Another Domino Falls: UK’s Leading Scientific Body Retreats on Climate Change Agenda

By Patrick Henningsen
21st Century Wire
Sept 30, 2010

The UK’s leading scientific body has decided to rewrite its own definitive guide on climate change, now admitting that it is “not known” how much warmer the planet will become.

The Royal Society has released a new guide which outlines its retreat from its former vanguard stance on the threat of climate change and man-made global warming. The decision to update their scientific guide came after 43 of its members complained that the previous versions failed to take into account the opinion of climate change sceptics.

The new guide, entitled ‘Climate change: a summary of the science’, concedes that there are now major ‘uncertainties’ regarding the once sacred ‘scientific consensus’ behind man-made global warming theory, admitting that not only is it impossible to know for sure how the Earth’s climate will change in the future but it cannot possibly know what the effects may be. The 19-page guide states clearly, ’It is not possible to determine exactly how much the Earth will warm or exactly how the climate will change in the future, but careful estimates of potential changes and associated uncertainties have been made”.

The guide continues stating, “There is currently insufficient understanding of the enhanced melting and retreat of the ice sheets on Greenland and West Antarctica to predict exactly how much the rate of sea level rise will increase above that observed in the past century for a given temperature increase”.

In a recent article published in the UK Mail, Professor Antony Kelly explains, ”The previous guidance was discouraging debate rather than encouraging it among knowledgeable people. The new guidance is clearer and a very much better document”.

The decision to revise and tone down its alarmist position on climate change demonstrates a clear u-turn on its previous 2007 climate pamphlet, one which is said to have caused an internal rebellion by the 43 fellows of the Society, triggering a review and subsequent revision. The 2007 publication, which parroted the IPCC’s popular, but misleading impression that the ‘science is settled’ – making way for the new guide which accepts that important questions remain open and uncertainties unresolved. “The Royal Society now also agrees(with us) that the warming trend of the 1980s and 90s has come to a halt in the last 10 years,” said Dr Benny Peiser, the Director of Britain’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

This follows last week’s blow to the radical climatist agenda inside Britain, where the new Coalition Government announced it will be slashing its Climate Change Department’s budget and folding the former free-standing bureaucracy into the Treasury department.

Some analysts also believe that the Society’s new guide does not go far enough. Dr David Whitehouse, the science editor of the GWPF said: “The biggest failing of the new guide is that it dismisses temperature data prior to 1850 as limited and leaves it at that. It would cast a whole new light on today’s warming if the Medieval Warm Period, the Roman Warm Period and the Bronze Age Warm Period were as warm as today, possibility even warmer than today. A thorough discussion of the growing empirical evidence for the global existence of the Medieval Warm Period and its implications would have been a valuable addition to the new report.”

This new development has reinforced a very real trend in climate circles where political activism is now being replaced by a more sober assessment of the scientific evidence and ongoing climate debates.

The UN’s “Hopenhagen” Summit ended in failure as no real binding agreement could be reached (PHOTO: Patrick Henningsen)

Economic realities and a marked shift in public opinion since last year’s Climategate scandal and the failure of the much-hyped UN Copenhagen Summit have triggered a series of falling dominos within the climate change and anthropogenic global warming (AGW) orthodoxy.

To date, the political activist engine powering climate change has been anchored by an elite circle of scientists, foundations, green journalists and carbon financiers. The fuel for this trend has been supplied by short-term economic opportunities, most of which has been supplied in the form of subsidies and feed-in tariffs by the State and supra-national bodies like the UN and the European Union. In the US, problems with Cap and Trade are more chronic, and North America’s sole carbon trading market, the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) is being scaled down following a decline in investment and the near complete collapse in carbon emission prices.

As formerly obedient IPCC scientists and insiders gradually break ranks and defect over to the common sense camp, and foundations like the Royal Society reverse their policies on the nature of the climate threat, politicians may lose the once reliable traction they enjoyed when promoting their green agendas. This is followed, of course, by the economic reality of any democracy whereby taxpayers cannot really back departments, much less policies, that do not deliver a measured benefit to the public welfare. The rising tide of scepticism and real scientific analysis will surely spell and end to the innumerable speculative policies and guesswork forecasting that has plagued the climate change movement to date.

As science continues to shift back into line with reality of real world observation, it follows that many of the climate bureaucracies erected since 2000 will stumble as a result. The reason for this phenomenon is spelled out in the laws of political physics; a collapse of the so-called “scientific consensus” comes into direct conflict with one of the main tenets of politics- plausible deniability. History states that when politicians can no longer use scientists as scapegoats, as in “it’s not our fault, they told us CO2 was heating up the planet…”, then the political agenda is dead.

The reality curve is certainly catching up to climate change now.

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT:
21st Century Wire EXCLUSIVE VIDEO REPORTS from Copenhagen 2009

SHORT FILM: “HOPENHAGEN”

Categories

About the Author: Michael Goetz