The Revenge of Gaia – BBC Expert climate panel drop ball

This is an old story from July 2006, but I’ve only just found it and it makes fascnating reading.

The BBC story is one of their classic “do as we say” pieces but I couldn’t help but notice how the “expert panel” drop a clanger right in the middle of their answers.

The panel is made up of;

  • Brian Hoskins (Royal Society Research Professor, Reading University) and  the man behind the UK must drop carbon dioxide emissions by 60% by 2050. His work is funded entirely by the UN.
  • Susan Owens (Professor of Environment and Policy, Cambridge University) – Gained her degree an PhD under the stewardship of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia.
  • Ron Oxburgh (University scientist; former chairman of Shell) – Shell… which of course funded the Climate Research Unit at it’s inception and this year posted a net profit of £11.5 billion as a result of rising oil prices.
  • Vicky Pope (Head, Climate Prediction Programme, Hadley Centre) – The Hadley Centre being a centre for ridicule over the last three years for incorrectly predicting two “BBQ summers” that never happened and three “mild winters” that turned out to be more like Siberia.
  • Chris Rapley (Director, British Antarctic Survey) – Oddly Rapley has a “BA” in Physics and helped Al Gore with the “Live Earth” concert. Need I say more 🙂
  • Hans von Storch (Director, Institute for Coastal Research, Geesthacht, Germany) I suggest you read his Wikipedia post here.
  • Andrew Watson (Professor of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia) – Yeah….

Anyway, here are the odd questions the stuck out for me.

4) A temperature rise of 3C to 5C would probably bring catastrophic changes for humans.

VERDICT: YES 0, NO 3, ABSTAIN 4

So nobody agreed it was bad, three said it would not be and 4 decided not to answer.

6. Continuing to increase CO2 will have a major effect on oceans through temperature stratification and acidification.

VERDICT: YES 1, NO 0, ABSTAIN 6

So only one person thinks this. But why are six abstaining to comment?

9. The climate system is so complex that individual climate experts struggle to see the whole picture.

VERDICT: YES 7, NO 0

At least we have a truly honest answer here.

12. Population growth is a major issue.

VERDICT: YES 7, NO 0

I included this for those you think this is more about population control and politics than science. Because……

20. Climate change is real, dangerous and significant in our own lifetimes.

VERDICT: YES 7, NO 0

So despite not knowing the whole picture, not believing that 3-5c increase will affect humans and not believing that the seas will be affected; they still all vote Yes that climate change is real, dangerous and significant in our own lifetimes.

How can this be possible if the answers to the previous questions are true and honest?

So when I say I believe that climate science is more a matter of religion and politics; I do have evidence to back it up. In all other scientific opinion, if all the previous cases where true, the last answer should be majoritively No.

Like to know what you think about it.

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