Afternoon Science Foray - Climate Change: Is There Any Reason For Scepticism?

Location image of event venue

Details

Following on from our Science Foray about the Gaia hypothesis, this is another small-scale event (maybe eight people) without a topic speaker. The idea is that a few people who may or may not be specialists in relevant areas, but who are scientifically informed or interested, get together to discuss the key issues.

The title should really spell out that we're talking here about climate change caused by the activities of mankind - but there's a limit to how long event titles can be.

The venue is the cafe at Illustrate in Park Street. It would really help maintain the goodwill of the people at Illustrate if attendees would think about buying a coffee or a piece of cake.

The start time for this event is 2 pm in the hope that the cafe will be a bit quieter than it was last time - when the start time was 12 noon.

Here are three books which summarise the mainstream view of global warming:

Gribbin, John, Hothouse Earth, Bantam Press 1990.

Maslin, Mark, Global Warming - A Very Short Introduction, 3rd edition, OUP 2014.

Maslin, Mark, Climate - A Very Short Introduction, OUP, 2013.

The main international body concerned with the study of global warming is the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Here is a link to their web page:

https://www.ipcc.ch/

One of the leading centres for the study of climate change is the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. Here is the relevant Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit

Another very relevant book is the following:

Black, Richard, Denied: The Rise and Fall of Climate Contrarianism, The Real Press, 2018.

This is a journalist's account of the main arguments used by climate sceptics - though the author himself is definitely not a sceptic. A useful account of the story so far is given.

Here are two books definitely written from the sceptical viewpoint:

Lawson, Nigel, An Appeal to Reason, Gerald Duckworth and Co., 2009.

Marohasy, Jennifer (ed.), Climate Change: The Facts 2017, Connor Court Publishing, 2017.

Among the more prominant sceptics are the Australian Prof. Ian Plimer (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ian_Plimer#Views_on_climate_change), Nigel Lawson, the late Christopher Booker (author of The Seven Basic Plots), science writer and peer Matt Ridley (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matt_Ridley#Climate_change_scepticism), and (of course) Donald Trump (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Political_positions_of_Donald_Trump#Climate_change_and_pollution). Wikipedia has a list of sceptical scientists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_scientists_who_disagree_with_the_scientific_consensus_on_global_warming).

Nigel Lawson was instrumental in funding a sceptical body called The Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF). Here is a link to the GWPF's website:

http://www.thegwpf.org/

and here is a link to the relevant Wikipedia page:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Global_Warming_Policy_Foundation

Specific incidents in the story of climate change scepticism include the controversy in 2009 caused by the release of a set of e-mails hacked from the Climatical Research Unit (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Climatic_Research_Unit_email_controversy) and an earlier episode known as the Hockey Stick Controversy (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hockey_stick_controversy).

A great deal hinges on the temperature measurements made over the years by cimate scientists (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Instrumental_temperature_record). One of the best-known sets of temperature measurements is the HadCRUT dataset (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HadCRUT) maintained by the Met Office's Hadley Centre and the CRU at the University of East Anglia. That data can be downloaded in various formats here: https://www.metoffice.gov.uk/hadobs/hadcrut4/data/current/download.html