Ahead of the release of the fifth assessment report by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), climate change believers and deniers are debating whether global warming requires government action and climate change tackling policies.
Lord Nicholas Stern, leading economist and author of the 2006 Stern review on climate change, has warned that the risks of climate change are ‘immense’ and said that governments must not underestimate the economic consequences of rising global temperatures.
The IPCC report will be published on Friday and climate sceptics are already criticising it because of a few mistakes made in the previous report. However, Lord Stern said that the assessment of such a huge amount of information may inevitably contain some errors, but the scientific message remains clear.
“It would be extraordinary and unscientific to argue on the basis of 200 years of evidence that you’re confident that the risks are small”, he said.
“Those who would have us delay have to argue they’re confident the risks are small. It would be an astonishing statement to make in light of all this evidence. It would be absurd to say you are confident that the risks are small.”
Stern also said in a speech at the Royal Society on Tuesday that after the publication of the report, he expected more countries to introduce domestic legislation aiming to reduce emissions in line with the goal of avoiding global warming of more than 2°C.
However, climate sceptics are ready to challenge the IPCC report, even though it says that scientists are 95% sure that humans are the main responsible for climate change.
The climate sceptic think thank Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) published a report on Monday [http://www.thegwpf.org/content/uploads/2013/09/Montford-Consensus1.pdf] saying that the UK’s climate projections made by the Met Office in 2009 were based on a computer error, while the country is wasting billion pounds in projects to tackle climate change. The Met Office dismissed the claim saying, “Sophisticated methods were used for the predictions”.
Earlier this month, the Daily Telegraph and the Daily Mail argued that increasing ice cover in the Arctic was proof that the world was entering a phase of ‘global cooling’, but scientists replied they were focusing on the ‘short term noise’ and missing the long-term effects.