8 Dec 2009.
For immediate release.

Contact the ABD

Previous
Press Release
Next

ABD response to Ed Miliband`s 10 climate change ‘facts’
10 climate change ‘facts’ can be found at Ed Miliband`s “campaign for a climate change deal at Copenhagen”:
 
http://www.edspledge.com/climate-change-science
 
And on the Department of Energy and Climate Change webpage ‘ACT on CO₂PENHAGEN’ 10 Pub Quiz climate change facts:
 
http://www.actoncopenhagen.decc.gov.uk/en/ambition/achievements/december/copenhagen-pub-quiz/
 
ABD climate expert Paul Biggs says:
“The government's 10 climate ‘facts’ must have been written in a pub by someone who had drunk ‘one too many’.”

 
Biggs responds briefly to each 'fact' below:
 
Government answers are shown in green
 
Our response is shown in blue
 
1. People say the world isn’t really getting warmer, some years are just hotter than others, and it varies / goes around in cycles.
a. The 10 warmest years on record have all occurred since 1997. That’s a fact, based on recorded temperatures since 1850 (when reliable records began). Over the last 100 years the Earth has warmed by about 0.75 degrees Celsius and the speed it is warming at is getting faster. These days the UK Spring arrives about 10 days earlier than it did in the 1970s. In 159 years of records, the 10 hottest years have been in the last 12 years.
There has been a global temperature stagnation since 1999 despite a 29% increase in man-made CO₂ emissions - this is confirmed in a publication in the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (BAMS) in August 2009 using the UK's Hadley CRU T3 global temperature data. We don't have instrumental temperature records to compare modern warming with previous warm periods such as the Medieval Warm Period or the Roman Warm Period. Claims that current warming is unprecedented rely on the demonstrably erroneous 'Hockey Stick' graphs.
b. Arctic sea ice is melting, the extent it reaches has shrunk by about 10% every 10 years since the late 70s. The smallest amounts of Arctic summer ice on record were in the last 3 years: 2007-2009. In a few decades, large parts of the Arctic Ocean are expected to have no late summer sea-ice at all.
Alarmism over Arctic ice is largely based on short satellite records since 1979. During the Medieval Warm Period (about 1000 years ago) Vikings were able to colonise and farm in Greenland up until the onset of the Little Ice Age. The media didn't find it newsworthy that Antarctic sea ice coverage reached a satellite record high in 2007.
2. People say we’ve nothing to do with it.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere have gone up 38% since 1750 - the year the industrial revolution started. Rising levels of greenhouse gases are directly linked to human activity like burning fossil fuels and clearing forests. There is a clear link between more greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and global warming.
Post Little Ice Age warming started before significant global man-made CO2 emissions. There is no proven link between modern warming and CO₂, which relies heavily on flawed, simplistic computer models that can never hope to fully represent our complex, chaotic climate system.
3. But not all scientists agree though, right?
The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human induced climate change poses a huge threat to the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is not run by any government – ‘intergovernmental’ means it answers to all 192 governments signed up to it. Its reports are written by independent scientists. It is one of the most rigorous scientific bodies that exists. It brings together many thousands of scientists from countries all over the world to put together the best assessments of climate science available. What about the leaked emails from the University of East Anglia? Don’t they undermine the science? There is an independent review looking at this incident. But there is an overwhelming consensus, based on decades of climate science and the work of thousands of scientists around the world which says that climate change is real and a major threat.
Many climate scientists have not expressed an opinion on the claims that climate change is human induced and poses a huge threat to the world. There are vocal scientists that do express an opinion, which far from being 'black and white' as there are various shades of grey in between. The leaked UEA CRU emails have revealed how the scientific process is manipulated in order to exclude the publication of so-called sceptical science. Furthermore, it is clear from the leaked emails that just 20 to 30 scientists impose their opinion on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports. The IPCC represents an unhealthy monopoly of climate science, designed to implicate man in order to underpin political agendas.
4. It’s too late, we just need to accept it.
This international scientific panel says we need to stop the world getting more than 2 degrees warmer if we want to avoid dangerous climate change. After that it becomes harder to produce food and competition for water, sea level rises and loss of species get much worse. We've got the technologies we need for a low-carbon world we just need to go for it now. It'll cost much less to go low carbon than it will to let climate change happen.
Claiming that humans can manipulate the Earth's temperature by limiting it to a 2C rise using a single factor such as CO₂ is absurd. The Earth doesn't have a 'set' temperature.
5. A bit of melting ice and slightly hotter summers, what’s the problem?
Global sea levels have already risen by 10 centimetres in the last 50 years, thanks to melting ice and warming oceans. This is already threatening low-lying countries, such as islands and Bangladesh. Millions more people are expected to be flooded every year by 2080. Latest predictions suggest the sea could rise by 1 metre this century. In Europe alone this could affect over 20 million people. And it looks like the sea is rising more quickly now than in the 20th century.
The published scientific literature constrains future sea level rises to around 0.8 metres by 2100, but even this figure requires "accelerated conditions" to occur in the future. Data from 2008 shows that Bangladesh's landmass is increasing, contradicting forecasts that the South Asian nation will be under the waves by the end of the century - the Dhaka-based Center for Environment and Geographic Information Services (CEGIS) studied 32 years of satellite images and say Bangladesh's landmass has increased by 20 square kilometres (eight square miles) annually. The IPCC claims that it will lose 17 percent of its land by 2050 because of rising sea levels due to global warming.
6. Some countries have always had droughts, it’s nothing new.
Severe droughts are now twice as common as they were in 1970. More drought is affecting which crops we can grow effectively. Global demand for food is expected to nearly double by 2050. But by 2025, lack of water could mean we produce a third less of the volume of cereals we currently eat – that’s the same as losing the entire grain crops of India and the US combined.
There is no greenhouse gas signal in drought trends (or other natural disasters), which are likely contributed to by societal changes, particularly increased demand for water.
7. Global warming is just to do with natural changes in the Sun.
Scientists are clear that there is strong evidence that changes in solar radiation could not have caused the rapid warming we have seen over the past fifty years. The Met Office has stated that since the Industrial Revolution, additional greenhouse gases have had about ten times the effect on the climate as changes in the Sun’s output.
The IPCC admit to having a 'low level of scientific understanding' (LOSU) of solar irradiance and climate. Other solar factors have an even lower LOSU. The sun cannot be ruled out on the basis of a lack of knowledge. Nir Shaviv demonstrated the existence of a 'solar amplifier' in 2008, which magnifies the sun's influence on climate by 5 to 7 times. There are many other published papers linking the sun and climate, including the warming during the past 50 years.
8. We’ve all got a lot on our plate – let’s worry about it later.
Even if all greenhouse gas emissions stopped tomorrow, we are already locked into a global temperature rise of at least 1.4oC (since 1750) because of the delayed impact between emissions and temperature. It is already happening, and we need to act now to stop it getting much worse.
The sensitivity of climate to CO₂ is unproven, based on computer models that assume a positive enhancement of temperature or 'feedback,' despite published evidence for a large negative feedback limiting temperature rise due to CO₂.
9. It won’t happen to us though.
Developed countries suffer impacts too. The 2003 heat wave in western Europe, which caused 35,000 deaths (2,000 in the UK), is already twice as likely to happen again next year. By the 2040s Europe will consider such a summer normal. By 2060s they will consider it cool.
The 2000 'excess deaths' in the UK during the 2003 heat wave need to be placed in perspective with UK 'excess winter deaths, which increased by 50% in 2008/09 over the previous year to 36,700 - sending an extra 10,000 pensioners to early graves. 'Climate Policy' which has increased the cost of energy must take some of the blame for these extra deaths. Also, compare the 35,000 European excess deaths in the heat wave of 2003, to the average 100,000 European excess winter deaths. There are two published papers which question the claimed link between the 2003 heat wave and man-made CO₂:
 
Contribution of land-atmosphere coupling to recent European summer heat waves. Fischer et al (2007), Geophys. Res. Lett., 34, L06707, doi:10.1029/2006GL029068.
 
Was the 2003 European summer heat wave unusual in a global context? Chase et al (2006) Geophys. Res. Lett., 33, L23709, doi:10.1029/2006GL027470
10. Surely it’s only the odd polar bear, who cares?
Species are already being forced to migrate or adapt. Scientists think that around 20% of species will become extinct with 2 degrees of warming – and it will be a real challenge, even if we act right now, to keep to that limit.
According to a new 2009 article: "The evidence of climate change-driven extinctions have really been overplayed," said Professor Kathy Willis, a long-term ecologist at the University of Oxford and lead author of the article. Professor Willis warned that alarmist reports were leading to ill-founded biodiversity policies in government and some major conservation groups. She said that climate change has become a "buzz word" that is taking priority while, in practice, changes in human use of land have a greater impact on the survival of species. "I'm certainly not a climate change denier, far from it, but we have to have sound policies for managing our ecosystems," she said.

 
 
Notes for Editors about the ABD