The parliamentary committee meeting called to discuss errors in the UN climate report has left climate change sceptics feeling vindicated, writes the Financieele Dagblad on Tuesday.
‘The panel on climate change is irrelevant’. ‘This organisation has put us on the wrong track.’ Scientists Arthur Rörsch (formerly at TNO) and Bas van Geel (University of Amsterdam) could not help but look slightly smug on hearing these words.
Experts on either side of the climate change debate answered the committee’s questions yesterday about their experiences with the UN climate panel (IPCC) and its modus operandus.
The meeting was prompted by the controversy which erupted last year when it became clear that some of the findings in the panel’s 1997 report had been exaggerated. One example was the prediction that the Himalayan glaciers would disappear by 2035.
In November last year a batch of leaked e mails suggested that British climate scientists had deliberately suppressed data that would prejudice their research.
The climate debate controversy became polarised to such an extent that former environment minister Jacqueline Cramer decided to take action. In March this year she asked national environment watchdog Planbureau voor de Leefomgeving (PBL) to investigate.
The climate sceptics’ harsh words made for an uneasy atmosphere yesterday. Nrc’s science journalist Karel Knip who also appeared before the committee said the climate sceptics and their weblogs have completely destroyed the debate. ‘Personal attacks are the norm and it has ruined the whole discussion. The atmosphere has been so bad that even I have been tempted to have a go at someone’, said unlikely hooligan Knip.
Some committee members were also visibly annoyed. Labour MP Diederik Samson ejected a heated ‘You do not convince me one bit!’when TU Delft’s professor Salomon Kroonenberg again cited the sun and cosmic rays as the main culprits for warming up the planet.
The climate scientists who think climate change is a man made problem were much less vehement. PBL which is expected to present its findings at the end of May even apologised for one of the IPCC’s inaccuracies concerning the consequences of sea level rise in the Netherlands. ‘Those data came from us’, they admitted.
Yesterday’s meeting didn’t provide any answers let alone a solution to the climate problem. Opinion is too divided, especially on the role of the sun’s rays. Just how closely scientists and policy makers should work together is another moot point- not as closely as they currently are at the IPCC say some. It could lead to scientists feeling pressured and likely to exaggerate results. The only thing both camps agreed upon was the fact that evaporation leads to the acceleration of the earth’s temperatures.