Thursday, 8 July 2010

Russell Review: Why it is important

The attempt to control the world temperature is an extraordinary mission. There is a battle being fought out between those who believe that it is imperative that we do so immediately, and those who see the IPCC's call to arms as a dodgy dossier. Since the arguments of the IPCC rest to a significant extent on the outputs of the CRU and their allies, the quality and veracity of those outputs matter.

Why does this matter to us in Edinburgh?

First, the Holyrood version of the Climate Change Act goes further than anywhere else in the world in setting targets of reduced emissions.

At this moment Edinburgh Council is piloting an emissions trading scheme required by the Act which will shortly require the Scottish Environmental Protection Agency to mandate organisations with an energy expenditure of in excess of £0.5m to enter a scheme to buy and sell carbon credits per tonne of estimated emissions. This will be bureaucratic, costly, and is in addition to an extensive range of other measures already being undertaken. Already parking controls, planning laws, building standards and a host of other areas of public policy are predicated on an assumption of catastrophic temperature change which has become the orthodoxy of public policy. There are, of course, often other good reasons for reducing emissions.

But is the science settled? Is there a consensus amongst scientists? Accusations of gate keeping, manipulating the evidence and misrepresenting the uncertainties in climate science are at the heart of the answers to these two questions.

The enquiries we have seen have been part of the problem. There have been four and there are more to come. Each and all of them have had very significant questions over their independence and competence.

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