So we come to the end of the first week of the climate summit in
We also know now that President Obama will join the summit towards its end next week, further signalling serious engagement from the
To coincide with the summit Bristol University has launched some scary new information about ocean acidification (another product of excess CO2 in the atmosphere) which underlines a significant threat to marine systems (although I cannot find a link to paper on this just advance press notice – so I cannot point you at the research yet).
This all seems surprisingly positive given early concerns that nothing would be agreed. Is it possible that the
What is less positive is the outburst of outspoken views of the climate-change ‘nay-sayers’ who continue to state that this is all a big con. Indeed it is reported that only about half the people in the
We probably all have some sympathy with this. But what do those governments seeking a negotiation and pledging money to help do so even at this difficult economic time, have to gain beyond addressing this urgent threat? Equally, what have all these scientists standing together in their call for action got to benefit? Promotion of their careers? There could be an element of this. There is no doubt that climate scientists have become important scientists as this issue has developed. But they could still be important and successful scientists without making a call for action which some characterise as extreme. Indeed there is a risk to them as the recent spin and extreme scrutiny of some emails from the
Historically, we have had scientists being given a very hard time over other emergent issues. This is not new. Powerful players may not like news that counters their economic interests. The breaking of the news about the dangers of organochlorine pollutants in aquatic systems is one example. Marine noise pollution is another such issue and we are still deep in the debates with this about how far the science can go and how precautionary noise users and conservation managers need to be.
Goldacre, who writes a regular and fascinating column in the Guardian called ‘Bad Science’ where he typically debunks poor use of science, suggests that there is a recognizable repeating of themes in the arguments of the climate change nay-sayers. The same arguments come up again and again. They know the answers to these arguments but they make them anyway and some (who have not heard the arguments) continue to be affected by them.
We deal in lots of issues where science does not provide any simple answers at WDCS. I am not sure that I believe in unbiased science. Scientists are after all only people with view and aspirations like the rest of us (no matter how much some may like to dress this up). However there is an overwhelming and unprecedented weight of scientific support which says climate change is here and human activities, particularly the discharges of carbon dioxide, are the primary cause. The final leg of this situation is that action needs to come fast.
Source: Bad Science
Finally one thing that is nagging at the back of my brain is the issue of whatever agreement the nations reach in
For regular updates from the Climate conference try the BBC's blog by Richard Black.