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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

NATIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL RESEARCH COUNCIL SEEKS DEBATE WITH SCEPTICS

The Boss of the National Environment Research Council, Alan Thorpe has called for an open public & online debate to disprove the position of sceptics on warming. That is a very welcome development when one bears in mind that such scientific luminaries as a former Moderator of the Church of Scotland have spoken against allowing debate, since the scientific case is "settled". One might even hope that this debate might be hosted by the BBC. By recently hiring David Attenborough to assure us that, such is current sea rise, that in 20 years much of Norfolk will be underwater yet refusing airtime to scientists who are actually measuring it & could say that this is , quite decidedly not so the BBC has strayed from impartiality. Hosting an open debate would, if not remove the appearance of propagandising from the allegation (assuming Norfolk doesn't sink by 2026), at least dilute it.

Mr Thorpe's Council however, being committed to "impartial environmental research" (it says so on their website) is clearly in a position to put the catastrophe enthusiast's position robustly. The site does not explain how it receives funding - presumably not from oil companies or organisations committed to a belief in warming either, or how it ensures, when awarding grants, that it maintains an impartial balance in research.

According to the story repeated almost verbatim in a number of papers he believes that the computer models on the enthusiasts side have been consistently proven correct. I would be very interested in reading his explanation of how the Hockey Stick theory which predicted a continuous fast rise since the 1990s has been proven accurate by the figures showing temperature has been lower than 1998 for 5 of the succeeding years. He would probably also be able to explain how it was that the Hockey Stick computer programme, the pride of the IPCC's report was, when tested by Stephen McIntyre, able to produce exactly the same warming prediction virtually whatever figures were put into it.

Having myself contributed to this debate in the lettercolumn & online in the Scotsman (the online comments, which are not selected by staff, have been overwhelmingly of the sceptical view) I look forward, with some enthusiasm, to see whether Mr Thorpe's "impartial" future contributions, so heavily trailed by newspapers, prove convincing.
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The original article
Alan Thorpe, chief executive of the Natural Environment Research Council, said yesterday he planned to defeat so-called 'deniers', first on-line and later at a public debate.
...........'Yet a handful of scientists, politicians and writers are still claiming humans are not responsible at all. We have got to kill off this notion so we can get on with the real work: protecting ourselves from future climate change. That is why I am challenging these deniers.............'If you look at the computer models we created years ago, only those that take account of increases in carbon dioxide emissions have provided forecasts that have been accurate. The importance of carbon emissions is accepted by just about every scientist today, except for this handful of deniers. So let's see their figures and let us judge them when we have analysed their data.'

This has gone out to a number of newspapers, the BBC Mr Thorpe's council. I will link if it turns out Mr Thorpe has the intestinal fortitude to stand by the gauntlet he has thrown down or even if I, or anybody else on the opposite side of the "debate" these papers are calling for, get any coverage.

I hae ma douts.

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