Saturday, March 12, 2011

Garnaut: Climate science has "strengthened" since 2008, calls out media for false "balance"

"observations and research outcomes since 2008 have confirmed and strengthened the position... that the Earth is warming and that human emissions of greenhouse gases are the primary cause"

Prof Ross Garnaut, has been releasing a series of updates to his 2008 climate change review. The latest is to update the science of climate change.

Garnaut concludes that the science showing the world is warming and that humans are responsible has become more certain since 2008. The report also concludes:
"The statistically significant warming trend has been confirmed by observations over recent years:
    • global temperatures continue to rise around the midpoints of the range of the projections of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and the presence of a warming trend has been confirmed;
    • the rate of sea level rise has accelerated and is tracking above the range suggested by the IPCC; and
    • rates of change in most observable responses of the physical and biological environment to global warming lie at or above expectations from the mainstream science."
Scientists, and especially the IPCC (which works by consensus) are often cautious with their conclusions. Garnaut finds evidence for this noting that:

"It is an awful reality that no major developments in the science hold out realistic hope that the judgements of the 2008 Review erred in the direction of overestimating the risks of climate change."

In his press conference Garnaut also points out that many the media are doing a poor job of explaining the science as they will:

"seek to provide some balance between people who base their views on the mainstream science and people who don't. That is a very strange sort of balance. It is a balance of numbers of words and not a balance of scientific authority"
This false balance is well known, given that some 97% of climate scientists agree that humans are causing global warming, giving the other 3% (and various non climate scientist "skeptics") 50% of the airtime creates the illusion of controversy. Of course some don't even bother to find a "skeptical" "scientist", a self described weather forecaster who previously wrote a book on reading cats paws is a good enough expert for some in the media.

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