Wednesday, 11 July 2007

Climate Change: The Debate Is Over

I wrote a few months ago about the manufactured controversy over the science of global warming. To the extent that there's scientific uncertainty these days, it's about things like, as one writer put it:

"why model predictions of outgoing longwave radiation at the top of the atmosphere in tropical latitudes differ from satellite readings, or how the size of ice crystals in cirrus clouds affect the amount of incoming shortwave reflected back into space, or precisely how much stratospheric cooling can be attributed to ozone depletion rather than an enhanced greenhouse effect."

The debate isn't about whether increased CO2 from human activity is causing climate change. That debate was over long ago.

Or at least it should have been. Unfortunately, climate-deniers have gotten a lot of media attention for hypotheses that claim solar activity is actually to blame. Until now.

Yet another nail in the coffin of climate-denial came yesterday, with a report by Mike Lockwood and a team at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in Oxfordshire.

While the climate sceptics have argued that increasing solar activity is causing the warming, Lockwood and his team found that solar activity has actually decreased over the past 25 years. And temperatures keep rising.


Commenting on the report, a spokesman for the UK's respected Royal Society said:

"This is an important contribution to the scientific debate on climate change. At present there is a small minority which is seeking to deliberately confuse the public on the causes of climate change. They are often misrepresenting the science, when the reality is that the evidence is getting stronger every day. We have reached a point where a failure to take action to reduce carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions would be irresponsible and dangerous."

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