A Page of Authorities

I get so tired of hearing “I have a degree in (random subject) and I can assure you global warming is not happening!” that I thought I’d do some research into what the respective national bodies, professional associations, learned societies and general recognised scientific bodies actually say. I can’t help feeling that if one statistician (or whatever) says AGW is based on dodgy models and therefore it’s all a load of hot air, it doesn’t necessarily mean all statisticians (or whatever) share that view. Surely the relevant professional body would have a more authoritive view? I’m also fed to the back teeth of being told “go do the research!” because frankly, just how can an ordinary person do all the hundreds of thousands of hours of scientific study to “do” the research in howevemany fields of science it takes to put together an understanding of the planet, the atmosphere, the oceans, biological systems, our position in space, the way the sun works…… you get the picture. Besides, lots of more highly trained and qualified people have already DONE the research so I have no intention of stumbling about in their wake. You have to trust someone and I’ve decided that, rather than trust any *one* person just because they make a lot of noise (empty vessels, anyone?), I’d rather look at the position statements of the people who’ve spent their entire lives understanding all the science.

So, here’s the ongoing results of my quiet little research project, in a fairly random order as I’ve come across them. In each case, I’ve put in a link to their website’s position statement, policy statement or other relevant item/article confirming their position, together with a short quote or remark on their position.

Further results will be added as and when I find them.

The British Council -“We recognise the scientific consensus but are not a climate change organisation. However, as one of the big global issues – particularly for young people – climate change is a powerful topic through which we can engage with young people around the world.”

Institute of Physics  –  “This paper, produced on behalf of the Institute of Physics by Professor Alan J. Thorpe, explains how predictions of future climate change are made using climate models. It is hoped that the paper will increase believability in these models and be persuasive that anthropogenic activity is likely to be causing global warming. It aims to convince policy-makers, the general public and the scientific community that the threats posed by global climate change are real.”

Royal Society of Chemistry – “Climate change is perhaps the major factor that will affect the lives of the young people currently studying in our schools and colleges. The Royal Society of Chemistry firmly believes that without a sound understanding of both the scientific principle behind and the evidence for climate change these young people will not be able to make informed decisions as citizens.”

The RSC has thus produced a resource for both 14-16 and 16-18 year olds to support, in particular, teachers of science and chemistry in their delivery of this important topic.”

Royal Association of Engineers – “In 2000, the RCEP was the first body to call for sweeping cuts in carbon dioxide emissions: 60% by 2050. The figure of 60% followed from the limit of 550 parts per million (ppm) of CO2 equivalent in the atmosphere as an estimate for the tipping point beyond which the likelihood of catastrophic climate events becomes intolerable.

The change of target from 60% to 80%, as adopted in the UK’s ClimateChange Act, followed from stronger scientific evidence which lowered the limit from 550 to 450 ppm.”

Royal Geographical Society – “What are the human causes of climate change?

Human factors are called anthropogenic causes. Firstly and most significantly these are from burning of fossil fuels for energy production, industrial processes, transport, domestic heating, lighting and cooling. 90% of this cause comes from North America, Europe and Asia. Second cause of increasing emissions is from land use changes – especially the cutting down of forests which would otherwise act as carbon sink. South America, Africa and Asia are responsible for 90% of these emissions. Most scientists now agree that it is human activity that is changing climates now.”

British Academy – “31 Mar 2014

British Academy President Lord Stern has today responded to the publication of the UN climate change report.

In his role as Chair of the ESRC Centre for Climate Change Economics and Policy and the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE, Lord Stern said: “This comprehensive report lays out very clearly the evidence that climate change is already having many impacts across the world, including effects on human deaths from extremely hot or cold weather, crop yields, the availability of water from shrinking glaciers, and the distribution of plant and animal species.”

Royal Society of Edinburgh – 188 pages of implicit acceptance of AGW.

Royal Society – ““The Working Group II report builds on the Working Group I report issued last year. WGI showed strong evidence for anthropogenic climate change and how this could unfold over this century.”

British Geological Survey – BGS section on climate change

Meteorological Office – “There’s overwhelming and growing evidence that the warming is due to vastly increased – and still increasing – quantities of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere.”

Geological Society of London – Position statement and addendum both supporting AGW.

British Medical Journal – “This is an emergency. Immediate and transformative action is needed at every level: individual, local, and national; personal, political, and financial.”

Chartered Institute of Water and Environmental Management – This position statement starts from the position that the evidence for anthropogenic climate change is now so extensive and robust that attention and debate must focus squarely on mitigation and adaptation strategies, and is presented in this context.

Institutute of Mathematics and its applications – “Mathematics for Planet Earth Editorial

The year 2013 has been dedicated as a special year for the Mathematics of Planet Earth (http://mpe2013.org/), by a worldwide network of mathematical research institutes, university departments, mathematical societies and other types of partner, including the IMA.

Royal Town Planning Institute – “The choices we make today around the way we plan, design and build our places and communities will have significant repercussions for the future. If we don’t continually review what we are doing and plan in the most effective measures to lessen climate change then we leave a terrible legacy.”

Royal Astronomical Association, also incorporates British Geophysics Institute and supports Grantham Institute for Climate Change at Imperial College London. This quote goes back to 2007 and I can’t find any sign they’ve changed their minds since!

“Professor Michael Rowan-Robinson, President of the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS) and chair of the Astrophysics Group at Imperial College, London has roundly condemned remarks by NASA Administrator Michael Griffin that global warming is not an issue of pressing concern.”

British Antarctic Survey – “The British Antarctic Survey fully supports the major conclusions of the IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment Report (AR4)”

Engineering & Physical Research Council – “Myths circulating online about climate change cause misplaced apathy or alarm.”

Economic and Social Research Council – “It’s the “most comprehensive assessment to date” of the impacts of climate change. The latest report from UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) outlines the impact of climate change on the natural world and human society over the decades ahead.”

Natural Environment Research Council – “The aim of the two-year AVOID 2 programme funded by the Living With Environmental Change (LWEC) Partners – Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs (Defra) and NERC is to provide robust, policy relevant information that can be drawn upon in international policy discussions in the run up to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) COP21 to be held in Paris in 2015.”

Science & Technology Facilities Council – “Managing climate change is a global problem.  There is a clear link between climate change and the release of greenhouse gases when fossil fuels are burnt.  Providing clean energy sources is a key scientific challenge.”

Society of Biology – “There is an overwhelming scientific consensus worldwide, and a broad political consensus, that greenhouse gas emissions are affecting global climate, and that measures are needed to reduce these emissions significantly so as to limit the extent of climate change.”

European Science Foundation – “Climate Change caused by global warming represents one of the greatest challenges of the 21st Century, necessitating the engagement of all sections of society, local and global.”

American Statistical Association – “The ASA endorses the IPCC conclusions.” (all the way back in 2007)

 American Institute of Physics – “A thorough review of scientific understanding as of ca. 2012 is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change 2013 reports (and other, specialized reports).”

American Geophysical Union – “Human-Induced Climate Change Requires Urgent Action

Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years.”

Science Council – “Many national and international science academies and professional societies have assessed current scientific opinion on climate change. These assessments have largely followed or endorsed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) position.”

ClimateWise is the global insurance industry’s leadership group to drive action on climate change risk.

“Since the 1980s, the number of loss-relevant weather-related catastrophes has almost tripled in comparison to the number of geophysical events over the same period of time. The recent IPCC 5th Assessment Report supports analysis that the effects of global warming are aggravating risk situations around the world. Without rapid and ambitious action to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions, the capacity to keep global temperature rises within limits considered manageable or “safe” will narrow significantly, leading to major shifts in risk landscapes worldwide and threatening human and economic wellbeing. Both public and private actors need to engage in a broader societal discussion about the use of insurance in the context of climate- and disaster-resilient development.”

Union of Concerned Scientists of the USA – an alliance of over 400,000 scientists and citizens in the USA. This link is the homepage for their Global Warming section.

Australian Academyof Science – “Earth’s climate has changed over the past century. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, sea levels have risen, and glaciers and ice sheets have decreased in size. The best available evidence indicates that greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the main cause. Continuing increases in greenhouse gases will produce further warming and other changes in Earth’s physical environment and ecosystems.”


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