UK government statisticians put out a report today that includes a section on the effects of climate change. The Office for National Statistics document contains three bizarre comments that suggest they simply don’t understand the science. Is scepticism about the reliability of the laws of physics beginning to infect even central government? Will we get a note from ONS next week suggesting that existence of gravity is still subject to scientific dispute? 1, 'Some studies of long-term climate change have shown a connection between the concentrations of key greenhouse gases – carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide - in the atmosphere and mean global temperature'.
No, not ‘some’ studies. All research ever conducted into long-term climate change has shown not just ‘a’ connection between greenhouse gases and temperature but a very strong link. The level of CO2 in the atmosphere is highly correlated with global temperature across the last hundreds of millions of years.
2, 'The accumulation of these gases in the atmosphere may cause heat from the sun to be trapped near the Earth’s surface – known as the ‘greenhouse effect’ '.
Greenhouse gases ‘may' cause heat to be trapped? No, we know with complete certainty that greenhouse gases cause heat to be retained in the atmosphere. And we have known this for a hundred years. Without the greenhouse effect the average Earth temperature would be about 33 degrees lower than it is today. No-one, literally no-one, denies this.
3, ‘Opinion on climate change is divided’
Actually, the research being discussed by ONS at this point shows that opinion on the effects of climate change is divided.
There is real and important debate on the impact of increased greenhouse gas concentrations on the world’s climate. But no uncertainty whatsoever exists as to the existence of the greenhouse effect. The ONS needs to get out more and talk to a few scientists.