Yet again, hard on the heels of a report saying that humans are creating Global Warming and it is nearly too late to do anything about it, we find another contradictory report. This time it is in the Sunday Telegraph (11 Feb). To be fair this report is not saying that man is not contributing to Global Warming, just that, because of the effects that cosmic rays are having, the extent of man’s effect, and its growth pattern may have been seriously miscalculated.
The theory behind this research is that the cosmic rays activity affect the cloud cover that the earth experiences. The higher the cosmic ray activity, the lower the cloud cover and the more warming occurs. At present we are in such a high cosmic ray activity period. If correct, this research means that the calculations used in the IPCC report need to be adjusted. Although there are some scientists who dismiss these claims, it is important enough for a group of at least 60 to conduct tests to check its validity.
You will hardly be surprised to note that this report was relegated to page 16 of the newspaper in question, rather than the front page. However, this is not my main criticism. It is obvious from the comments of the scientists in question that they are not “denialists.” They accept that man does contribute to global warming, just that the rate is significantly different than has been reported. My problem is, as I have mentioned before, the lack of full research when addressing an issue such as climate change. Three points I would like to make, which I have probably covered before.
Firstly, if one is researching a subject, it is encumbent upon the researcher to fully address and study issues that contradict the findings. This does not appear to have been done in the case of cosmic activity, as the fact that only now 60 scientists are going to do research suggests.
Secondly, in environmental issues the accuracy of numerical findings is paramount. This is important so that one can accurately measure the impact and the level of remedy needed. In this case, if cosmic rays are proved have a significant effect it means that man’s response can be more controlled, accurate and less damaging both to the environment and the economic structure than has been suggested by the IPCC. As has been mentioned in other posts, overkill responses to these issues can be just as damaging to the environment as the global warming itself.
Thirdly, the habit of labelling people because they do not fully accept ones findings, in this case as denialists or sceptics, is becoming boring and counter-productive. There are no absolutes in science. The scientists who have come up with this current research cannot be labelled as sceptics or denialists, because they accept the concept of Global Warming and man’s contribution. All they are saying is get the facts straight. I wonder if those who support the IPCC report will respond positively to this challenge?
It is time to stop the media dramatics and hype and approach this subject on a sensible, factual discussion basis.