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Climate change: a guide to the scientific uncertainties

Publication date:
M. Livermore
Type of publication:

This paper argues that the science being presented to justify climate change is filled with uncertainty and mitigation policies being proposed are based on science that is yet to be proven. It acknowledges three certainties:

climate is in a continual state of flux
patterns depend on the timescale chosen
average carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased relatively steadily over the last century 

In terms of the latter point, the paper goes on to argue that whilst carbon dioxide concentration has increased, this alone will not lead to ever-increasing temperatures as its atmospheric concentration rises, because each additional increment of carbon dioxide absorbs less radiation than the previous amount. In the next section the paper criticises the computer modelling that guides a lot of climate science and policy, as they are based on an incomplete understanding of a complex and chaotic system. Therefore their outputs should not be relied upon to define particular policy needs. A number of climatic factors are presented that contribute to the uncertainty of our understanding of climate change including the role of solar output, natural variation, and measurement uncertainties. It is argued in the penultimate section of the paper that the approach being taken by scientific organisations to prove the generally accepted view of climate change uses unscientific methods and inspires mistrust.
The paper concludes that currently energy policy is driven by the reduction of carbon emissions; however, owing to the number of uncertainties on which this is based, more effective policies focusing on long-term energy security should be pursued. These policies include: 

building new generation efficient and safe nuclear power stations
promoting greater energy efficiency
encouraging research into new energy technology