OPINION: Fundamental problem in climate change letters


DEAR News of the Area,

W DUESBURY’S letters regarding climate change (28/5/21 and 11/6/21) have a fundamental problem in that the temperature data has not been accurately represented in these letters.

It is claimed that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) previously failed to adequately model temperatures that were consistent with what we have observed over the last few decades.

However, recent temperature data from NASA does actually track well with previous models.

One of the difficulties with any kind of predictions and models regarding climate is that they can be affected by policies designed to mitigate the problem in question.

For this reason, the IPCC has always produced at least three scenarios: a high prediction that assumes no action to reduce CO2 emissions, an intermediate prediction that assumes moderate action and a low prediction that assumes significant reductions in human-caused CO2 emissions.

Given that most governments have been only moderately successful in trying to reduce carbon emissions – or at least try to reduce the rate of growth – the most useful scenario is to look at the intermediate predictions.

When looking at the IPCC’s intermediate temperature predictions from its first five reports, this is what they predicted regarding 2020: IPCC report 1 (1990) +0.92ºC rise compared to the 1970-1990 average, report 2 (1995) +0.59ºC rise, report 3 (2001) +0.69ºC rise, report 4 (2007) +0.83ºC rise, report 5 (2013) +0.85ºC rise.

NASA’s observed temperature records for 2020 came out at +0.89ºC, meaning that the predictions were remarkably close to being accurate, although if we want to be pedantic, four of the IPCC reports actually gave underestimations of what was observed.

So much for the so-called alarmism!

There is little purpose in trying to determine climate policy if we cannot get these basic scientific facts correct.

The world is continuing to warm beyond all natural expectations and the sooner we take this issue seriously the better.


Boambee East.

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