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Scientists Say The Situation Is Getting Worse
As scepticism about climate change seems to be gaining traction around the world, a group of international scientists is hitting back. A new study shores up the facts and figures behind global warming. It not only updates the information of the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, but shows the situation is much worse. David Karoly speaks for the scientists.
Presenter: Di Bain for Radio Australia (8 March 2010):
Speaker: Professor David Karoly, Melbourne University
DAVID KAROLY: We started the analysis about 12 months ago but it’s, it’s a review of a range of different lines of evidence. So, all of the authors have been involved in research on understanding the causes of climate change, not just due to human activity but other factors, including land use change and the effects of changes in sunlight from the sun or volcanoes, and looking at all those possible influence in causes at global and regional climate change.
So, in some ways it’s an attempt to review the different lines of evidence and update the understanding of the causes of climate change from the IPCC assessment which concluded its, if you like, evaluation in 2007.
DI BAIN: What does this report do to debunk the growing scepticism about climate change?
DAVID KAROLY: Well, what this paper does is show that the evidence of human caused climate change is even stronger than it was in the IPCC assessment and it was already very strong in the IPCC assessment because the IPCC concluded that most of the warming in global average temperatures over the last 50 years, essentially the 50 years leading up to 2007 was very likely more than 90 per cent certain due to human activity.
And what our study has found is it is even more confident in terms of a human influence on global mean temperatures and we can also see a significant human influence from increases in greenhouse gases in warming in temperatures in all continents, at a regional scale in many different regions, in warming in the oceans, in reductions in arctic sea ice and in changes in rainfall patterns.
DI BAIN: How does the person who isn’t adept in the science know what figures to trust, especially after the recent IPCC errors and the climate change email scandal last year?
DAVID KAROLY: As far as I’m aware, there is only one error of substance in the IPCC assessments which was a mistake and has been admitted to in terms of the timing for the Asian glaciers, or Himalayan glaciers to disappear.
That’s been acknowledged as a mistake but that was not a key conclusion of the IPCC and there is still conclusive evidence that glaciers are retreating and have retreated over the last 100 years all around the world and there is clear evidence that human caused increases in temperatures regionally have contributed to that decline in glacier extent, or retreat of glaciers, all around the world.
So, I think there is still, well, no, I think, I know there is still convincing evidence that human activity is causing both global and regional warming in most parts of the world over the last 100 years.
DI BAIN: The climate change debate doesn’t appear to be the number one priority for Kevin Rudd anymore, are the sceptics winning the public debate in Australia?
DAVID KAROLY: Well, I think that there has been a range of misinformation being spread by media outlets because the climate change sceptics are spreading that misinformation.
I think that a range of scientific studies, such as this one, on the relationship between observed climate change and its causes, reaffirm the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.