Royal Society blinks – embraces sceptics and uncertainty

Royal Society blinks – embraces sceptics and uncertainty. The Royal Society has released a 19-page layman’s guide to climate change science. Because it’s fairly cautious and restricts itself to the physical science of climate change the denialist industry, including dear Anthony Watts, is trying to crow that the Royal Society has “blinked” and changed their position on climate change (i.e. that it’s real).

So did the Royal Society suddenly realise that their 43 “rebellious” members were right and their 1700 other members were not? No. The document states right off the bat that there is “strong evidence that the warming of the Earth over the last half-century has been caused largely by human activity”. If this is what passes for turning tail and running these days it’s a pretty thin gruel.

Here’s the desperate little nub the denialists are pinning their hopes on – pretending that any awareness of uncertainties is new:

“The size of future temperature increases and other aspects of climate change, especially at the regional scale, are still subject to uncertainty.” (italics mine)

“There is little confidence in specific projections of future regional climate change, except at continental scales.” (italics mine)

Well, duh. Useful regional predictions may not be possible in this decade, but global ones have been made and are coming to pass. Royal Society vice president John Pethica says “If the report sounds cautious, that’s because the IPCC is cautious” and “There is no change in the science.” Their statement from December 2009, Preventing dangerous climate change, (pdf here) stands unchanged, as does their 2007 Climate change controversies: a simple guide.

That 2007 pamphlet remains an effective rebuttal to Anthony’s most recent posts, which shows just how stagnant and intellectually bankrupt the denialist arguments are. Funny or sad? I guess it depends on your perspective.

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