Desperate For Doubt

Dec 14 2012 @ 3:00pm

A major climate change report has been leaked almost a full year early. The reason? One member of the 800-person group reviewing it, Alex Rawls, found one sentence to support his climate change denialism:

[Wrote Rawls:] "The addition of one single sentence [discussing the influence of cosmic rays on the earth's climate] demands the release of the whole. That sentence is an astounding bit of honesty, a killing admission that completely undercuts the main premise and the main conclusion of the full report, revealing the fundamental dishonesty of the whole." Climate sceptics have heralded the sentence – which they interpret as meaning that cosmic rays could have a greater warming influence on the planet than mankind's emissions – as "game-changing".

Steve Sherwood, a professor at the University of New South Wales Climate Change Research Centre, pushes back:

The single sentence that this guy pulls out is simply paraphrasing an argument that has been put forward by a few controversial papers (note the crucial word "seems") purporting significant cosmic-ray influences on climate.  Its existence in the draft is proof that we considered all peer-reviewed literature, including potentially important papers that deviate from the herd.  The rest of the paragraph from which he has lifted this sentence, however, goes on to show that subsequent peer-reviewed literature has discredited the assumptions and/or methodology of those papers, and failed to find any effect.  The absence of evidence for significant cosmic-ray effects is clearly stated in the executive summary. This guy's spin is truly bizarre.  Anyone who would buy the idea that this is a "game changer" is obviously not really looking at what is there.

Skeptical Science adds:

The body of peer-reviewed scientific literature is very clear: human greenhouse gas emissionsnot solar activity or galactic cosmic rays, are causing global warming.  The leaked IPCC report is entirely consistent with this conclusion. 

The Guardian captions the remarkable video seen above:

It's like watching 'Manhattan breaking apart in front of your eyes', says one of the researchers for filmmaker James Balog. He's describing the largest iceberg calving ever filmed, as featured in his movie, Chasing Ice. After weeks of waiting, the filmakers witnessed 7.4 cubic km of ice crashing off the Ilulissat glacier in Greenland. Chasing Ice, released in the UK on Friday, follows Balog's mission to document Arctic ice being melted by climate change.

The Dish also took a look at Chasing Ice last month.