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Finally….a proper debate on climate change

November 23rd, 2009 Posted in UK Politics by

Congratulations to the BBC . I dont say that often, so I will say it again. Congratulations to the BBC. Today on The Daily Politics show I finally got to see a proper discussion on climate change – and between two scientists no less! Prof Fred Singer ( Founder and President of the Science and Environmental Policy Project and Professor Emeritus of Environmental Science at the University of Virginia) and Prof Bob Watson (the chief scientific advisor at the department of the environment) met with Andrew Neil for a rattlingly good discussion.

I will put up the highlights of the programme up here later today or you can go to BBCiplayer to see the full programme.

This debate comes shortly ahead of the Copenhagen summit and, I am told, a debate being held tonight entitled “The Copenhagen Summit: Do Science and Economics Support Government Action on Climate Change” . Judging by the discussion on air today it promises to be a must see event. Full marks IEA and can we have more of this on the BBC please, so that more of us can listen to the arguments from all sides, not just the spin.

UPDATE: Apologies for the delay. You can now see the climate change part of the programme here… or you can go to BBCiplayer to see the full programme.

7 Responses to “Finally….a proper debate on climate change”

  1. Neil Craig Says:

    Looks like though the BBC are desperately censoring news of the hacking proving that the entire warming story has been built on lies they are now slightly hedging their bets.

    Of course the politicians have known it was a lie for years – after all they paid for it.

  2. David Heigham Says:

    Nice to see a competent official spokesman pushed onto the back foot.

    However the rough odds have not changed:

    – 1000:1 on that CO2 is rising
    – 100:1 on that there is a corresponding warming trend
    – 1:10 against that temperature trend running away so it becomes a world wide calamity for humanity.
    – 4:1 on that it will hurt humanity seriously, but no worse than very seriously, within 50 years.
    – 1:10 against that we survive the next 50 years with only slight damage
    – 1:100 against that it we will like the consequences in 50 years time.

    Nothing scientists say is ever absolutely certain: we always have to decide on the odds. Thay are rarely this clear.

  3. Dick Puddlecote Says:

    I’ll lay you tons of the 1/4, DH. As a betting man myself, that is a 24 carat money-maker (I’d have to be quick though as politicians will bite your hand off before I get my amount matched, I suspect).

  4. Mark Littlewood Says:


    As a betting man, I was interested to see your “rough odds”.

    Are these quoted anywhere in the IPCC report? Or are these, in fact, just your best personal guesses?

    I’m surprised to see “CO2 rising” as 1/1000. Is there anyone who doubts that CO2 is rising? You seem to indicate a 0.1% chance that CO2 might not be rising. That seems far too high.

    The other %s you quote have not, as far as I’m aware, been supported by the “scientific community” at all.

    As with Mr. Puddlecote, I’d be keen to place a bet.

    Can I please have £1,000 on your 100-1 shot that “we will like the consequences in 50 years time”? (I’m assuming you mean the consequences of climate change…not the consequences of climate change POLICY). I’m not saying this is a surefire way to make me a £100,000 profit in my 80s, but I definitely like the smell of those odds. I’m quite certain there will be many others who’d like to place a similarly sized bet at your generous odds.

  5. Neil Craig Says:

    I’ll put £1,000 on that 110:1 on there being a corresponding warming trend.

    Well look at the graph here – consistent rise in CO2 & decline in temperature.

    I’ll take a cheque David Heigham. Anybody want to place a side bet that Mr Heigham pays his debts?

  6. David Heigham Says:

    Friends, and itrust fellow Liberals,

    I would love to set up a betting market, but the pay off time is very considerably beyond my reasonable life expectation.

    Te odds are my rough guess; in the light of everything I have read for the last twenty years. Making the best estimate you can of the odds is respectably known as the application of a Bayesian approach to decision making. I always try to apply it as it seems the least worst framework for decision available.

    I started to apply it to global warming a bit over twenty years ago. I looked at what some scientists were then saying -a great deal more tentatatively than now – about the subject, and said to myself that adding the amounts of energy they were talking about to a heat driven chaotic process like our atmospheric circulation was odds on to produce an increase in extreme weather events. (None of the scientists were making that link.) A few minutes search found that the world’s biggest re-insurer Munich Re the firm who had most to lose if it was caught out by an increase in weather driven disasters, had already found and documented just such an increase in weather disasters. So I changed my estimate of the odds to odds on that global warming was occurring. Much to my disquiet, all the evidence since has driven my estimate of the odds in the same direction. Every serious bit of science seems to make the prospect more threatening.

    If you are likely to be living in around 2050, you have much more at risk than I do.

  7. Neil Craig Says:

    Bull the graph I put up shows an undisputable continuous rise in CO2 over 10 years & equally undisputably no correlation whatsoever with warming, not even something which could be finessed into something looking a bit like a correlation. Indeed that temperature is falling.

    Anyone can see that.

    Sir you owe me £100,000 & if you have any shred of personal integrity you will make arrangements to pay.

    I grant I have serious doubts that you do.