Malcolm & Frank spoke for 30 mins each on the subject of Global Warming / Climate Change.
Malcolm addressed the subject from the “orthodox” viewpoint, i.e. that essentially aligned with the reports of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), supported by the work of numerous international scientific institutions over recent years. He argued that human factors such as agriculture, burning of fossil fuels (esp. following the industrial revolution) and increasing population had seen a global temperature rise of 0.7C since 1850, with a projected further rise over future decades of at least 2C. This was largely attributable to the enhanced greenhouse effect caused by release into the atmosphere of increased levels of CO2 and pollutants such as CH4, C soot, NO2, etc. Malcolm cited diverse types of environmental data as evidence of GW over historic timescales and pointed out the important link between atmospheric & oceanic effects. He also briefly covered potential mitigation measures which might alleviate the problems.
Frank Brown challenged the “orthodox” viewpoint, asserting that increased levels of CO2 were not a proven major cause of anthropogenic GW, and that the effects were largely attributable to natural variability during the 600 Myr Phanerozoic (i.e. life on Earth) era. He believed that the major players in the CC debate [e.g. the IPCC, the Met Office Hadley Centre, the BBC, the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia, and even recently the Royal Society] were of dubious scientific credibility on this matter. Frank thought that the cases made for numerous global extremes were a catalogue of unsupported claims, but accepted the importance of the link between atmospheric & oceanic effects. He cited the recently formed Global Warming Policy Foundation which had brought into question possible IPCC manipulation of data.
Malcolm & Frank were both thanked for their presentations. Their talks were followed by a lively & lengthy discussion session which arrived at no definitive conculsion. Garth Wilkinson drew attention to the briefing paper tabled by Malcolm at the previous meeting which had suggested forming sub-groups to research further the GW/CC issue with the aim of a product which could perhaps usefully be presented to secondary school pupils. However, the Group decided that there was insufficient agreement & commitment to take this idea forward. Nevertheless, the subject might be a topic for further debate at some future date, given Group will.