Zara’s Space on the Web – Musings

April 12, 2009

General confusion over an article from TheRegister

Update: Turns out? This wasn’t even a report, and the only climate scientist involved in the discussion believes that anthropogenic climate change is happening. What a waste of time.

Well, since “Japan’s boffins: Global warming isn’t man-made”was published on TheRegister a while back, I have been meaning to read it and adjust my view of climate change around it.

Since it is now Easter vacation and I have no religious leanings (hence I have a lot of time on my hands) and I have just started this blog, I thought it might be a good idea to read and then critique the article.

Unfortunately, although I was looking forward to something that would seriously challenge my view on anthropogenic climate change, the article only proved to confuse me slightly between the misleading title and leading paragraph and the actual contents of the paper that had been translated.

The article states that:

Three of the five researchers disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases.

Well, er, from my reading of the paper that is given in the article, they actually don’t.

About the closest they get is the following:

“[The IPCC’s] conclusion that from now on atmospheric temperatures are likely to show a continuous, monotonic increase, should be perceived as an unprovable hypothesis,” [Kanya Kusano] writes.

…”We should be cautious, IPCC’s theory that atmospheric temperature has risen since 2000 in correspondence with CO2 is nothing but a hypothesis.” [-Shunichi Akasofu]

These two quotes come from the end of the summary page, and the article then launches into “Key passages translated”.

Within the second page of the article, I find the following confusing line:

…since 2001, [increases in global temperature has] halted. Despite this, CO2 emissions are still increasing.

I find this confusing because I have seen other information that states that:

“Every year since and including 2001 has made it into the top ten warmest years [on record].” – The Times Online, December 13, 2007, citing a study from the Met Office and the University of East Anglia

I’m sure none of these scientists are deliberately lying or bending the truth, but it would be nice to know why these two claims seem to be the complete opposites?

Page three and four talk about the construction of climate models, and the inherent uncertainty that is built into using models, due to imperfect knowledge. To which I have to say “well, duh?”

Anyway, “Japan’s Boffins” (I should have known better than to expect much when faced with this title) conclude that “Anthropogenic” (here this is used as a classy word for “human-caused”) “global warming theory [is] still hypothetical”.

Which I totally get and I totally agree with (Hey, the theory of evolution is still hypothetical). I mean, I don’t think anyone is claiming that they know for sure that climate change is happening due to human intervention, and yes, we should be careful about claiming things for truths that are only theories.

I think these guys were just saying “Hey, everybody, slow down. We should really re-examine the evidence here before we rush off headlong down a possibly unecessary path”, which is cool. What they are not saying, however, is that they don’t believe in anthropogenic climate change. No, that would be Andrew Orlowski putting words into their mouth. Oh, and interestingly enough, we’re also not provided with the discussions by the other two researchers who didn’t “disagree with the UN’s IPCC view that recent warming is primarily the consequence of man-made industrial emissions of greenhouse gases”. Apparently, they didn’t make it into “key passages”. This was, by and large, a terrible, biased piece of reporting that misrepresented the very paper it was reporting on. Shame on you, Orlowski!

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