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Climate Science and the Phlogiston Theory

Climate Science and the Phlogiston Theory On 2 February 2007 the Intergovernmental Governmental Panel for Climate Change(IPCC) released a “Summary for Policymakers” which is a precis – written by itsrepresentatives, not all of whom were scientists – of its longer report, due forrelease in May.Drafts of the as-yet unpublished main report have been widely circulated andprompted much comment but views which differ from that of the IPCC and the mainauthors have been largely neglected.In response to the SPM ten scientists presented an alternative report based onthe IPCC's draft document and this Independent Summary for Policymakers (ISPM)was released in London on February 5. The ISPM notes the limited level ofknowledge of climate sciences and comments on hypotheses neglected by the IPCCSPM, and not surprisingly its conclusions contradict those of the IPCC.The rather alarmist IPCC SPM claims that it is between 90% and 95%probable that the observed climate change since 1950 has mainly been causedby mankind and in particular by the emission of CO2 produced bythe burning of fossil fuel. In contrast the ISPM states that the extent towhich humans are contributing to climate change is uncertain and will remainuncertain for some time. The ISPM also points out that that the observedclimate changes are still within the limits of natural variability and canbe explained by natural events, and suggests that some warming might bebeneficial.This paper considers this controversy from the perspective of the history ofscience and shows precendents for questioning science orthodoxy. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Energy & Environment SAGE

Climate Science and the Phlogiston Theory

Energy & Environment , Volume 18 (3-4): 8 – Jul 1, 2007

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Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2007 SAGE Publications
ISSN
0958-305X
eISSN
2048-4070
DOI
10.1260/095830507781076158
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

On 2 February 2007 the Intergovernmental Governmental Panel for Climate Change(IPCC) released a “Summary for Policymakers” which is a precis – written by itsrepresentatives, not all of whom were scientists – of its longer report, due forrelease in May.Drafts of the as-yet unpublished main report have been widely circulated andprompted much comment but views which differ from that of the IPCC and the mainauthors have been largely neglected.In response to the SPM ten scientists presented an alternative report based onthe IPCC's draft document and this Independent Summary for Policymakers (ISPM)was released in London on February 5. The ISPM notes the limited level ofknowledge of climate sciences and comments on hypotheses neglected by the IPCCSPM, and not surprisingly its conclusions contradict those of the IPCC.The rather alarmist IPCC SPM claims that it is between 90% and 95%probable that the observed climate change since 1950 has mainly been causedby mankind and in particular by the emission of CO2 produced bythe burning of fossil fuel. In contrast the ISPM states that the extent towhich humans are contributing to climate change is uncertain and will remainuncertain for some time. The ISPM also points out that that the observedclimate changes are still within the limits of natural variability and canbe explained by natural events, and suggests that some warming might bebeneficial.This paper considers this controversy from the perspective of the history ofscience and shows precendents for questioning science orthodoxy.

Journal

Energy & EnvironmentSAGE

Published: Jul 1, 2007

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