Thursday, 6 March 2014

Dr Chris Huntingford, climate modeller, comments on new climate sensitivity report

A new report, published today by the Global Warming Policy Foundation*, examines how sensitive global climate is to greenhouse gases by examining evidence from observations and outputs from climate models. The report discusses scientific research referred to in the recently published Fifth Assessment report (AR5) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Dr Chris Huntingford, a climate modeller from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology whose work is referenced in AR5, provided the following quotes in reaction to the report's publication:

“One persistent frustration is this belief that climate research is undertaken without any attention paid to the economic consequences of major emissions reductions. We are all acutely aware that to keep global warming constrained to two-degrees since pre-industrial times will most likely need a major alteration to energy policy. This is even for lower climate sensitivities. We definitely do worry about what reductions are possible and without causing financial damage.

“Socio-economists already collaborate with climate researchers, but this needs to be taken much further. If only those of incredibly sharp economic understanding and who contribute to the Global Warming Policy Foundation would, instead of continuously attacking efforts by the climate modelling community, collaborate with us. Much progress could then occur. They could tell us precisely what reductions in emissions they believe to be feasible, from which we can then calculate climate implications based on the remaining emissions. These calculations would include the factoring in of the, and we’ve always agreed, large, climate sensitivity uncertainty.”

Dr Huntingford's quote has also been published on the Science Media Centre website together with quotes from a number of other climate scientists.

Additional information

Staff page of Dr Chris Huntingford, CEH

Global Warming Policy Foundation report 

Global Warming Policy Foundation

Science Media Centre expert reaction to new report

*The Global Warming Policy Foundation is a think tank that contests current science on global warming.

1 comment:

  1. It would have been useful if this post had given a bit more background on the Global Warming Policy Foundation, as the impression given is that it is a bone fide neutral science/policy organisation and this is a spat about data between scientists. In fact the GWPF is a leading climate skeptic "think"tank founded by Nigel Lawson and funded by the oil industry and other vested interests. This helps to understand where it is coming from in its enthusiasm to find ground to discredit IPCC and try to minimise the impacts of climate change.

    The GWPF report relies on selective use of parts of published models which their own developers admit are incomplete and highly uncertain rather than the using the broad overview of many models (including the ones quoted by GWPF) to give estimates future climate. Even allowing GWPF's results suggesting slightly reduced impacts there is an urgent need to act to reduce emissions.

    While in general I agree that scientists should be trying to engage the public on climate change issues, I do feel that rather than spending time trying to work with organisations such as GWPF who have an entrenched position based on vested interests we should be engaging those people and organisations who have a genuine interest in gaining a better understanding of the issues.

    The Guardian has an interesting article on the GWPF report