I don't have anything left to say on the ScottishSkeptic Affair of last week - but I did read this article by Collin Maessen at RealSceptic.com where he has taken the time to do his own evaluation of the ScottishSkeptic's scientific claims. I thought it was fascinating and contacted Collin asking him for permission to repost his article in full. That was a couple days ago and it's about time I get it up here. With thanks to Collin Maessen for his permission to REPOST his article:
The name of this organisation sounded interesting to me considering the subjects I tackle. I got even more interested when it was mentioned that this was to gather some information about the public debate about climate change.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has been increasing.
In 1960 it was 0.032% of the atmosphere, today it is 0.039%.
Increase in global temperatures
There has very probably been warming of average global temperatures in the last 150 years.
There is a greenhouse effect and CO2 is a greenhouse gas.
The best scientific estimate of this effect (for doubling CO2) is about 1C warming.
People think there are mechanisms that could increase warming further than the direct effect of CO2. This is not supported by the evidence.
Current estimates of about 0.8 C temperature rise in the past 150 years are very likely too high. There is compelling evidence of malpractice, urban heating and poor instruments & siting. A figure of 0.5-0.6C warming appears more likely.
Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made.
Water vapour in the atmosphere
Water in the atmosphere is far more important than CO2 in determining global temperature.
The harmful effects of warming have been exaggerated as shown e.g. by the absence of substantial evidence for increasing weather extremes.
Possible benefits to global warming
Known benefits have been hidden. It is estimated there are more than 20,000 extra winter deaths each year in the UK and increasing fuel costs will make this worse. CO2 is essential for plant growth and increasing levels are beneficial to plants.
This statement also ignores how dangerous warm weather can be. Warmer winters would indeed mean fewer deaths among vulnerable groups, but the same groups are also vulnerable to heat waves. Those will increase in a warming world and the deaths caused by heat waves are expected to be five times greater than the number of deaths prevented during winter.
Cost of global warming
Even under the worst case scenario warming, when the usual method of comparing the cost and benefit of policy is used, it is more cost-effective to deal with any problems that occur than to pay to try to stop them.
Climate proxies are not reliable. If we consider all the evidence including historical records, the evidence suggests the world was warmer during the “medieval warm period” as well as being cooler during the “little ice age”.
The cause for warming
Climate varies naturally. Most of the CO2 rise occurred in the latter half of the 20th century. If this change were man-made the global temperature change for the early and latter 20th century should be very different. They are not. This suggests a natural cause for much of the 20th century warming.
In 2001 the IPCC stated with a high degree of confidence that global temperature would warm. It has not. In science a theory is not valid unless the data supports it. Climate scientists must accept this theory is not validated and acknowledge that the IPCC confidence in warming was greatly overstated.
Accusation of malpractice
We condemn the many instances of malpractice seen in climate science and those who condone them.
We encourage debate based on scientific evidence. We particularly abhor any dismissal of potentially good science based on the preconceived prejudice that has dominated climate science and prevented debate.