misquotes:

"Meet the Climate Sceptics":

More on climate change in the blog post a climate of confusion.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

random quotes: the reality about modern life...

well, someone had to say it...
this is a strange, rather perverse story. just to put it in very simple terms: it's a story about us, people, being persuaded to spend money we don't have, on things we don't need, to create impressions that won't last, on people we don't care about. [1]

the reality of the society we're in, is there are thousands and thousands of people out there, leading lives of quiet screaming desperation, where they work long hard hours, at jobs they hate, to enable them to buy things they don't need, to impress people they don't like. [2]

we can change society's definition of success. away from the moronically simplistic notion, that the person with the most money when he dies wins, to a more thoughtful and balanced definition of what a life well lived looks like. [2]

[1] Professor of Sustainable Development at University of Surrey, Tim Jackson's TED talk Economic reality check, October 5, 2010
[2] Best-selling author and advertising CEO, Nigel Marsh's TEDx talk How to make work-life balance work, February 7, 2011