Getting Warmer?

Posted on Tue 07 November 2006 in misc

Coming via Slashdot I came across this article today. It's quite a thorough piece examining the data on Climate change and more importantly it's presentation. I was especially impressed by the linked source material which is a pretty complete (although not peer reviewed and published) scientific paper. It comes with an extensive reference list. The central thrust seems to be although man may well be affecting the temperature of the planet the impact of the Greenhouse Effect may be less than we think. The Medieval Warm Period also makes an appearance in the evidence. Of course the fact that it has been warmer pre-industrial revolution doesn't mean the current changes are going to be because of the same reason. However there is a point that if the influence of CO2 is less than say sun activity we are basically at the mercy of the Sun. However it is sobering to realise that Venus experiences the same Sun patterns as Earth but has a much harsher temperature regime because of the CO2 levels it experiences.

I'm not a climate scientist so I'm not really well placed to judge who's right and who's wrong in the debate. I would prefer it if scientists did keep up the debate though - on the science and not on who's funding who. It's not exactly unknown for scientific consensus to be wrong. A true scientist is one who when presented with the evidence can accept their view is disproved and to move the science on from that point.

Does reading this single article change my views on environmental issues? Not really. There are plenty of good reasons to cut our usage of fossil fuels - one day they will run out. The society that is most advanced in weaning themselves of their addiction to oil will be best placed to prosper into the future. The general principle of moving to a more sustainable economy is common sense. Until we get off this one rock that houses the entire of humanity we need to careful to conserve resources. The consequences of getting it wrong are pretty severe. The Earth will keep going for a few billion years before it's eventual demise but we are quite capable of wiping ourselves out in a few generations if we're not careful.