BIS

Preparing for the future

I’m delighted that we have published the report on the International Dimensions of Climate Change this week. This shorter type of Foresight project examines what risks the UK could face in the future through international climate change and the strengths it possesses to best position itself in this warming world.

This report has used peer-reviewed evidence to consider the effects of climate change that could occur outside of the UK, but which could give rise to threats and opportunities which need to be considered by UK policy makers. The message is clear – the UK will be vulnerable to adverse impacts from climate change abroad and more attention needs to be given to how climate change effects in other countries may have impacts here.

It is likely that these impacts from abroad will have implications across wide ranges of government policy, such as:

  • Foreign policy and security – International instability could increase as a consequence of climate change, either directly through extreme weather events and water system stresses, or indirectly as social and political systems in vulnerable parts of the world come under increasing strain.
  • Resources and infrastructure – Climate change could affect the overseas resources and infrastructure on which the UK depends: the UK is a net energy importer and had an energy trade deficit of £8.2 billion in 2009.  Climate change may disrupt critical infrastructure (for example pipelines, ports and overseas refineries) affecting the price and security of UK energy imports.
  • Financial sector and business –the financial and business sector may fail to properly evaluate and take into account changes in the balance of risks associated with climate change overseas. In 2008 UK firms managed worldwide assets of £1.2 trillion, and the accurate assessment of their level of exposure to climate change effects will be required to ensure these assets are properly insured or protected.

The report will help the UK Government consider how climate change impacts will be felt here so we can better prepare and adapt for the future. The UK must not respond by becoming insular, instead it needs to broaden its international reach to tackle climate change and these risks around the world.

The UK has the potential to make a strong contribution to help the world tackle climate change.  These opportunities build on existing UK strengths and include a wide range of green technologies, particularly in the energy sector, such as carbon capture and storage, and new forms of financing for the green economy.  The global environmental and low-carbon market was estimated to be £3.2 trillion in 2008/09 with a predicted 4% growth rate to 2013/14, with the UK forecast to achieve up to 3.9% growth in these areas by 2016. BIS has already made two major announcements in the last month, with extra investment in green technology and the creation of the world’s first Green Investment Bank.

I would like to thank DEFRA, a key sponsor department for the project, who will use the report to inform the UK’s first Climate Change Risk Assessment (as required by law through the 2008 Climate Change Act). This will ensure that the Government’s policy on adaptation to climate change takes appropriate account of international impacts. My thanks also go to the FCO, who held a launch event for the report for UK based diplomats and climate change attaches, and to DECC who also sponsored the project.

I would keen to hear your views – you can comment on the report here on the blog, and you can follow me, UKsciencechief and Foresightgovuk on Twitter as well.

Regards,

SJB

54 Responses to Preparing for the future

  1. Mac says:

    Quote from report, page 18

    “A word of caution

    This Report conveys the threats and opportunities to the UK from particular outcomes related to climate change, but does not attempt to assess the likelihood of such events. Projections of climate change are subject to considerable uncertainty (see section 2.3.2). It would therefore not be feasible
    for a project of such broad scope to carry out an exhaustive assessment of every risk identified, as well as the inherent uncertainty around the timing, scale and location of climate change impacts and other relevant global drivers of change. The Report combines peer-reviewed analysis, quantitative
    modelling, expert judgement and elements of futures techniques in the process of risk identification and analysis. A variety of terms are therefore used to reflect the different approaches to communicating expert judgement, uncertainties and confidence (both statistical and relating to expert judgement).

    While this Report does not provide a formal or quantitative risk assessment, it does identify a range of threats and opportunities that should be considered as signposts for action, and a basis for further, more detailed analysis.”

    Why wasn’t this ‘word of caution’ not featured in the Executive Summary? Surely that is a proper place for caveats?

    This failure makes this a highly misleading report.

    Hasn’t government bodies and officials not learnt from the fiascos surrounding the hype generated by the 2009 swine flu outbreak and the 2010 volcanic ash incident?

    It would appear not!

  2. Latimer Alder says:

    I read the report with interest, but overall was left somewhat confused. Here’s is my inital reaction on first reading (as expressed at the Bishop Hill website):

    ‘This whole report just seems to be an assemblage of ‘experts’ getting to together to flog their own hobby horses with some attempt to glue the parts together into a ‘coherent narrative’. But even they must admit that there is no coherent narrative. They could have saved their breath by saying just

    ‘Be prepared for change’

    which surely our Lords and Masters should have been anyway. At least those who were in the Cubs, Brownies, Guides or Scouts should have been’

    and a more reflective one a few hours later

    ‘After a bit more reading and a bit more mulling over I am baffled. It is still unclear to me why this report was written, who commissioned it, what its terms of reference were or who its intended audience is supposed to be.

    In particular, if it landed on my desk. I have no idea why I should bother to read it (it is far too long for a busy executive). And even if I did, I have no idea what actual actions I would take differently having done so.

    I spent part of my professional career in commercial sales of high-value capital goods to large and medium sized corporate customers. Our usual contacts were in middle and senior management. And so we got to be quite good at putting together compelling reasons why executive level customers should wish to part with their cash in return for our goods. And at getting those reasons listened to.

    This fails on nearly every count. It is in essence an academic literature review with some poorly supported ‘conclusions’ tacked on here and there. It gives no sensible framework for policy making..nor for any other sorts of action. It just has the feel of ‘going through the motions’ rather than a document with any real conviction.

    Perhaps its best use is as a quotation source for others in government to derive morsels for their own pet projects. Presumably they are looked upon with extra approval if they pay lip service to ‘climate change’. just as ten years ago every proposal had to have ‘community’ in the name. Completely meaningless but an indication that your were ‘on message’ ‘

    You will find a more extensive critique at the Bishop Hill website where over 100 comments on your report have already been made and your colleague Richard Betts has been doing a fine job of representing the party line..under occasionally trying circumstances.

    Here’s a link so that you can go straight there

    http://bishophill.squarespace.com/blog/2011/7/12/beddingtons-baloney.html

  3. ZT says:

    If you do not ‘defend the original hockey stick analysis’ – and are ‘aware that there are issues and uncertainties associated with it’ how can you continue to try to scare the public on AGW? Are you not interested in science?

    http://www.bishop-hill.net/blog/2011/3/27/beddington-quotes.html.

  4. Neil McEvoy says:

    Dear Sir John,

    You say the world is warming, but according to data collated by Professor Jones at UEA, it has not done so for some 13 years.
    http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3gl/from:1990
    I fear you may be labouring under a misapprehension.

    Yours sincerely,
    Neil McEvoy

  5. Neil Hyde says:

    As an aircraft engineer I am amazed at this report. It is not based on science , but pal reviewed computer models and manipulated data.

    In the aviation industry , modern aircraft and systems are designed on computers and with computer models. A prime example of this is the Boeing 787 Dreamliner. The difference is , after design , the 787 was subjected to real world testing , which it failed, leading to a three year delay in its entry in to service.

    None of the climate models has succesfully predicted the climate , either past , present or future. The only way they can is by data manipulation.

    To restrict our countries wealth and development because of the wishes of vocifereous NGO’s, and a group of scientists who have failed to provide any evidence whatsoever of anthropogenic CO2 induced climate change is suicidal, and bad science.

  6. Dr Phillip Bratby says:

    Dear Sir John,

    As a scientist who has worked in the nuclear industry, I am appalled by the poor quality of the report. A report of this quality would have been rejected in the nuclear industry. I will address just two of the failings of the report.

    Firstly in the Executive Summary it is stated “That climate change is taking place, and projected to continue for at least several decades, is well supported by the evidence.” Well of course climate change is happening, it has been happening since the earth first developed a climate. As a physicist I would be extremely surprised if a complex and chaotic system such as the earth’s climate were static. I assume that the report is referring to man-made global warming; so I looked to see what the evidence is. However the report referred to the IPCC 4th Assessment Report, which does not present such evidence; rather, it presents opinion.

    Secondly, the report discusses at length, the risks from climate change. However, since risk is the product of the probability of an event occurring and the consequences of that risk, I wonder how the risks will be determined since this is not stated. How are the probabilities of different amounts of cooling and warming quantified? Where are the consequences of these different amounts of warming and cooling specified?

    This report is not science; it is political propaganda of the worst type. You should get some proper scientists to look at “climate change”.

  7. John Hewitt says:

    Well Sir John the problem is that the evidence for AGW is rather poor. The IPCC used Mann’s “hockey stick” graph to try to frighten us but it has since been shown that the graph is based on shoddy data and even worse statistical technique.

    The IPCC then made several glaring errors that were corrected only after a lot of pressure. We now also know that the IPCC changed a peer reviewed article to fit in with their preconceived view of AGW.

    The models consistently fail to predict with any degree of accuracy. The observed data tells us that the warming if any is rather small.

    AGW may be a real problem – but many of us have not yet seen any real evidence. Scaremongering will not work.

  8. Alexander K says:

    Dear Sir John,
    I am very critical of your comments as they do not appear to be based on the science, but rather on your gloomy personal view of what ‘may happen’ if the world climate warms to a very limited extent. Considering there has been no actual global warming for around thirteen years, your predictions seem to be a little astray from the current reality.
    I would be most grateful if you briefly justify your position in a succinct response.
    Thank you.

  9. Adam Gallon says:

    Just on the off-chance that you may actually, honestly, want to hear views that don’t toe the party line.
    A report that looks at the potential effects and mitigation strategies for a range of climates, ranging from the 2C increase, to the high likelyhood of a return to temperatures last experienced in the 1850s, ie the “Little Ice Age”, as shown by the climate model reported here http://wattsupwiththat.com/2011/07/13/archibald-climate-forecast-to-2050/
    would be highly desirable.

  10. pesadia says:

    “This report has used peer-reviewed evidence to consider the effects of climate change that could occur outside of the UK, but which could give rise to threats and opportunities which need to be considered by UK policy makers”
    I would be interested to know how you conclude that the UK WILL be affected by climate change that COULD occur.
    Furthermore, in so far as the IPCC has been completely discredited, I wouyld be interested in the peer reviewed sourse of your findings.

  11. Dr T G Watkins says:

    Sir, with the greatest respect you seem to have been poorly advised. Your report is based on the false premise that increasing atmospheric CO2 levels, with an undoubted anthropogenic contribution, is causing global temperatures to rise with potentially disastrous consequences.
    The global warming ‘hypothesis’, now called climate change for obvious reasons, is not supported by empirical data but only supported by computer models which are programmed in a simplistic way; in particular they deal poorly with clouds, ocean temperature oscillations and various solar manifestations.
    There has been no warming for at least 10 years, sea surface temperatures have declined, sea level rise has not accelerated and in fact recently declined, there is no tropospheric hotspot, no change in Accumulated Cyclone Energy and no Arctic ‘death spiral’.
    The climate will continue to change and cycle as it always has and the next few years are likely to finally discredit the AGW hypothesis.
    My serious concern is not the misdiagnosis but the treatment being given for the non-existent disease – namely the attempt to ruin our economy by the introduction of so called renewable sources of electricity supply, wind power and solar in particular. Neither is reliable nor economic without huge subsidies and both require extensive conventional backup to ‘keep the lights on’ so that even if CO2 were a problem they fail to address it.
    Nuclear power generation is the only feasible ‘low carbon’ electricity source and I suggest strongly that your advisors investigate thoroughly Liquid Fluoride Thorium Reactors, assuming that LENR developed by Rossi comes to naught.
    The last thing needed by a population dazzled by the AGW meme is more alarmist propaganda associated with normal weather events.

  12. You will not find the definitive evidence on the “greenhouse effect” in the peer-reviewed literature. That evidence, which disproves the greenhouse effect hypothesis completely, is the proper comparison of temperatures in the atmospheres of Venus and Earth:

    Venus: No Greenhouse Effect

    The whole climate consensus is a house of cards, all of it resting on the single point of the “greenhouse effect”, which the Venus/Earth data proves is a false hypothesis, by showing that the temperature-versus-pressure profiles of Venus and Earth are essentially identical, over the entire range of Earth’s tropospheric pressures, when their different distances from the Sun (and nothing else) are taken into account. The Venus temperature data is nearly 20 years old (the Earth’s, much older), and any first-year physics student would be expected to analyze it properly and easily, yet I am apparently the first scientist to do so, and the only scientist to recognize and remain focused upon this, the critical knowledge that should end all competent debate (those that do not focus upon it, once having seen my presentation of it, are only engaging in scientifically incompetent debate). Not only does it prove 1) there is NO CO2 greenhouse effect as promulgated by the IPCC and the “consensus”, but it also shows 2) the planetary atmospheres are heated by direct absorption of infrared radiation from the Sun, not by first warming of the planetary surface as most scientists believe (and not by visible radiation), 3) consensus science is wrong to treat the planetary surface as a blackbody, and 4) albedo has nothing to do with the equivalent blackbody temperature of a planet-with-atmosphere system (only the incident solar radiation, at a given distance from the Sun, defines that equivalent temperature). My simple presentation also indicates what should be easy for students of thermodynamics to understand, if they were not miseducated to believe unquestioningly in the “greenhouse effect” dogma: The real effect of increasing CO2 is to increase the efficiency (thus the speed) of heat transfer within the atmosphere — since infrared absorption and emission, as by the so-called “greenhouse gases”, is merely one path for the heat to take (other paths being conduction and convection), and it will take whichever available path is most efficient — without changing the observed temperature lapse rate structure of the atmosphere; and again, Venus provides confirmation of this effect, because with 96.5% CO2, its dark side is found to be just as hot as its sunlit side. This is all very clear and simple, yet people still argue over the supposed exact value of the CO2 “climate sensitivity”, and the one scientific publication I have submitted my analysis to — “Physics Today”, on Feb. 7, 2011 — declined to publish it for the entire scientific community to see. It should be front-page news, worldwide, and the climate “consensus” should be thoroughly reconsidered, from first principles and this new knowledge I have brought forward.

    Harry Dale Huffman, newhdh@netzero.com

  13. Ibrahim says:

    Sir,

    Do you know that according to CET-temperatures, there hasn’t been significant warming since 1989 and that all winters have been cooler than the winter of 1989?
    http://hadobs.metoffice.com/hadcet/

    BTW: look at this (and there are more of these):
    http://eklima.met.no/metno/trend/TAMA_G0_0_1000_NO.jpg

    Do you know that, according to a study of Phil Jones, the 1930s and 1940s were the warmest decades in Greenland for over a 100 years?

    Do you know that the east pacific (wich is 30% of the world oceans) doesn’t show any warming for over 30 years?

  14. James Evans says:

    “The UK must not respond by becoming insular…”

    That doesn’t sound too sciencey to me. Sounds a bit like political advocacy.

  15. Steven Arthur says:

    As someone with advanced engineering degrees, it appears the earth’s climate demonstrates a system where negative feedbacks predominate. From the early faint sun times to the high CO2 Eocene era, the earth stayed within small temperature bounds. Preparing for an asteroid strike would seem to make more sense.

  16. “This report has used peer-reviewed evidence”
    Surely there is a misspelling here. Shouldn’t it read “Pal reviewed”.

  17. Foxgoose says:

    Dear Sir John

    Page 18 of your report includes the following statement:-

    A word of caution
    This Report conveys the threats and opportunities to the UK from particular outcomes related to climate change, but does not attempt to assess the likelihood of such events.

    In the body of the report, however, can be found the following statements:-

    We already live in warming world, and this trend will continue over the next 30 years.

    Effects of global warming that are already apparent are declining sea ice extent………….. changes to weather patterns, including indications of more frequent and more intense…………..extreme weather events, and changes to precipitation.

    Human activity is changing our climate

    The extent of climate change in the future will depend upon the achievement of lower stabilisation levels of GHGs

    The impacts of climate change will arise not only through large-scale changes and immediately damaging effects, such as severe weather events, but also long periods of moderate variation which may have equally significant impacts, and present greater challenges for adaptation.

    There seems to be a serious dichotomy here.

    These bald statements are presented as established fact, without any qualifying language – in direct contravention of the cautionary clause above.

    They will now doubtless be endlessly repeated by media, political, activist and environmental business agencies who have a vested interest in promoting the AGW hypothesis.

    In plain language, your report is saying:-

    Here are a number of serious threats to humanity and a detailed analysis of their probable devastating consequences.

    Please feel free to make use of this information to advance any agenda you wish to promote – but bear in mind none of it may ever happen.

    All in all – a completely dishonest waste of time and public money.

  18. The selective production of “peer reviewed” papers combined with the “sexing up” of the IPCC’s Summary for Policy Makers has resulted in a distorted view of climate science and this Report is based on a false premise.
    Solar scientists are suggesting that cycle 25, due shortly, will be very subdued, analogous to a Maunder or Dalton type minimum. Oceanic studies indicate that the Pacific Decadal Oscillation turned negative in 2007, heralding a 30 year cooling phase. The Atlantic Oscillation which has a 70 year cycle has also recently turned negative. Galactic cosmic rays stimulate the formation of reflective cloud cover. Solar magnetism is inversely correlated with the incidence of galactic cosmic rays and reduced solar activity will lead to greater reflective cloud cover (albedo). All of these factors suggest we are in a cooling phase which is likely to be prolonged for c. 30 years.
    The absence of real world proof that increased CO2 has made a significant contribution to rising global temperatures suggests that natural variation is what drives our climate, principally solar cycles, oceanic oscillations and albedo. There is no validity in the argument that recent cooling is caused by sulphates and carbon particles in the atmosphere due to China’s industrial activity, any more than claims that cooling from the 1940s to 1979 was similarly caused; the effect is much too localised given that four fifths of the planet in ocean.
    The IPCC process has corrupted the science and the Summary for Policy Makers does not provide a balanced view of climate science.
    If we’re heading into a period of cooling, we need to abandon the demonisation of carbon, an essential building block of life, and take a more balanced view of energy sources without the distortions that alarmist claims of unstoppable climate change have provoked.
    A comprehensive overview of the state of our knowledge of the climate is provided in Peter Taylor’s book, Chill; A reassessment of global warming. He gave an interesting talk at the Energy Institute in February 2010. His book is endorsed by W. Jackson Davis, who drafted the first Kyoto Protocol and suggests it is a must read for everyone on both sides of the debate.

  19. KVS Marshall says:

    Dear Sir John,

    I am a humble beancounter, who spends his time in analysing complex project costs and application forms for capital expenditures. In this vein, on page 63 of your report you claim that the Stern Review had a social discount rate of 1.4%, whilst the Economist (http://www.economist.com/node/14994731?story_id=14994731), Prof William Nordhaus (http://nordhaus.econ.yale.edu/stern_050307.pdf) and Tol & Yohe (WORLD ECONOMICS • Vol. 7 • No. 4• October–December 2006) along with my search through the archived report – especially Part II (http://webarchive.nationalarchives.gov.uk/+/http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/stern_review_report.htm) conclude that the Lord Stern used a discount rate of 0.1%. Have we all misread the report?

  20. Alastair B. McDonald says:

    According to the British Food and Drinks Industry, we are only 60% self sufficient in agricultural produce, importing £31 billion worth of food and drink and exporting £11 billion.

    http://www.fdf.org.uk/imports_exports.aspx

    At £20 billion, that is over twice the £8.2 trade deficit we had in energy which you see as a threat. The threat to our energy supplies does not come from global warming. It comes from Peak Oil, which we have now reached judging by the steep rise in price of fuels.

    Speaking for myself, I can survive without petrol for my car, but I cannot survive without food. Global climate changes climate will affect global agricultural production. Countries now willing to export food to us may well retain it for their own hungry population, or sell it to for a higher price to richer countries such as China, the USA or Germany. Therefore, rather than the government insisting on the dogma of a more efficient agricultural industry causing farms to close and farmers to commit suicide, it should concentrate instead on creating a more productive agricultural industry. Climate change already seems to be creating a famine in the Horn of Africa. Should those condition occur in the USA or Australia we will be in severe trouble.

    • Riddi of England says:

      ABM
      The Peak Oil to which you refer perhaps needs a closer definition.
      Do we mean that globally we have found all the oil that exists now and that not a drop remains to be discovered ?
      Do we mean that all the non- tight i.e. easily recoverable already discovered oil is maxed ?
      Do we mean our refining capacity has maxed short of demand ?
      In passing there is a strong suggestion that *empty* oil deposits are regenerating themselves more rapidly than was thought possible . Radio isotope analysis indicates that the new oil is much younger and is not a past residual.
      But the real global energy changer is the advent of Shale gas in quantities almost beyond comprehension and as luck would have it in geographically benign areas.
      Other than my small quibble.your post was apposite.

      • Alastair says:

        Riddi,

        It is nice to see someone else considering the real problem, “What should the UK be doing to prepare for CAGW (catastrophic anthropogenic global warming)?” instead of scratching around to find reasons to deny the science and bolster their political biases :-)

        The first problem is, of course, they are not alone in believing that catastrophes cannot happen to them. My impression is that Sir John is of the same opinion. He seems to think that we in England live in a green and pleasnt land at that is way it will remain. He seems to be unaware that during the last interglacial Hippos were cavorting in the Thames, and Britain was a very different place. We have already raised CO2 levels well above those that existed then, so we can expect even more extreme weather when we pass the tipping point.

        I have a more pragmatic view of Peak OIl. For me it is when demand outstrips supply and the price soars, as it is doing now. Demand has increased exponentially but supply is a finite quantity. Eventually the two lines cross and Hubbert has already worked out it happens when half the resources have been exploited/destroyed. Any new discoveries made now will soon be wiped out by the soaring demand.

        Oil shale is not the answer to Peak Oil because it is more expensive to produce. Therefore the cheap transport and food distribution we are used to will become more expensive i.e we will become poorer :-( Unless we can employ solar energy to provide us with power at the same price as oil has in the past then we will have to accept a lower standard of living – that means the strikes and riots until we do.

        High bread prices brought down the French monarchy in the French Revolution. Sir John should be warning the British government it will go the same way if they do not prepare for the famines that will result from abrupt global climate change.

        Cheers, Alastair.

    • Epigenes says:

      Alistair,
      “Climate change already seems to be creating a famine in the Horn of Africa.”

      Why do you make such a fatuous statement? It is meaningless. The statement: ‘The Sun seems to orbiting the Earth’ is true but is not reality. Your statement is incoherent.

      Is ‘climate change’ creating the famine or not?
      What is causing this ‘climate change’ and what evidence is there?
      How long has climate change been taking place on Earth and the Horn of Africa?

  21. dougieh says:

    Hi SJB
    you state above –
    “examines what risks the UK could face in the future through international climate change and the strengths it possesses to best position itself in this warming world.”

    then state –

    “The message is clear – the UK will be vulnerable to adverse impacts from climate change abroad and more attention needs to be given to how climate change effects in other countries may have impacts here.”

    and you think from the above “The message is clear” ?
    lets worry/spend xxx pounds sorting our own mess out before “more attention needs to be given to how climate change effects in other countries may have impacts here.”

    ps. is climate change (cold/hot/cold/hot etc) the same as a warming world in your eyes?

    regards
    dougieh

  22. Sir John,

    Your introduction above states:

    “This report has used peer-reviewed evidence to consider the effects of climate change that could occur outside of the UK, but which could give rise to threats and opportunities which need to be considered by UK policy makers. The message is clear – the UK will be vulnerable to adverse impacts from climate change abroad and more attention needs to be given to how climate change effects in other countries may have impacts here.

    It is likely that these impacts from abroad will have implications across wide ranges of government policy [...]“

    It is not entirely clear to me how two “coulds”, one “may” and one “likely” can yield such certain “will”. But that aside …

    On the matter of “peer-reviewed evidence”, as I’m sure you are aware, Richard Horton, editor of The Lancet has observed (p. 131, “Independent Climate Change E-mail Review” aka the Muir Russell Report):

    “Everyone – scientists, the public, policymakers, politicians – would like to believe that peer review is a firewall between truth and error (or dishonesty) (15). But as the editor of one leading specialist medical journal has rightly pointed out, ―There is no question that, when it comes to peer review, the reviewers themselves are the weakest (or strongest) links”.

    In the same report, Horton also observed (p. 132):

    “Unfortunately, there is evidence of a lack of evidence for peer review‘s efficacy”

    [Source: http://www.cce-review.org/pdf/FINAL%20REPORT.pdf

    Further, as I'm sure you are also aware, much of the "evidence" pertaining to climate change is - in fact - not evidence as the word is commonly understood to mean, but rather the output from computer models. And, as you had noted during your presentation at SDUK09:

    "There is enormous uncertainty in the climate change models about that particular target [of 2 degrees centigrade]. [...] the only information we have is really enormously uncertain in terms of the climate change model.

    [...]

    “These are major uncertainties and we know that the climate change analysis that we have does not enable us to answer these.[...]

    [Source: http://www.govnet.co.uk/news/govnet/professor-sir-john-beddingtons-speech-at-sduk-09

    Consider also that much of the “peer-reviewed evidence” on which this Foresight report depends is not from primary sources: 66 of the citations are to material in IPCC reports. In light of the InterAcademy Council’s recent review (August 2010) of the IPCC, one wonders if it was wise to depend to such an extent on IPCC products.

    In your foreword to this Foresight report you note:

    “This Report aims to encourage UK policymakers to consider the international impacts of climate change alongside domestic impacts. It is timed to feed into the UK’s first Climate Change Risk Assessment”.

    It seems to me that perhaps this risk assessment should have been conducted some time prior to the implementation of policies on which the U.K. government has already embarked. Equally importantly, in the light of all the ‘enormous uncertainties’ inherent in the available evidence which you, yourself, have noted – and on which this Foresight report appears to depend – I trust you will forgive my skepticism regarding the usefulness of this Foresight report to the forthcoming risk assessment.

  23. gallopingcamel says:

    Carbon capture might make some sense if it was based on the idea of storing immense quantities of non-perishable food to prevent famine on a vast scale when the next major volcanic eruption occurs.

    The 1815 eruption of Mount Tambora caused the “Year Without a Summer” with widespread crop failures and famines around the world. If an eruption on this scale were to occur in 2015 would we be any better prepared than our ancestors 200 years ago?

  24. John Bellamy says:

    Your report is spot on and long needed. It is time that the dangers of climate change outside of the UK be assessed and, if possible mitigated. The UK can, once again be a world leader in saving the pl;anet.

    • John Hewitt says:

      John

      Your comment is the only one so far, supporting Sir John. Can you give us the evidence that your comment is based on please?

    • Epigenes says:

      John Bellamy,

      When was the last time that the UK saved the planet from ecological disaster and what were the circumstances that threatened it?

  25. John Holmes says:

    Your report assumes that AGW is settled science with little dissent, however considering the costs you are asking for the UK population to endure the bar set by the peer review system is not enough.
    I understand your perception that anthropomorphic emissions are causing global warming (AGW). But despite what your advisors say, the SCIENCE IS NOT SETTLED. It never is on any subject. In the case of climate science there is a lot of evidence that global temperatures have stopped rising (despite the continuing rise in CO2 levels) and that the impact of CO2 may not be as severe as the IPCC would have you believe.

    Before using the state of knowledge as it is currently known in order to make far reaching policy decisions, you need to carry out Due Diligence studies in order to verify that what you are being told is correct. The level of detail required to execute proper Due Diligence for something as complex as the dynamics of climate change is truly enormous. Peer review is not due diligence. Neither are the IPCC reports. Certainly not the Garnaut reports.

    Peer review of published papers is in general a coarse filter to ensure that if the evidence which the paper examines is valid and if the writers have done their sums correctly and if the results appear to make sense and add to the body of human knowledge then it’s OK to publish. Peer reviewers are unpaid experts in the same field as the writers of the paper. They seldom see all the basic data, the computer codes, the corrections, deletions and adjustments, the instrument calibration details, full details of all assumptions, etc, and their judgements are often coloured by their personal prejudices. Also they don’t get to see the experimental equipment and test environments or the actual samples that form the basis for the paper being reviewed. Usually none of this matters because scientific progress is self correcting. If a rocket scientist gets it wrong the rocket may crash or wander off course or fail in some other way. Oh dear, what a shame. Well, we’ll get it right next time round.

    Predicting climate change is not rocket science. It’s much, much more difficult. And the consequences of getting it wrong may be much, much more costly. So what do you do, given that there may be something happening that could cause humanity immense harm unless we change something? You conduct proper Due Diligence studies – engineering quality, not academician quality.

    You need to get the protagonists – those who claim we have a severe, looming problem – to assemble their best arguments and evidence to support their case. They should only offer papers which have been published with full public disclosure of all the data and computer codes so that the claims made within the paper can be reproduced by others. Then you appoint a Due Diligence Team (DDT) and give it a proper briefing (a Scope of Work). In the commercial world DDTs are usually independent disinterested contractors. They will need to see all of the things that peer reviewers usually don’t see as described above. In fact for proposals which will cost the community billions, the DDT will want to see a lot more. For example, many academic papers cite other previously published papers. These citations may have to be examined too. They will want to see the ‘bad’ data as well as the ‘good’. Also, published papers and other evidence may be invited for positions purporting to be contrary to the protagonists case. There is plenty of evidence which appears to throw doubt on many aspects of the IPCC case for climate change (the politically acceptable expression for AGW) and this will need to be subjected to DDT examination too.

    Unlike the authors of the IPCC reports who are nearly all climate scientists, the DDT should comprise physicists, economists, engineers, mathematicians (especially statisticians), geologists, biologists and climate scientists. But no more than 25% of the team should be climate scientists. It’s doubtful if the DDT will ever be able to achieve certainty on any matter but they should be able to come much closer to the truth than has the IPCC.

    Contrary to what you may have been told, the IPCC reports comprise the assessment by no more than 40 or 50 climate scientists, of all the published papers that in their opinion support in some way, climate change outside the realm of natural variation. Reviewers of each chapter in the reports were not permitted to see data which was not expressly provided in the relevant papers. In fact one reviewer was threatened with dismissal because he kept asking to see data. There is no audit trail for positions taken by authors of each chapter. None. In the business world, if a financier were asked to commit billions for some project on the basis of a report of the quality of any of the IPCC Assessment Reports he would tell you to “Go away – don’t waste my time”.

  26. Mac says:

    http://rossmckitrick.weebly.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/mmh_asl2010.pdf

    Panel and Multivariate Methods for Tests of Trend Equivalence in Climate Data Series: Ross McKitrick, Stephen McIntyre, Chad Herman, August 3, 2010, Atmospheric Science Letters

    Abstract

    We explain panel and multivariate regressions for comparing trends in climate data sets. They impose minimal restrictions on the covariance matrix and can embed multiple linear comparisons, which is a convenience in applied work. We present applications comparing post-1979 modeled and observed temperature trends in the tropical lower- and midtroposphere. Results are sensitive to the sample length. In data spanning 1979 to 1999,
    observed trends are not significantly different from zero or from model projections. In data spanning 1979 to 2009 the observed trends are significant in some cases but tend to differ significantly from modeled trends.

  27. Brent Hargreaves says:

    I can only accept the AGW hypothesis if it is subject to falsifiability criteria.

    As we stand, no amount of failure to heat up would refute it. This is not science.

    I propose that the UAH-MSU dataset is treated as authoritative, and that a failure in the present decade to surpass its 1998 peak should trigger the 2020 Beddington Declaration: “As GCSA I declare the AGW hypothesis false, and recommend the immediate cessation of Government greenhouse gas policy.”

  28. B Kindseth says:

    Sir John,
    Thank you for your interest in our input. The crux of the debate is the first few words of the first sentence, “This report has used peer-reviewed evidence….” What is your definition of evidence? Wikipedia defines scientific evidence as “In scientific research evidence is accumulated through observations of phenomena that occur in the natural world, or which are created as experiments in a laboratory or other controlled conditions.” Today’s climate “scientists” have corrupted the scientific process by calling computer simulations “experiments” and the output from them “data” and “evidence”. Just because the results from computer simulations are peer-reviewed does not make them “evidence”. There is an old common sense saying, “There are lies, damned lies, and statistics.” Statistics are a valuable tool to interpret statistics, but you cannot trust anyone who utilizes statistics as a creative tool. The author of this quote would be blown away by the use of computer models as creative tools and the gullibility of “scientists” in accepting simulations as “evidence”.

  29. Andrew MacIntyre says:

    Dear Sir john

    Other contributors have already made many of the points I was about to post including models vs observable evidence, lack of warming in recent years, poor scientifc method and practices, manipulation of data, debunking of the infamous “hockey stick” , the IPCC and reliance on grey literature and “pal” review etc etc. With the mounting evidence against AGW, has it not occured to you to even question the so called “concensus” on climate change?

    The report is no more than a political exercise in trying to sure up a declining belief within the public with regards to CAGW, or perhaps the public are becoming aware that policy is being driven through based on idealogical beliefs as opposed to evidence?

    This report is biased and in no way represents a truthful picture of the science, except of course the science you want to present to bolster your views. Of course this will be picked up by the media with its worst case doom and gloom scenarios over the front pages. Something which I’m sure it was intended to do.

    It wont be long now when fuel bills continue to rise and the public finally realise that much of that rise is down to “green policies” requiring the working population to hand over tax / subsidies to pay for them. Once this happens the backlash will begin, particularly in the light of Germany’s recent pronouncements on more coal and gas based generation.

    Finally, lets assume that your CAGW nonsense is correct for a moment. If you think unilateral action by the UK under the guise of the climate change bill will make the slightest difference when the BRICS nations are resource and power hungry you are sadly deluding yourself, the government and the nation. Moreover you know this but choose to ignore it.

  30. Dr Angela Montford says:

    Sir John,
    If you return to read these comments, I would ask you to consider replying to them by addressing the arguments that you find there in a follow-up article. We commenters are not “deniers”, nor “flat earthers”, as we have pejoratively been called, nor are we all stupid, mentally ill or short of information.

    There are many intelligent, well-educated and well-informed people in this country and elsewhere who, having read widely on the subject of carbon dioxide and the global warming theory, have found it wanting, are now approaching despair at the so-called “green” policies being put forward by the UK government and others at the behest of people such as you. Immoderate claims about imminent catastrophe cannot be justified by the current state of scientific knowledge about the climate. May I suggest that you now read and listen to a wider spectrum of opinion than you appear to have done so far.

  31. Mike Haseler says:

    There is a well known psychological effect called “group think” whereby a group of people reject clear evidence in favour of what they believe is the group “consensus”. This effect is common in one-party states, in religions and unfortunately in climate “science”.

    I have watched for years knowing that prior to this global warming groupthink, the general view amongst archaeologists was that periods of cold climate were generally bad for humanity and periods of warmth were generally good. I also know that in the UK age concern tell us 23,000 people die a year from cold, and during the hottest summer 2,300 died, whereas in the last two winters I have seen estimates of 40,000 deaths due to the cold.

    I have also read papers on grain production and various other papers and each and everyone one that is based on actual research and not the speculation of individuals points to clear benefits from a warmer climate.

    Now, as someone with a scientific training I have to be impartial. The lack of evidence for harmful effects of warming isn’t in itself evidence of no harmful effects. But it is clearly evidence that any report on the effects of climate variation that was genuinely scientific, would start from the impartial evidence of past archaeology and actual death statistics from the UK.

    But clearly the groupthink is very deep in this “science” because I cannot with any honest say that it adheres to any known basis of science I was taught at university. E.g. it is well known that the climate has not warmed since the IPCC made their prediction that we would see warming of between 1.4-5.8C by 2110.

    The temperature evidence is clearly at odds with the prediction. So where is the analysis evaluating this data against the theory? NOWHERE. THESE “scientists” DON’T EVEN ADMIT THAT NO WARMING HAS OCCURRED SINCE 2001.

    … until, we see a paper regarding Chinese pollution. Suddenly it’s OK to admit that it hasn’t warmed because they have dreamt up an excuse to explain it. Well what I ask you happened in the 1970-2000? We saw a massive reduction in pollution as virtually every industrialised country introduced clean air acts. So if a small increase in Chinese pollution could stop this “massive warming”, then clearly a massive decrease in pollution could have been responsible for the majority of apparent warming during the 1970s-2000s. So where is the analysis? Where is the science? Where is the impartial look at the evidence on pollution that treats increasing Chinese pollution equitably with reducing worldwide pollution? NOWHERE. NOWHERE AT ALL. This charlatans who call themselves scientists just cherry pick the data trawling the gutting of pseudo scientific theories until they find another News of the World style cheap paper that they can print and get their buddy review to pretend it is real science.

    Well I’m sick and tired of this excuse of a science, and I’m sick and tired of the groupthink “scientists” who go along with their lame excuse for science.

    And I won’t go into urban heating, the effects of automation and how sensors were moved closer to buildings, the way these “scientists” haven’t a clue about 1/f noise and treat every bit of long term natural variation as some kind of induced trend.

    I’ve never ever had the misfortune to see such a lot of voodoo nonsense and anyone calling themselves a scientist who still goes along with it after all the evidence to the contrary really should go back to University and look up the word “science” in a basic University text book.

    • Jolly well written, Mike.

      Is the good Prof reading any of this?

      Could it be that this forum pays mere lip-service to responding to his critics, but he has no intention of debating with the public. Mister Beddington, you’re looking like Ceaucescu on the balcony…

  32. lapogus says:

    Thank you for this opportunity to comment on your report. With respect I have to point that it is fundamentally flawed because it would appear that it is founded on the very shaky assumption that the warming of the late 20th century was as a result of the increase in atmospheric CO2 concentration from 0.0285% to 0.0385%. The problem being that despite 20 years and billions of research funding, the CO2 hypothesis/assertion is still completely unsubstantiated, there having been no empirical evidence presented which links anthropogenic CO2 emissions and global average temperatures. (Linear computer models built on flawed assumptions such as increased water vapour/clouds being a positive feedback can hardly be relied upon as ‘evidence’). The missing tropospheric hotspot alone also clearly invalidates the CO2 thesis. Hence before any more public money is spent on decarbonising what is left of our economy, and before any more of our hills and coastlines are despoiled by very expensive and inefficient windmills (which don’t actually produce any energy when we need it most – http://www.jmt.org/stuart-young-report.asp), may I suggest that UK government scientists and ministers familiarise themselves with a much more credible hypothesis which can account the warming of the late 20th century, (and for that matter the stasis that has been observed in the last 10-15 years or so – http://www.woodfortrees.org/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997.5/plot/hadcrut3vgl/from:1997.5/trend ):

    http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2011/06/02/what-caused-global-warming-in-the-late-c20th/

    I suggest you read it – and likewise also consider the work of Roy Spencer, Henrik Svensmark, Stephen Wilde, Bob Tisdale and Vukcevic.

    As for the much vaunted ‘gold standard’ science and impartiality of the IPCC, may I also suggest you read the following:

    http://sites.google.com/site/globalwarmingquestions/ipcc

    and:

    http://judithcurry.com/2011/07/05/the-ipccs-alteration-of-forster-gregorys-model-independent-climate-sensitivity-results/

    Once again thanks for the opportunity to comment on your report.

    Enjoy the Holocene while it lasts!

    http://jonova.s3.amazonaws.com/graphs/lappi/gisp-last-10000-new.png

  33. Barry Woods says:

    Just one Indian state’s, extra planned (80-100GW) coal powered stations will generate more than the UK’s ENTIRE electrity generation. AND they will recieve carbon credits. Thus the UK’s energy policy is ludicrous.

    Can we in the UK have just 5 new cleaner coal powered station to keep the UK’s lights on, when 30% of old generation gets decommisioned in a few very short years.? We even could let India have the carbon credits ?!

    An impecable source (The Guardian)

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2011/jul/14/india-coal-rush

    “A single Indian state is to build a new fleet of coal-power stations that could make it one of the world’s top 20 emitters of carbon emissions – on a par with countries such as Spain or Poland.

    In an echo of the Chinese economy in the 1990s which depended on the exploitation of vast reserves of coal, India last year approved plans for 173 coal-fired power stations expected to provide an extra 80-100 gigawatts (GW) of electricity capacity within a few years. Many are expected to be fuelled by cheap coal imported from Australia, Indonesia and southern Africa, but applications to mine more than 600m tonnes of coal in India have been lodged.”

  34. Dolphinhead says:

    Sir John

    I really hope that you read the comments above and take note.With one exception they are all critical of your report and all stand opposed to the lunacy of government policy on so-called climate change – the irrational persecution of carbon dioxide.

    As an adviser to government it is incumbent upon you to listen to those with opposing views. In addition, given the fact that detection and attribution of AGW is solely evidenced by computer models, as a ‘scientific’ adviser you must be aware that trully scientific evidence is simply not available to support the AGW hypothesis. Even IPCC acknowledges that computer models are incapable of predicting the future. Instead, the public is force fed ever more scary ‘scenarios’ advanced as if they were science by advocates of the green agenda. In the age of the internet this is a deception that will not prevail.

    On the assumption that you are a public servant please do your job properly and honestly and protect us from this nonsense.

    Thank you

  35. Dolphinhead says:

    Sir John

    I trust you will permit me the indulgence of a second comment.

    A somewhat potted history of the recent past:

    Gordon Brown calls climate change sceptics ‘flat-earthers’ in the run-up to Copenhagen and tells us we only have 10 minutes to save the world. Milliband tells us ‘the science is settled’ – surely the crassest statement a public figure has ever made. The Climategate emails show all is not well at CRU and elsewhere. A number of enquiries follow demonstrating that the UK is still a world leader in whitewashes. Sir Paul Nurse appears on the Beeb to be completely taken in by the ‘hide the decline’ trick pulled by Phil Jones. The IPCC is shown to be somewhat prone to alarmist errors and the home of ‘voodoo science’. Meanwhile global surface temperatures (something that has a close to zero scientific meaning) refuse to play ball, the UK has a series of harsh winters despite predictions that snow was a thing of the past and scepticism is at an all time high.

    As Government Chief Scientific Adviser I would expect that you might be concerned to re-establish the position of science rather than pursuing a political agenda.

    It is entirely possible that CO2 is the climate thermostat that you would have us believe (although in my view extremely unlikely) BUT you will never persuade people to accept the draconian measures you advocate whilst the ‘science’ supporting your claims is so shambolic. I would suggest that your duty is to require a full public enquiry into the practice of ‘climate science’ in the UK over the last 30 years. The public has a right to know how our money has been spent. Science in the UK has to be re-instated.

  36. Matthew Pearce says:

    Sir John

    In attempting to examine the risks to the UK posed by climate change over the next thirty years your report relies heavily on the belief that natural factors alone cannot account for a majority of the observed warming over the latter half of the last century, that only the ‘enhanced’ greenhouse hypothesis is able to explain the pattern of warming, and that rising carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is so dominant a factor that relatively simple climate models (that fail to take into account many other natural factors) are able to predict what is going to happen to global temperatures over the next hundred years.

    You are obviously aware that IPCC (2007) totally discounted any possibility that the sun’s magnetic activity could have an impact on climate. This despite Henrik Svensmark and Eigil Friis-Christensen having suggested as early as 1997 that the sun might be having an indirect effect on cloud formation and thus average temperatures.

    In 2008, Terry Sloan from Lancaster University even said “If [ Svensmark ] is right, then we are going down the wrong path of taking all these expensive measures to cut carbon emissions; if he is right, we could carry on with carbon emissions as normal.”

    [ Svensmark was unimpressed by Terry Sloan’s remark as he told BBC News "Terry Sloan has simply failed to understand how cosmic rays work on clouds ... he says our story is wrong, when in fact we have plenty of evidence to support it." ]

    I hope you are also aware that earlier this year there was a major new development when scientists at Aarhus University for the first time substantiated the connection between the sun’s magnetic activity and the Earth’s climate.

    [ Note that the 'enhanced' greenhouse effect has never been substantiated by firm scientific evidence in quite the same way. ]

    Now if (as expected) the Aarhus results are supported by those coming out of the CERN CLOUD experiment later this summer, then they will be impossible to ignore. We may all need to re-examine the rectitude of Terry Sloan’s statement.

    Naturally, I searched your report to find any mention of the results coming out of Aarhus: they are not mentioned. I searched for any mention of the CERN CLOUD experiment: there was none.

    So is the report being entirely candid when it includes not a single mention of the results already published by Aarhus University earlier this year or the possibility that much more comprehensive results could be published by the CERN CLOUD experiment before the end of the summer?

    Perhaps rather than focusing so one-sidedly on the risks posed by global warming over the next thirty years more attention should be devoted to the very moe imminent risks posed by global cooling or even global joblessness.

    Thank you.

  37. Alistair McDhui says:

    ‘Climate science’ has since 2004 probably been fraudulent. That was when NASA forced physicist Ferenc Miskolczi to leave. He had discovered that ‘back radiation’, supposed to justify the high feedback CO2-AGW hypothesis, is a mistake by English astronomer Sir Arthur Milne when in 1922 he used the wrong boundary condition to solve the partial differential equation for the absorption of IR energy in the atmosphere.

    In his 2007 paper, Miskolczi shows that when you correct the mathematics and solve for equilibrium, the atmosphere of a water planet self controls about a fixed greenhouse heating independently of composition of the minor greenhouse gases like CO2.:there can be no extra greenhouse warming as [CO2] increases.

    Also in 2004, NASA learnt that the cloud part of ‘global dimming’ by aerosols, supposed to hide nearly half present ‘net median AGW’, could not be proved experimentally and physicists also observed a second optical process. NASA commissioned research which claimed polluted clouds had 30% less water, but the physics was fine, then it claimed new physics, extra ‘surface reflection’ in polluted clouds.

    The optical physics in the models, originally from Carl Sagan assumes just one process. When compared to cloud data, the monotonic ‘albedo-optical depth’ curve apparently fits real data. However, because it fails to incorporate the second optical process, newly identified as direct backscattering at cloud tops, turned off by pollution, its prediction of cooling when you pollute thicker clouds goes the wrong way.

    Climate science swallowed the ‘surface reflection’ idea despite it being bogus as any professional physicist will confirm. AR4 was published with this imaginary cooling. Take it away and there’s no proof of high feedback.

    The reason why so much effort has been expended to try to prove the high feedback CO2-AGW hypothesis is that palaeo-climate data show considerable amplification as the Milankovitch cycle increases total solar irradiance and there was no other candidate than CO2-GW so long as you forgot that [CO2] rises 800 years after temperature.

    But it all changed: in 2007. New palaeo work showed that at the end of the last ice age, the ocean near the Antarctic ice shelf heated 1300 years before any air temperature rise. The most likely explanation, observed in the present day Arctic and Antarctic, is the release of dimethyl sulphide, a product of dead phytoplankton, from melting ice.

    This hydrolyses to sulphuric acid aerosols which reduce cloud droplet size thereby significantly decreasing cloud albedo especially in the short wavelengths needed to heat the sea. This accelerates ice melting and phytoplankton growth and, because of the density inversion of water below 4°C, kick starts the deep ocean currents.

    So, for 30+ years, climate science guessed wrongly and when in 2004, the wheels had come off the CAGW wagon, someone or group tried to bluff. That bluff has been called. There is no high feedback CO2-AGW. Much recent AGW has probably been from clouds polluted by Asian industrialization. Palaeo-climate is mostly explained by clouds interacting with phytoplankton. There may be some CO2-GW, but much lower than claimed.

  38. Bob says:

    Sir John needs to be a scientist instead of an activist.

  39. Venter says:

    If this is the kind of report on which policy decisions are to be made, I shudder to think about the quality of such decisions. This is a poor report, verbose, not based on facts or science and to put it bluntly, is a shameless piece of poorly written propaganda masquerading as science.

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  41. Richard North says:

    This report is another depressing example of the Global Warming Alarmism syndrome which infects the U.K. establishment.
    It continues a trend (most notoriouly established in the IPCC reports) of producing results to fit a predetermined message. These include cherry-picking of data, misuse of statistical techniques, misleading representation of results and emphasis of downsides from a warming trend rather than advantages. Witness e.g. the graph at page 27 which sees a rising temperature trend (and how come it DOES rise from 1998 to approx. 2007?) meet a discontinuity which is then extrapolated as a Hockey Stick starting approx. 2009 (but with no match in the real life temperature record for 2009-11).
    I am unsure why the Government Office for Science has taken it as its brief to move on from its science base to anticipate social, economic and political consequences worldwide and hence on to domestic policy recommendations. But some of these policy recommendations anticipate a scary future where the eco-fascists take over and use natural disasters as “policy windows” to implement their costly solutions to the imagined Climate Change problem (p.114).
    One point of prescience in the report is the statement that “should governments pursue these costly (environmental) policies in a future where the public are not convinced they are necessary or justified, the electorate will become increasingly distant from their elected representatives” (p. 113). There is indeed a real risk – unexplored in this report – that electorates will get tired of being asked to believe the unbelievable by their supposed betters, and move to the political extremes in an attempt to get rid of them. The Global Warming bleating is simply counter-intuitive for the British public, whatever the so-called (shaky, and even shady) scienctific basis, It provides a further reason (in addition to e.g. MP’s expenses, lack of EU Referendum) for distrusting their elected and publicly appointed leaders.
    Sir John, you have provided a shining and shameful example of the moral bankruptcy of the scientific establishment by obviously preferring soundbites to sound science.

  42. Epigenes says:

    Dear Sir John,

    I suspect that a person as intelligent and knowledgable as you can not possibly believe in (C)AGW.

    In your own field of research computer models are used to predict future population densities and likely outcomes of adverse/favourable changes to an environment. However, the number of variables is well known and there are experiments and precepts that help with accuracy of prediction.

    Look at the attempts of the climate change modelers by comparison. They are trying to model chaotic, non – linear systems. They do not even know if some forcings are positive or negative. Some models predict two Inter Tropical Convergence Zones which is impossible (although it could explain your allusion to ‘increased monsoons’). This is egregious abuse of science.

    Do you not feel that you should exercise your independence from government and express the doubt that manifestly exists regarding it? Your report has failed to do this with sufficient emphasis.

    The ordinary folk paying increased power bills to subsidise useless windmills deserve no less.

  43. lapogus says:

    Dear Sir John,

    As you are the UK government’s chief scientific advisor I suggest that you advise the Ministers of the latest paper (based on empirical satellite data) by Dr Roy Spencer which blows rather a big whole in the CO2 thesis and the IPCC’s models: http://blogs.forbes.com/jamestaylor/2011/07/27/new-nasa-data-blow-gaping-hold-in-global-warming-alarmism/

    I suggest you also familiarise yourself with the latest work (2011) by Lindzen and Choi, (updating their previous paper in 2009) on feedback factors. They too note results confirming that the IPCC models are over stating warming.

    I trust that you will now be advising ministers that the UN IPCC’s models and science are evidently extremely suspect and that it would be a complete folly for the UK to continue down the avenue of de-carbonisation (and thereby de-industrialisation).

  44. Lord Beaverbrook says:

    Sir John,

    I will leave the scientific debate to those with the appropriate background knowledge some of whom are listed above.

    My only question at this point is why, in times of austerity are my tax pounds being wasted on a political statement that is so obviously behind the scientific curve that it should fail to account for the possibility of a quiet solar period induced cooling event and not attach any risk to this?
    In fact a search of the word ‘cooling’ within your report presents nine results, eight of which refer to the constraints of cooling of power plants in a warming world.

    With all due respect I do hope that you and the rest of the Chief Scientific Advisers, that are to be appointed, become accustomed to modern technology, such as the internet, and try better to keep ahead of the curve in future. Even as a non scientist I could quite readily direct you to numerous peer reviewed papers that contradict the claims that you pertain to, and make a mockery of the Climate Change Act 2008.

    My sole interest in this matter is to provide a better return for my ever increasing contribution to this nation state paid hopefully to enhance the lives of my children and grandchildren, without sending them back into the dark ages.

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  46. BIS Admin says:

    Sir John Beddington has posted a second post on the report and responding to comments – view it at http://blogs.bis.gov.uk/blog/2011/07/28/responding-to-comments-from-preparing-for-the-future/

  47. Dr Angela Montford says:

    SirJohn
    Thank you for taking the time to reply, but I am afraid I find your arguments no more convincing than many others that I have read.. Your contradictory statement in the last paragraph, “These reviews highlighted the uncertainty surrounding some individual factors, including the magnitude of future warming and its precise impacts. However, in doing so, they confirmed again that there is a robust body of evidence consistently showing that climate change poses real risks for the UK and the world.” gives absolutely no evidence as to why uncertainty can so easily be viewed by you as confirmation of an impending catastrophe.

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