Neil Eisberg/London, UK
UK reports of global warming are greatly exaggerated, say members of the Scientific Alliance, a non-profit organisation for scientists and non-scientists who say they are committed to rational discussion and debate on the challenges facing the environment.
The quality of climatic computer modelling is questionable, they argued at a meeting held at the Royal Institution in London, UK, and there is a tendency to 'follow the funding' aimed at proving that global warming exists.
There is a view that 'all we have to do to reduce global warming is to reduce the carbon dioxide (CO2) released,' said TV presenter David Bellamy, professor of botany at the University of Nottingham. 'But the data doesn't support this.'
Richard Lindzen, professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, US, notes that profound climatic change has occurred frequently in the past. Global mean surface temperature is always changing, he insists, and the impact of CO2 is non-linear. 'Each unit added has less impact than its predecessor - the effect is logarithmic,' he said.
But support for the argument for global warming does not mean support for alarm, added Lindzen. 'Alarm is essential to the maintenance of funding.' Alarming claims obscure the fact that numbers are smaller than predicted.
Lindzen says that, if the models were correct, the increased levels of CO2 due to man's activities should have produced an increase six times higher than the 0.76°C increase observed. Fred Singer, founder and president of a non-profit policy research group, the Science & Environmental Policy Project, also dismissed claims of extreme weather being the result of global warming, describing the forecast of an 11°C increase in global temperature reported in Nature as 'nonsensical' and an exercise in 'curve-fitting'.
Sea levels have been rising for around 18 000 years, amounting to around 120m in total, says Singer. Following an initial large increase, the increase has been steady at around 20cm per century, with no acceleration in recent years - a view echoed by Nils-Axel Morner, head of the Paleogeophysics & Geodynamics Department at Stockholm University, Sweden.
Morner leads an international sea level project in the Maldives, the islands in the Indian Ocean doomed, alarmists say, to disappear due to increasing sea levels. Sea levels in the Maldives have increased by only 1.1mm/year since 1800 and actually fell by 20-30cm in 1970-75, remaining relatively constant since, says Morner. He criticised modellers' selective use of observed data to 'create' a rise.