The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) have said that they “are at least 90% certain that humans are contributing to climate change“. They also increased the estimate of how bad the physical effects of global warming are going to be in the future.
This is bad news for oil companies, as the drive to look at alternative fuels gets a boost. So the American Enterprise Institute decided to do something about it. They offered $10,000 to any scientists who would “emphasise the shortcomings” of the report.
You may have heard of these guys - they’re a “right-wing think-tank” whose members happen to include the ex-CEO of Exxon-Mobil, people with close ties to the Bush administration, and Dick Cheney’s wife. So they could be pro-Oil, but surely they have a scientific duty to make sure the report is solid anyway? Let’s look at both sides:
Lord Rees is the president of the Royal Society (the UK’s ”most prestigious scientific institute”). He says “The IPCC is the world’s leading authority on climate change.”
Are they all tree-huggers? No, Bush has his own people in there (and has been desperately trying to get one of them into the top position). The group has been criticised in the past for being too conservative with its findings.
Just about the only people still arguing that global warming isn’t happening are those paid directly by oil corporations. David Attenborough said: “The coincidence of the curves made it perfectly clear we have left the period of natural climatic oscillation behind and have begun on a steep curve, in terms of temperature rise, beyond anything in terms of increases that we have seen over many thousands of years.” The argument now is over whether humans are contributing to it, which is what the IPCC says they’re only “at least 90% certain” of.
On the other hand, you have the AEI, founded and staffed by Oil companies. They’re not asking for another look at the evidence, or to check the facts, they’re offering cash to “emphasise the shortcomings” of the report, not the data.
Now some people may say there’s a conflict of interest there, but it’s just a think-tank, right? It’s not like it’s a group of Conservative non-scientists and non-military who regularly influence Government policy or anything. …Oh, wait.
The AEI were just about the only ones suggesting the recent “Surge” strategy for Iraq, when the public and military wanted a different direction. Bush went with the AEI’s plan instead. (Actually, he didn’t - they said they thought it would take “at least 30,000″ troops to retake just Baghdad, and he asked for 21,500. It’s okay though, he’s asked for more now… but said it’ll cost triple what he originally thought.)
I wouldn’t want to appear biased, so I should point out that the AEI aren’t the only ones out there still trying to deny climate change. Another group is meeting in Canada to try and dispute the IPCC report (and guests include David Bellamy, who famously said he doesn’t think there’s any link between fossil fuels and global warming). This group… was also founded by Exxon-Mobil.
I don’t know what the fuss is about anyway, the IPCC report doesn’t sound that bad. The temperature will rise 4 degrees… that’s not so much. Sea levels rise by up to 59cm? What, a whole half a metre? Why all this hysteria?
Oh… That 59cm will leave large parts of London (and New York) underwater.