Apologies to those who would like me to answer questions online. However, the priority today has been to ensure that as many institutions as possible are aware of these results. Therefore, I have been spending the day emailing the notice to the following:
- All major UK papers
- All MSPs
- The Scottish Ministers
- The Office of the Scottish Chief Scientist
- The UK prime minister
- UK Minister of Environment and Energy
- The Royal Society (of London)
- I am currently about 2/3 of the way through individually emailing all MPs
- Every single address I have for anyone in the BBC
A copy of the questions
Professional Background & Attitude to Climate
This survey is being undertaken by the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum to understand more about those engaged in the climate debate.
The majority of questions are optional. Those which are not are marked with an asterisk. However please complete as many as you are able.
The survey should take about 10 minutes. If you get part way through and cannot complete it, you should be able to return to finish it.
If you have comments or wish to report problems please let us know by filling in the box at the end of the survey.
The survey is anonymous and all responses will be treated in confidence.
There are 27 questions in this survey
The Scottish Climate & Energy Forum has been conducting a survey on the background and attitudes of participants to online climate discussions. The survey had a massive response which will take time and resource to process. However initial analysis already shows that the actual views and backgrounds of participants are in sharp contrast with some high-profile statements being made about the participants. Therefore I felt we should make these initial results known as soon as practical to avoid further damage, both to the reputation of those involved in the online debate, as well as those making the unfounded and presumably mistaken accusations of “denial”.
As such, I am releasing the following statement regarding the survey.
A sceptical consensus: the science is right but catastrophic global warming is not going to happen
A recent survey of those participating in on-line forums showed that most of the 5,000 respondents were experienced engineers, scientists and IT professionals most degree qualified and around a third with post graduate qualifications. The survey, carried out by the Scottish Climate and Energy Forum, asked respondents for their views on CO2 and the effect it might have on global temperatures. The results were surprising. 96% of respondents said that atmospheric CO2 levels are increasing with 79% attributing the increase to man-made sources. 81% agreed that global temperatures had increased over the 20th century and 81% also agreed that CO2 is a warming gas. But only 2% believed that increases in CO2 would cause catastrophic global warming.
So what's going on?
Above all, these highly qualified people - experts in their own spheres - look at the published data and trust their own analysis, so their views match the available data. They agree that the climate warmed over the 20th century (this has been measured), that CO2 levels are increasing (this too has been measured) and that CO2 is a warming gas (it helps trap heat in the atmosphere and the effects can be measured). Beyond this, the survey found that 98% of respondents believe that the climate varies naturally and that increasing CO2 levels won't cause catastrophic warming.
Overwhelmingly participants in this large scale survey support the science, however this is not how they have been portrayed in the media and this has led to deep and bitter divides between those who hold different viewpoints. This debate should be based on the evidence and that not only includes the scientific evidence on the climate, but also the evidence of the real participants involved in the debate. Given the huge number of responses and detail of questions a full assessment will take up to one year to complete. This is a huge commitment from an organisation that has no outside funding and is reliant on one full-time volunteer (Mike Haseler). We will therefore be approaching the Scottish and UK government with a view to obtaining funding to complete the analysis.
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Thank you everyone that has so far completed the survey.
For those that haven't done so please visit: http://scef.org.uk/survey/index.php/524582/lang/en
Due to the huge interest, we would like to start processing the results as soon as practical, whilst still allowing others a chance to participate.
Therefore we have decided to start processing the results as of Midnight Monday 27th January.
However, the survey will remain open to further participants until Friday 21st February.
This will allow us to produce an initial report on the survey at or soon after the 21st February followed several months later by a more detailed assessment.
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The Scottish Climate & Energy Forum have been working to produce a survey on the background of participants in the climate debate. Now, after some excellent feedback, the survey is ready. The url is:
Please help us by filling in the survey and passing onto all those who are interested in climate on line.
The aim of the survey is to understand the nature and background of those interested in the climate debate on line. It will provide an invaluable insight into the education and work experience of participants, test the relevance of politics in forming views and assess employment and social factors for their relationship with views on climate.
Climate: What we know and what we don't
Professor Salby giving his presentation on 7th November 2013
to the Scottish Climate & Energy Forum.
produced by Mike Haseler BSc. MBA
In order to understand the importance of the evidence presented by Salby it is necessary to understand the case for attributing the recent rise in CO2 to human emissions. This starts with the assertion that man-made, rather than natural, emissions of CO2 can be shown to be the cause of the recent rise in atmospheric CO2 because:
The recorded rise in CO2 from 1958 of about 100ppm is larger than anything apparent in the proxy record. This “unprecedented” rise is seen as a fingerprint of recent human activity
The ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12 in the atmosphere has decreased since 1830. This was thought to be due to the burning of fossil fuels which have a lower ratio of carbon 13. As such the reduction in the ratio was thought to be the “fingerprint” of man-made emissions.
And then it is argued that this rise in CO2 is causing global warming because:
CO2 and temperature move together in an apparent relationship in the proxy records
In his lecture Salby showed:
Whilst there is a good fit in the ancient record from proxy ice-cores, the measurements of recent global temperature is poorly correlated with the measured level of CO2.
Instead, net emissions of CO2 (not the level) is more closely related to temperature.
If we model surface conditions with temperature & humidity in the atmosphere:
net emissions of CO2 can be predicted from surface conditions
net emissions of Methane can be predicted from surface conditions
net emissions of Carbon 13 can be predicted from surface conditions
Evidence shows that the sources of atmospheric CO2 (as shown by areas with highest concentration) are not related to man-made emissions from burning fossil fuels.
The evidence shows Carbon 13 is not a fingerprint of human emissions.
The IPCC are wrong to say: “all ... increases [in CO2] are caused by human activity.” or “the increased atmospheric CO2 concentration is known to be caused by human activities”.
In significant part, changes in the level of CO2 are controlled by global temperature.
Furthermore he proposed a mechanism to explain the anomaly between the behaviour of CO2 in the actual atmosphere and that seen in the proxy record from the ice core. This was that there was a non-conservative damping mechanism such as diffusion or loss in removal of the ice core.
Non-conservative influences would cause past atmospheric CO2 to be significantly underestimated, so it is likely that the recent rise in CO2 is not unprecedented.
All the recent history of CO2 can be explained from surface conditions alone.
The Sceptic view is the final statement published 6th May 2012 prepared after a discussion on the blog Scottish Sceptic by a number of regular contributors to that blog as well as others who participated from Wattsupwiththat , Bishop Hill and other blogs. It was an agreed statement by those participating in the discussion. As such it represents the most authoritative statement of the views of Climate "Sceptics"/"Skeptics" as of May 2012.
The Sceptic View (Rev. 0.5)
cartoonsbyjosh.com (click to enlarge)
Sceptics value diversity of views and there are many strands. As one contributor said:
Climate scepticism isn’t necessarily about what we agree upon, it’s based upon how many questions go unanswered. More, it’s about how many lies that have been told, whether directly or by omission. The greatest liberator of mankind so far – fossil fuel – has been tried, found guilty and condemned without ever being allowed to publicly mount a defence. (TinyCO2 )
Many have passionate views based on the evidence:
As far as I’m concerned I see absolutely no unambiguous empirical evidence that CO2 has any discernible effect on climate whatsoever. It may possibly have an influence but I’m damned if I see it anywhere. (cerberus)
Although there is no single sceptic view, most** sceptics broadly agree with the following:
- Carbon Dioxide (CO2) has been increasing. In 1960 it was 0.032% of the atmosphere, today it is 0.039%.
- There has very probably been warming of average global temperatures in the last 150 years.
- There is a greenhouse effect and CO2 is a greenhouse gas. The best scientific estimate of this effect (for doubling CO2) is about 1C warming.
- People think there are mechanisms that could increase warming further than the direct effect of CO2. This is not supported by the evidence.
- Current estimates of about 0.8 C temperature rise in the past 150 years are very likely too high. There is compelling evidence of malpractice, urban heating and poor instruments & siting. A figure of 0.5-0.6C warming appears more likely.
- Man-made sources have increased global levels of CO2, however scientific analysis shows part of the increase is natural and no one is certain how much or little of this rise is man-made.
- Water in the atmosphere is far more important than CO2 in determining global temperature.
- The harmful effects of warming have been exaggerated as shown e.g. by the absence of substantial evidence for increasing weather extremes.
- Known benefits have been hidden. It is estimated there are more than 20,000 extra winter deaths each year in the UK and increasing fuel costs will make this worse. CO2 is essential for plant growth and increasing levels are beneficial to plants.
- Even under the worst case scenario warming, when the usual method of comparing the cost and benefit of policy is used, it is more cost effective to deal with any problems that occur than to pay to try to stop them.
- Climate proxies are not reliable. If we consider all the evidence including historical records, the evidence suggests the world was warmer during the “medieval warm period” as well as being cooler during the “little ice age”.
- Climate varies naturally. Most of the CO2 rise occurred in the latter half of the 20th century. If this change were man-made the global temperature change for the early and latter 20th century should be very different. They are not. This suggests a natural cause for much of the 20th century warming.
- In 2001 the IPCC stated with a high degree of confidence that global temperature would warm. It has not. In science a theory is not valid unless the data supports it. Climate scientists must accept this theory is not validated and acknowledge that the IPCC confidence in warming was greatly overstated.
- We condemn the many instances of malpractice seen in climate science and those who condone them.
**We encourage debate based on scientific evidence. We particularly abhor any dismissal of potentially good science based on the preconceived prejudice that has dominated climate science and prevented debate. Those who did not agree with the above seemed to do so for the following reasons:
- Some sceptics reject any interpretation of the data beyond a minimal assertion of the facts.
- Others question the validity of isolated surface stations as representing a global temperature.
- A vocal group of sceptics look to other planets as a model of the earth’s climate and argue that the temperatures seen on these planet contradict the theory on which greenhouse warming is based. We think such ideas and theories deserve consideration and require effort to substantiate or refute them based on the evidence.