Tag Archives: Scientific opinion on climate change

Open letter across the barricade

Here I respond to a letter sent to The Listener by a former scientific colleague, Doug Edmeades. He is now a science spokesperson for local groups which attack the current scientific consensus on climate change as well as attacking local climate scientists.

Doug and I are old mates. In the past we fought together against commercial and bureaucratic attacks on our research. Now we find ourselves on opposite sides of the “barricade.” But I am sure there is enough mutual respect to enable a reasoned discussion of the claims made by Doug about climate change science in his letter.

I have invited him to respond in turn to my comments and hopefully he will be happy that I post his response, at least in part, here.

Hi Doug,

I am responding to claims you made in your recent letter to The NZ Listener reproduced on the Climate Conversation Group Blog (see In a climate of listening). Space limitations clearly prevented you from justifying these  five claims (your refer to them as “facts”). However they are, in my view, either not factual or misleading. I explain why below and welcome your response to my comments.

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Global warming is real – climatologists

Currently, there is a lot of political controversy about how we handle climate change (see NZ Herald: Lack of climate consensus produces cop-out). Some people even argue that there is a scientific controversy about it. That there are different scientific camps on the reality of human induced climate cahnge.

So I found a recent paper on scientists attitudes interesting. It is the best estimate I have seen of how scientist actually do line up on this question. Examining the scientific Consensus on Climate Change by Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman surveyed (mainly US) earth scientists with two questions:

1: When compared with pre-1800s levels, do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?

2: Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?

The authors analysed results by sub-groups and found climatologists who are active in research showed the strongest consensus on the causes of global warming. 96% answering “risen” to question 1 and 97% answering “yes” to question 2. Only 47% of economic geologists answered “yes” to question 2 n(pretty obvious why!).

The figure provides details of responses to question 2.


See also:

Survey: Scientists agree human-induced global warming is real.

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