On Sunday December 6, 2009 I gave the following presentation
Pielke Sr., R.A. 2009: Concerns On The IPCC Report: The Actual State Of Climate Science. Conference with Respect to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 15), Copenhagen, Denmark, 6 December 2009
at a meeting in Copenhagen organized by the Danish People’s Party to the European Parliment [which was convened by Morten Messerschmidt who is a Member of the European Parliment; his goal was to provide a forum to present alternate viewpoints to that of the IPCC; I appreciate his leadership in this much needed venue!]. The speakers at this meeting were mostly supporters of the first hypothesis in our EOS article
Pielke Sr., R., K. Beven, G. Brasseur, J. Calvert, M. Chahine, R. Dickerson, D. Entekhabi, E. Foufoula-Georgiou, H. Gupta, V. Gupta, W. Krajewski, E. Philip Krider, W. K.M. Lau, J. McDonnell, W. Rossow, J. Schaake, J. Smith, S. Sorooshian, and E. Wood, 2009: Climate change: The need to consider human forcings besides greenhouse gases. Eos, Vol. 90, No. 45, 10 November 2009, 413. Copyright (2009) American Geophysical Union
“Human influence on climate variability and change is of minimal importance, and natural causes dominate climate variations and changes on all time scales. In coming decades, the human influence will continue to be minimal.”
I was the only speaker who supported the hypothesis
“Although the natural causes of climate variations and changes are undoubtedly important, the human influences are significant and involve a diverse range of first- order climate forcings, including, but not limited to, the human input of carbon dioxide (CO2). Most, if not all, of these human influences on regional and global climate will continue to be of concern during the coming decades.”
There were no speakers who presented the IPCC view (since the organizers wanted alternative viewpoints), although I had recommended that speakers be invited to present and debate this viewpoint.
I have a few comments on the talks and a recommendation to the climate skeptics.
First, there were several informative talks including one by Henrik Svendsmark on the role of the Sun in the climate system. The talk and data presented by Leighton Seward on the effect on vegetation by added CO2 was quite informative. From a science perspective, I benefited by the new information I learned.
However, this was basically a skeptics meeting, and I was the exception since, while I find major fault with the IPCC’s narrow focus on CO2, I do accept that human activity is significantly affecting the climate system, and that added CO2 (among a diverse set of other climate forcings) is significant.
What I find puzzling in the conclusions of the skeptics is that, even though the evidence for a human signature on the climate at local and regional scale is irrefutable, they do not reject the first hypothesis listed above.
If there is any debate, it is the extent these human climate forcings alter hemispheric scale circulation patterns. The importance of the long-range transport of the aerosols input into the atmosphere through human activity (e.g. industrial emssions, biomas burning) is certainly very clear.
Thus, I do not see how anyone cannot accept that the first hypothesis listed above is rejected [for the same reason, of course, I cannot understand, why it is not clear to everyone that the IPCC and Copenhagen focus primarily on CO2 is based on a refuted hypothesis].
I suggest, that if the skeptics would recognize that the first hypothesis has been rejected and accept the second hypothesis, they would have greater visibility and effectiveness in the discussion of the science.
All of the presentations and discussions were video taped, and I will announce on my weblog when they are available.