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noggin

Politics And AGW/GW

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There seems to be some bias in the reporting, with the people who agree with AGW being labelled "alarmists" and the scientific consensus view being labelled "typical alarmist stuff". If that's alarmism then what does the tabloids' exaggerations of the Met Office's statements about 2080s summers and 40C constitute?

I cannot jump to conclusions re. the "they didn't answer the questions directly" but then again it wouldn't surprise me as there does tend to be a certain defensiveness of the mainstream view among many of those who preach it.

To say that "models are not evidence" strikes me as being wide of the mark- even though the link's points about models being limited by human knowledge input are good ones. The models are based on current understanding of the atmospheric processes and used to make projections. They are evidence, the question should rather hinge on whether or not they are good evidence. To take an extreme analogy, if I said it would be high pressure at T+384 because one run of the GFS said so, it would be very poor evidence... but it would still be evidence.

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There seems to be some bias in the reporting, with the people who agree with AGW being labelled "alarmists" and the scientific consensus view being labelled "typical alarmist stuff". If that's alarmism then what does the tabloids' exaggerations of the Met Office's statements about 2080s summers and 40C constitute?

I cannot jump to conclusions re. the "they didn't answer the questions directly" but then again it wouldn't surprise me as there does tend to be a certain defensiveness of the mainstream view among many of those who preach it.

To say that "models are not evidence" strikes me as being wide of the mark- even though the link's points about models being limited by human knowledge input are good ones. The models are based on current understanding of the atmospheric processes and used to make projections. They are evidence, the question should rather hinge on whether or not they are good evidence. To take an extreme analogy, if I said it would be high pressure at T+384 because one run of the GFS said so, it would be very poor evidence... but it would still be evidence.

The models are purely theoretical. How can you say that is evidence when it has not happened.

So glad you are not a lawyer.

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Please pass the sick bag. maybe it should be given to schools to explain the meaning of political bias.

"Senator Fielding stuck to his guns and asked reasonable questions throughout. He wanted his questions answered, and politely persisted. I guess he is used to the pressure and political games. Clearly a very competent and determined person."

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Please pass the sick bag. maybe it should be given to schools to explain the meaning of political bias.

"Senator Fielding stuck to his guns and asked reasonable questions throughout. He wanted his questions answered, and politely persisted. I guess he is used to the pressure and political games. Clearly a very competent and determined person."

Political bias is everywhere, though, isn't it? The whole GW/AGW/Global Warming/Climate Change debate is sodden with the stuff. It'll never go away (political bias) and, IMVHO, there will never be a rational debate on the matter, for as long as it is there. Add in a potentially whopping great helping of egg on the faces of one side or the other (or maybe even both!) and it sometimes seems like a waste of time, going round and round in circles, same old same old, yawn yawn. :D

Sometimes I think "why don't we just put our efforts into cleaning up our collective act and properly respecting Earth's resources?" If it is mankind's dirty doings which cause the temperature fluctuations, then that should solve the issue and if it isn't we've got a cleaner and more sustainable way of life on this old planet of ours, anyway. Either way, it would be a win-win situation.

:(

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Guest North Sea Snow Convection

A very interesting read - thanks tundra.

I think that the report sums up very well the problems with the AGW case. The models cannot be taken as evidence as they purely rely on the data that is fed into them and if that data is selected around a hypothesis then it can hardly be called evidence unless actual reality bears out the predictions that come from those data (model) feeds. Only then they could turn around and say that a definite correlation is evident that supports the hypothesis. The trouble is, as we know for eg with the clouds part of the AGW hypothesis, just as one example, there is considerable doubt as to the actual feedbacks process in reality which are at odds with the expected results of the hypothesis.

I see nothing wrong with the reporting of the intransigence, arrogance and closing down techniques that are purported to have occured in the debate. There are enough reports for sure from many sources that this does happen and if one just dismisses that as sceptic bias being at work then that only actually serves to fuel distrust of the AGW 'agenda' even further.

To turn it around, if a few AGW proponents were at a sceptic convention that was presenting the case for natural causes for climate variation, can one honestly say that the AGW attendants would just sit there entirely complissant with the type of scientific reasoning that would be being put forward on such an occasion? No, of course they wouldn't. The problem is, it is hard enough getting to hear the other side of the debate out in the first place, as this report suggest - the only thing that can work in the favour of sceptics it seems is 'time'. Time for more of the actual feedbacks that are at work in the reality to show that the data being fed into the models is wrongly skewed due to it being based on a flawed hypothesis. And due to the long term nature of climate feedbacks - then it could be a long wait unfortunately.

But, at least in an ideal world, the sooner that the debate becomes more balanced and enough scientists start to speak out what they really think - then it would do the AGW wagon some good to lose a wheel or two to shake some of the said arrogance out of it.

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The problem with that article is that it's hypocritical, it accuses many of the mainstream pro-AGW people of being biased and alarmist but then acts biased and alarmist from an anti-AGW perspective. The consensus about the models backing up AGW and the like is not "alarmist", it might be flawed but it is not alarmism. Alarmism is more like when the tabloids say "the Met Office's worst case scenario for 2080 means average maxima of 40C in London and cars should be banned or we will fry in hell".

The assertions that the models aren't evidence is, I'm afraid, a gross exaggeration of the truth. By that argument if I said I think high pressure will be over us at T+120 but drifting further north, "because the models say so", does that mean that I would have no evidence because it was based on the models?

The models are indeed limited by human understanding and the corresponding data that is fed into them, and that's why I, personally, am sceptical about their reliability. But just because something is open to question, it doesn't mean that it is false. Even if someone bluntly said, "I believe that AGW is true, and my evidence for this is that AGW is true" (such circular reasoning is part of the problem with relying too heavily on computer models- to some extent there's an element of assuming AGW to prove AGW), it would still be an attempt to provide evidence- just a very poor one.

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The models are indeed limited by human understanding and the corresponding data that is fed into them, and that's why I, personally, am sceptical about their reliability. But just because something is open to question, it doesn't mean that it is false. Even if someone bluntly said, "I believe that AGW is true, and my evidence for this is that AGW is true" (such circular reasoning is part of the problem with relying too heavily on computer models- to some extent there's an element of assuming AGW to prove AGW), it would still be an attempt to provide evidence- just a very poor one.

The problem is, of course, politics, and commercialism.

If the models could be demonstrated to be built solely from physical laws then we'd know for sure; but we already know that that's not true.

There are a number of problems associated with mathematical representations of the atmopshere:

(i) It's an intractable problem, it will never be fully solvable. We can prove that that is the case, today.

(ii) Because of (i) assumptions have to be made in reference to solving by heuristics.

(iii) Heuristics are rules of thumb, educated guesses (etc etc)

(iv) The source code is not available so we can't determine the heuristic assumptions.

Therefore, as one of the cornerstones of science is reproducibility - remember the cold fusion fiasco - and, because of the above it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to reproduce the model, I do not think that climate models should be classed as evidence.

However, they can be very helpful, and, as problems occur with them, more understanding is gleaned, and, I hope, reliance on heuristics is reduced. So, over time, they should get better (are they?) and we should be able to 'zero' in on a reasonably good guestimate of the future climate.

I don't think that we're there, yet, though.

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http://www.google.co.uk/search?hl=en&c...on&ct=title

Some definitions for "evidence", in particular note the Wikipedia link on the broadest sense of the definition. I maintain that, at least depending on what one's definition of "evidence" is, it can be argued that climate models are evidence. However, I'm also happy to accept that they aren't reliable evidence- for reasons including what VP states above.

Or, leaving aside the debate over definitions of words- what I'm really getting at is debunking the potential for the assertion that the climate models are useless, as opposed to the use of them to "prove" AGW being flawed.

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-Fielding Meeting On Global WarmingFinally, the question we’ve all wanted to ask of the people in power: Where’s the evidence?

etc etc etc........etc etc et etc

I could, being a 'warmer' post complete articles from Real Climate or Skeptical Science. I'm pretty sure people would protest at such huge posts cluttering up threads when a link would suffice. However, if people don't mind, I might start posting complete RC SS articles - would that be OK????

Btw, this is link for your copy and pasted article. It's from Joanna Novo and the author (David Evans) is her partner.

The problem is, of course, politics, and commercialism.

If the models could be demonstrated to be built solely from physical laws then we'd know for sure; but we already know that that's not true.

There are a number of problems associated with mathematical representations of the atmopshere:

(i) It's an intractable problem, it will never be fully solvable. We can prove that that is the case, today.

(ii) Because of (i) assumptions have to be made in reference to solving by heuristics.

(iii) Heuristics are rules of thumb, educated guesses (etc etc)

(iv) The source code is not available so we can't determine the heuristic assumptions.

Therefore, as one of the cornerstones of science is reproducibility - remember the cold fusion fiasco - and, because of the above it is highly unlikely that anyone would be able to reproduce the model, I do not think that climate models should be classed as evidence.

However, they can be very helpful, and, as problems occur with them, more understanding is gleaned, and, I hope, reliance on heuristics is reduced. So, over time, they should get better (are they?) and we should be able to 'zero' in on a reasonably good guestimate of the future climate.

I don't think that we're there, yet, though.

Interesting post but don't you get into difficulties with using proof here? Lots of things (apart from climate prediction) can't be 'proved' but that doesn't make them invalid, or merely 'helpful' (I can't prove what a dice throw will be, but that doesn't invalidate predictions about dice throws, or indeed predictions about dice throws when the dice are weighted - the question is more 'do we know he weighting?' than a problem with the maths or 'helpfulness'?). Also, if it's not science unless it's reproducible where does that leave any prediction about anything using any method?

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I could, being a 'warmer' post complete articles from Real Climate or Skeptical Science. I'm pretty sure people would protest at such huge posts cluttering up threads when a link would suffice. However, if people don't mind, I might start posting complete RC SS articles - would that be OK????

If that's what it takes to get a message across.. I notice it takes a post from an anti aspect before you started complaining though..

Don't forget to post a link back to the original article :D

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If that's what it takes to get a message across.. I notice it takes a post from an anti aspect before you started complaining though..

Don't forget to post a link back to the original article :)

Based on your agreement :D I would welcome both sides cutting and pasting extracts to support their viewpoints. I think there is a less room for ambiguity if people can actually read on the screen first hand what is being said. There is more chance of getting to the meat of the science rather than getting bogged down in too mnay semantics. Well that is the theory anyway! :D

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In addition to some of the above, it is also important not to confuse evidence (things that can be used to support a conclusion) with proof (things that are undeniably true). Although Devonian comes across a bit strongly, I do think it's important to avoid going down the "it isn't proof, therefore it's useless" line of argument.

I don't get this "models are not evidence" thing- surely any model output that projects into the future gives some kind of evidence, even if it's tosh and consequently very poor evidence? Also, I can't think of a way to extrapolate AGW into the future other than to use models (some modes of natural variability can be forecast in other ways though). To me it's like saying that models are not evidence for what the weather will be like in 5 days' time because it is limited by the human input processes etc, from which one could infer that forecasts based on model analysis are of zero merit, or at most 'helpful'.

Although I think there's much behind many of the accusations levelled at the pro-AGW community within that article I think the writer was at least as guilty of bias and sensationalism from the anti-AGW side.

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Although I think there's much behind many of the accusations levelled at the pro-AGW community within that article I think the writer was at least as guilty of bias and sensationalism from the anti-AGW side.

Fighting fire with fire, perhaps?

Or, if you can't beat 'em, join 'em (purely from a tactical point of view, of course!).

At least there could not then be accusations of such things as adopting the moral high ground! Both "sides" would be playing by the same set of rules.

(Not aimed at you personally BTW TWS, I'm just picking up on what you wrote!) :rofl::rofl:

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If that's what it takes to get a message across.. I notice it takes a post from an anti aspect before you started complaining though..

Not seen one from the 'pro' point tbh - have you? I just thought a link would do.

Don't forget to post a link back to the original article :rofl:

I did?

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Interesting post but don't you get into difficulties with using proof here? Lots of things (apart from climate prediction) can't be 'proved' but that doesn't make them invalid, or merely 'helpful' (I can't prove what a dice throw will be, but that doesn't invalidate predictions about dice throws, or indeed predictions about dice throws when the dice are weighted - the question is more 'do we know he weighting?' than a problem with the maths or 'helpfulness'?). Also, if it's not science unless it's reproducible where does that leave any prediction about anything using any method?

In my opinion, Dev, that is a very confused post. From you. Not from anyone else. Perhaps too much battering from the anti's?

Anyway, back to reality. What do you think science is? There are lots of aspect of science, but the key attribute, not in my opininon, but of universal standing, is that science must remain objective. There is only one way of making it objective, and that is the language of mathematics. Find me a scientist who doesn't talk that language. Really. I don't think one exists.

Therein the language of proof lies in a hierarchy of previously understood proved mathematics. Pyhthagoras started it off, and most science follows it's roots from that. Indeed your reference to probability - one of the most poorly understoond (and for good reason, too!) branch of mathematics - is indicative of, perhaps, a lack of understanding exactly what science is. We live at the pinnacle of all scientific understanding, today. No one else in history has as much to grasp as we do - right now.

Forget AGW - where do you think the scientific laws came from? How do you think they are expressed? I'll give you a clue, it ain't on no forum like this one. How did you think calculus was universally accepted - in case you don't know, that is the basis for modelling the world, right now. It is the basis for scientific understanding.

Science relies on proof, mathematics relies on proof; what other objective reality would you have?

If you don't accept that objectivity, then you begin to accept conspiracy; but that is a matter for you, and no-one else.

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In my opinion, Dev, that is a very confused post. From you. Not from anyone else. Perhaps too much battering from the anti's?

Please explain why? It was a sincere post btw - not one I expect to be called confused for....

Anyway, back to reality. What do you think science is? There are lots of aspect of science, but the key attribute, not in my opininon, but of universal standing, is that science must remain objective. There is only one way of making it objective, and that is the language of mathematics. Find me a scientist who doesn't talk that language. Really. I don't think one exists.

Geologists, Biologists? Neither of the most recent theories ( I don't think I need name them) of those sciences can be proven - surely?

Therein the language of proof lies in a hierarchy of previously understood proved mathematics. Pyhthagoras started it off, and most science follows it's roots from that. Indeed your reference to probability - one of the most poorly understoond (and for good reason, too!) branch of mathematics - is indicative of, perhaps, a lack of understanding exactly what science is. We live at the pinnacle of all scientific understanding, today. No one else in history has as much to grasp as we do - right now.

Ah, so I'm lacking in understanding as well as confused and not in reality? I know this is your posting style sometimes but do give the patronising tone a rest, that's three times now and I do actually have some respect for you ...

Forget AGW - where do you think the scientific laws came from? How do you think they are expressed? I'll give you a clue, it ain't on no forum like this one. How did you think calculus was universally accepted - in case you don't know, that is the basis for modelling the world, right now. It is the basis for scientific understanding.

Science relies on proof, mathematics relies on proof; what other objective reality would you have?

If you don't accept that objectivity, then you begin to accept conspiracy; but that is a matter for you, and no-one else.

Oh heck - so I'm not objective either :80:

Look, please (using maths) prove evolution.

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There are branches of maths that only have theoretical proof as well i.e layer built upon layer built upon layer.

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In my opinion, Dev, that is a very confused post. From you. Not from anyone else. Perhaps too much battering from the anti's?

Anyway, back to reality. What do you think science is? There are lots of aspect of science, but the key attribute, not in my opininon, but of universal standing, is that science must remain objective. There is only one way of making it objective, and that is the language of mathematics. Find me a scientist who doesn't talk that language. Really. I don't think one exists.

Therein the language of proof lies in a hierarchy of previously understood proved mathematics. Pyhthagoras started it off, and most science follows it's roots from that. Indeed your reference to probability - one of the most poorly understoond (and for good reason, too!) branch of mathematics - is indicative of, perhaps, a lack of understanding exactly what science is. We live at the pinnacle of all scientific understanding, today. No one else in history has as much to grasp as we do - right now.

Forget AGW - where do you think the scientific laws came from? How do you think they are expressed? I'll give you a clue, it ain't on no forum like this one. How did you think calculus was universally accepted - in case you don't know, that is the basis for modelling the world, right now. It is the basis for scientific understanding.

Science relies on proof, mathematics relies on proof; what other objective reality would you have?

If you don't accept that objectivity, then you begin to accept conspiracy; but that is a matter for you, and no-one else.

Good post, but don't waste your time...brick wall springs to mind.

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Science relies on proof, mathematics relies on proof; what other objective reality would you have?

If you don't accept that objectivity, then you begin to accept conspiracy; but that is a matter for you, and no-one else.

If I dont accept the objectivity then it must imply a conspiracy :good:

Anyway no one can prove the 'big bang' created the universe its just a popular theory

Im afraid when it comes to the 'big stuff' its just popular theory there is very little 'proof'

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Ok - I accept that my post was a bit harsh.

I should read it more carefully before I post; if we were all sitting in a pub over a pint of ale, then I'm sure the tone would not have quite come across in that way- rather more an interesting aside. So sorry for that guys,

Right, selectively answering, then ...

Dev: Evolution is based on mathematical and physical laws. However, asking someone to prove it is rather like asking for someone to prove the process of making a cup of tea; evolution is a process, and not a law (I am, conveniently, and for brevity, ignoring the normal prefix of 'theory' of evolution) If you search the web you'll find countless articles showing just how to disprove the process of evolution (or make it very unlikely) which, in my opinion, is a waste of time; you might as well concentrate on the process of making a cup of tea. Put tea-bag in cup, get milk out of fridge ....

Ice: Yes, but that's how science is built up, too. People discover things, publish them, then people, much later, discover more things, and reference the earlier things. That's science, and mathematics is done in the same way. Even the most complex proofs, that would take a lifetime to understand properly, have their roots in Pythagoras - the first known attempt at objective proof where objective means that it is based on postulates, and axioms that are the same today as they were 2500 years ago.

Stewfox: you can prove something without having to observe it. You can prove something by induction. Clearly, observation is a real helping hand, but given Einsteins relativity (I must note that objections to relativity are coming to hand more frequently these days, and some of those have a point) and it's and an observation from a prediction made from a theory, it does become pretty much ingrained - and once it's ingrained people tend to take what the theory suggests to the limit, and such a theory suggests (along with various other pieces of jigsaw from Hubble et al) that spacetime (not the universe) started from a whopping great big bang.

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Ok - I accept that my post was a bit harsh.

I should read it more carefully before I post; if we were all sitting in a pub over a pint of ale, then I'm sure the tone would not have quite come across in that way- rather more an interesting aside. So sorry for that guys,

Right, selectively answering, then ...

Dev: Evolution is based on mathematical and physical laws. However, asking someone to prove it is rather like asking for someone to prove the process of making a cup of tea; evolution is a process, and not a law (I am, conveniently, and for brevity, ignoring the normal prefix of 'theory' of evolution) If you search the web you'll find countless articles showing just how to disprove the process of evolution (or make it very unlikely) which, in my opinion, is a waste of time; you might as well concentrate on the process of making a cup of tea. Put tea-bag in cup, get milk out of fridge ....

Ice: Yes, but that's how science is built up, too. People discover things, publish them, then people, much later, discover more things, and reference the earlier things. That's science, and mathematics is done in the same way. Even the most complex proofs, that would take a lifetime to understand properly, have their roots in Pythagoras - the first known attempt at objective proof where objective means that it is based on postulates, and axioms that are the same today as they were 2500 years ago.

Stewfox: you can prove something without having to observe it. You can prove something by induction. Clearly, observation is a real helping hand, but given Einsteins relativity (I must note that objections to relativity are coming to hand more frequently these days, and some of those have a point) and it's and an observation from a prediction made from a theory, it does become pretty much ingrained - and once it's ingrained people tend to take what the theory suggests to the limit, and such a theory suggests (along with various other pieces of jigsaw from Hubble et al) that spacetime (not the universe) started from a whopping great big bang.

Ahh, I see, you're NOT saying everything that is provable must be so proved using maths alone? I agree, if I misunderstood that my bad.

I wonder if we actually both agree on what is 'proven' - in the broader 'build up of evidence, shown', meaning of the word. I think plate tectonics and evolution are proven in the broader sense of the word. I also think that the greenhouse effect is a shown (proven indeed) effect and that doubling CO2 is shown (proven) to cause about 1C warming. What's not proven is feedbacks - that's where any debate is. Agreed?

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Ahh, I see, you're NOT saying everything that is provable must be so proved using maths alone? I agree, if I misunderstood that my bad.

I wonder if we actually both agree on what is 'proven' - in the broader 'build up of evidence, shown', meaning of the word. I think plate tectonics and evolution are proven in the broader sense of the word. I also think that the greenhouse effect is a shown (proven indeed) effect and that doubling CO2 is shown (proven) to cause about 1C warming. What's not proven is feedbacks - that's where any debate is. Agreed?

Pretty much, so, I reckon.

I have to be honest that I am not sure about double 2xCO2=1C warming; that seems far too straightforward, and, if it is the case, then I presume it's recreatable in a lab in some test tube somewhere rather than an atmospheric model? ie Has an experiment been done where CO2, in it's relative quantities in the atmosphere, has been doubled and the results are that it has such a big effect?

Certainly very much agreed that the understanding, particularly in relation to feebacks, of the complexity of the atmopshere is pretty much in it's infancy

:rofl:

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An interesting article has come up in the Weather journal about climate change mitigation. Unfortunately the article is not freely available to those outside of universities, the Met Office, and subscribers & members of the Royal Meteorological Society. Still, it's worth focusing on some key points that it makes. The author is Dr Simon Buckle, which illustrates that sometimes science and politics can mix in a reasonable manner.

"Globally, GHG emissions need to peak soon and fall rapidly (say 3-4% per annum) if we are to avoid significant risk of global temperatures increasing by 3 or 4C by 2100."

I think that point is very well expressed. While I think the uncertainties are much larger than most scientists make out, there is nonetheless a significant risk that they might be right, and to continue as we are now, in the face of such risk, is a pretty risky approach.

The article also points out that, if we are to achieve significant reductions in GHG emissions without forcing major draconian cuts to everyday life and economies across the world, we may need some radical reforms in the way we approach energy generation, with a lot more research into alternative sources of energy. Solar energy, photovoltaics and carbon capture technologies are cited as being very promising but under-developed. Also, development of the necessary skills for employment in the alternative energy industries.

The author also makes a couple of key points similar to those that I have repeatedly made in the recent past:

"It is helpful to be able to communicate solutions at the same time as explaining the problems"

"The reluctance of climate scientists to expose disagreements or uncertainty in public as a response to climate sceptics itself poses a problem for communicating the issues effectively ... if mainstream climate scientists refrain from public debate, this leaves the field less open to well-informed views. The net result is more uncertainty and confusion in public opinion."

In addition, although the article focuses on GHG emissions measures such as these may also be necessary if we are to move towards a more sustainable economy without having a sudden, painful transition forced upon us with the free markets suddenly finding in 20-50 years' time that resources are running too scarce to bring them maximum profits. I don't advocate doing away with free market capitalism as some campaigners wish, but I do think this is one area where the government needs to "interfere" with carrot and stick based measures, for when left to their own devices the markets just do whatever it takes to maximise profits in the short term. The article doesn't explore the barriers that this area of politics can generate, but I think it provides a very good start, and it would be good if the "mainstream" climate science community could take note.

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