Overconfident ‘experts’ may end up ignoring the science of climate change.


Adam Corner responds to the simplified notion that the debate about climate change comes down to ‘science versus belief’.  Having got to know quite a number of denialists, there does seem to be a blockage in terms of changing their minds with the peer-reviewed science.  Although it seems incredible, it appears that intelligent people can end up constructing belief systems that are almost impenetrable to scientific reality. Perhaps this is the great peril that we face.  Here is what Adam Corner had to say:In a Guardian comment piece last week, Vicky Pope, a senior Met Office scientist, articulated a view that is frequently expressed by scientists: that climate change is a matter of empirical evidence, not belief.

But a decade of social science research on public attitudes shows that in fact, scepticism about climate change is not primarily due to a misunderstanding of “the science”.

It is true that most people have only a limited amount of knowledge about climate science (as they do about most specialist subjects). And without doubt, free market and fossil-fuel industry lobbyists have shamelessly acted as “merchants of doubt” , exaggerating the level of uncertainty about climate change, or downplaying its importance. Continue reading

Scientists predict US$2trn cost to ocean economies

Siliconrepublic.com, March 22, 2012.  Scientists at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) have released a new study that has placed the effects of climate change on the world’s ocean ecosystems under the spotlight. They predict climate change alone could reduce the economic value of key ocean services by up to US$2trn a year by 2100.

The scientists are now calling for a global, integrated approach to protect oceans from converging threats.
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2010 is the hottest year yet.

Jo Chandler, The Sydney Morning Herald, March 21, 2012

THE update of a 160-year-old global temperature record by British scientists, plugging in additional data collected primarily across the Arctic, has resulted in 2010 now being ranked as the warmest year on record, followed by 2005, and bumping the previously top-ranked El Nino super-heated 1998 to third place. Continue reading

Rain and more rain.

Barrie PittockThe Conversation; Dr Barrie Pittock, Honorary Fellow, Marine and Atmospheric Research at CSIRO

Recent wet weather and flooding across eastern Australia has caused many to ask, wasn’t climate change supposed to cause more droughts, not floods? Critics of climate change science have suggested that the recent observed flooding shows the science, and especially the climate modelling, must be wrong. This is a misreading of what climate change scientists have repeatedly stated.

Such misunderstandings would not necessarily matter. But confusion has arisen from these claims, especially among decision-makers from flood-affected areas. These people have a strong interest and responsibility to get the story right in order to make the right policy decisions. Continue reading

Is the Great Barrier Reef listing? The UN asks if we’re still heritage-worthy.

The Conversation, March 7, 2012

Obtaining a World Heritage listing for a national asset is a source of great pride for any country. The Taj Mahal (1983), Borobudur (1991) and Uluru (2007) are examples where countries have obtained the much coveted UNESCO inscription. Australia is justifiably proud of its heritage-listed Great Barrier Reef, but this week the United Nations is visiting the reef to see whether the listing is still justified. Continue reading