Sir, The letter from Martin Rees and Ralph J. Cicerone
(April 9) contains one reason for serious scepticism about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change predictions of future climate changes.
Prof Rees and Dr Cicerone write that “straightforward physics tells us that this rise [in CO 2 concentrations] is warming the planet. Calculations demonstrate that this effect is very likely responsible for the gradual warming observed over the past 30 years and that global temperatures will continue to rise – superimposing a warming on all the other effects that make climate fluctuate. Uncertainties in the future rate of this rise, stemming largely from the ‘feedback’ effects on water vapour and clouds, are topics of current research”.
The basic physics is correct, but the uncertainties referred to are largely unreported in newspapers. Using the same physics the 19 major climate models produce very different answers, the more extreme of which are usually used to drive the climate debate.
Updated below with comments by Alan Siddons
There are problems with the reporting of illegitimate scepticism that varies from incredulity that small changes in the concentration of CO 2 could possibly alter the global climate to the misunderstanding of the physics and, even worse, the Machiavellian attempts to deliberately undermine the science. Ignorance abounds and some of it is reported due to misunderstandings by reporters and in the cause of balance. There is criticism of the “consensus” within the IPCC, but there is no sign of any consensus among the sceptics.
Bedburn, Co Durham, UK
Poling, W Sussex, UK