An extremely serious situation has developed. This is a brief background.
It started with a genuine concern by senior scientists in Europe and the USA that if uncontrolled, increasing emissions of carbon dioxide and other gases into the atmosphere from burning fossil fuels, mainly coal, could have serious consequences. These were principally increases in global temperatures with consequent adverse changes in rainfall and river flow regimes. The tertiary effect would be undesirable changes in the natural environment and all life and activities that depend on it.
Studies began in earnest with the establishment of the IPCC in 1988 – twenty years ago. There has been a tremendous amount of research since then. The scientific disciplines involved were climatology and the environmental sciences. The principal analytical method was the application of process theory. Predictions of the consequences were carried out using computer-based global climate models.
It is very important to note that there is an alternative scientific route that could be followed to achieve the same objective of identifying the consequences of the increasing emissions. The postulated adverse consequences are all within the realm of the engineering and other applied sciences. Change detection and quantification has always been a prime objective in these disciplines. The alternative route therefore involves the engineering and applied sciences. The principal analytical method is observation theory. Predictions of the future conditions can be achieved by time series analysis computer models.