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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Climate Change

Today I went on a visit to Plymouth.
Today the Royal Society published its brand new report entitled, " Climate Change: a summary of the science".
In Plymouth I stood on the spot where Sir Francis Drake and Sir Walter Raleigh and the Pilgrim Fathers all set out to sail across the Atlantic and around the world and into battle.

Now having read a little about those sailing adventures and rushed through a copy of the Royal Society  report , downloaded from the web, I am struck by a common  characteristic of all these accounts of human endeavour.

In each case history making actions and decisions were taken on very imperfect information and knowledge.

Our imagination helps us feel the act of faith of the early sailors  in for example, 1620 and now the Royal Society under pressure from Members and climate change sceptics using its resources of a wide range of highly qualified Fellows of the Society,  has reviewed the science and concludes its report with these comments:

"Paragraph  59: Like many important decisions, policy choices about climate change have to be made in
the absence of perfect knowledge. Even if the remaining uncertainties were substantially resolved, the wide variety of interests, cultures and beliefs in society would make consensus about such choices difficult to achieve. However, the potential impacts of climate change are sufficiently serious that important decisions will need to be made. Climate science – including the substantial body of knowledge that is already well
established, and the results of future research – is the essential basis for future climate projections and planning, and must be a vital component of public reasoning in this complex and challenging area"

In other words important actions almost always have to be taken with imperfect knowledge and action to respond to the scientific evidence about climate change will have to be taken.

Click here to see the RS report.

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