Posted by Big Gav in global warming
The ABC has a report on the increasingly successful campaign by climate skeptics to muddy public perception of the global warming problem - Scientists 'losing climate fight'.
A leading Australian climate change scientist says experts are losing the fight against sceptics, who are distorting the science of global warming. ...
But one of the lead authors of the report, Australian Professor Andy Pitman, has defended the overall conclusions of the report. Professor Pitman was a lead author on the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports. He is also the co-director of the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales.
Professor Pitman says sceptics have used the IPCC's error to skew the climate change debate. "Climate scientists are losing the fight with the sceptics," he said. "The sceptics are so well funded, so well organised. "They have nothing else to do. They don't have day jobs so they can put all their efforts into misinforming and miscommunicating climate science to the general public, whereas the climate scientists have day jobs and [managing publicity] actually isn't one of them.
"All of the efforts you do in an IPCC report is done out of hours, voluntarily, for no funding and no pay, whereas the sceptics are being funded to put out full-scale misinformation campaigns and are doing a damn good job, I think. They are doing a superb job at misinforming and miscommunicating the general public, state and federal governments."
And he says if scientists lose the climate change debate, it would be "potentially catastrophic". "If this was academic debate over some trivial issue [it wouldn't matter]," he said. "But this isn't. This is absolutely a fundamental problem for the Earth that we desperately needed full-scale international action on a decade ago.
"We are now 10 years too late to stop some of the major impacts that we will see and have seen as a consequence of global warming. It is not a future problem, it is a problem here today, around us."
Professor Pitman has accused sceptics of failing to base their arguments on the facts. "Most of the climate sceptics, particularly those that are wandering around publicly at the moment, don't base their arguments on science," he said. "They have probably never read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report; they aren't writing papers in peer-reviewed literature.
"They don't update their arguments when their arguments are shown to be false, so they'll have no problem at all using this ammunition inappropriately and out of context to further their aims in exactly the same way as people did when they were trying to disprove the relationship between smoking and human health."