Experts call for widening the debate on climate change

September 25, 2014 by Kath Paddison, University of Manchester

Environmental scientists are being urged to broaden the advice they give on global climate change, say experts who are also frustrated that decision makers are not taking enough action.

Writing in the journal Nature Climate Change, The University of Manchester researchers argue that scientists are expressing a strong desire to fix the problems highlighted by their studies into human-induced .

The authors suggest there are problems with offering practical solutions that can help societies adapt to a fast-changing Earth - one where climatic zones will shift and sea levels will rise significantly.

Professor Noel Castree, the lead author of the paper, said: "We are grateful that environmental scientists alert us to the impact that people are having on our planet like shifting climatic zones and rising sea levels.

"But knowing how to respond to these impacts requires a broader skill-set than natural science alone provides. It requires honest recognition of, and mature discussion about, the different values that can guide humans towards a different, better future."

Today, say the authors, few people doubt that man-made climate change is real. And few of us doubt that climate scientists lack integrity. The problem, they believe, is the lack of action on the part of and the societies they represent.

Castree, a professor of Geography, and co-author Dan Brockington, a professor of Conservation and Development, ask whether climate change scientists risk over-stepping the mark and trying to shape the political agenda while pretending to remain non-political.

They argue that the scientists often view the world as presenting problems that, like mechanics, they believe they can fix. They say that recent scientific discussions about 'geoengineering' technologies reflect this view.

"Global environmental change raises profound questions - such as whether humans lack humility and wisdom," said Castree. "But we are concerned that environmental scientists risk using their authority to convince others that future Earth surface change is no more than a fiendishly complicated alteration to fairly well understood physical systems."

Castree said: "What is needed is a deeper appreciation that such change will cause fundamental disagreements about responsibilities, rights and duties - among humans and towards nature. We think social scientists and humanists could significantly enrich public debates about how to respond to environmental change."

Explore further: Managing coasts under threat from climate change and sea-level rise

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not rated yet Sep 25, 2014
The fundamental problem is that we, as humans, have done such a poor job at managing the environment already: our past performances have typically been horrible. For example Yellowstone park, ozone, DDT, climate change, just to name a few.

I feel there is a huge gap between what we think we know and that which we don't know. As a result I fear any attempts at geo-engineering would likely be rife with unintended consequences which could lead to disastrous results.

Generally speaking we, as humans 'lack humility and wisdom'. We're really not all that adept at simple reasoning either.
1 / 5 (3) Sep 26, 2014
I am surprised by the call for 'Debate' since every time someone tries to debate climate warming they get shot down as ignorant idiots. I don't think the Church of Global Warming actually wants a debate but rather they would rather be worshiped like the Pope during the times of religious persecution...
1 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2014
Much opinion is based on GCMs which have been demonstrated to be faulty by their failure to predict the flat average global temperatures since before 2001. Especially egregious is the failure to use, or even acknowledge, the science of thermalization of absorbed radiation which explains why non-condensing ghg changes have no significant effect on climate change. A discussion of this and some other mistakes is at .

A physics-based equation, with only two drivers (both natural) as independent variables, explains measured average global temperatures since before 1900 with 95% correlation, calculates credible values back to 1610, and predicts through 2037. The current trend is down.

The drivers, method, equation, data sources, history (hind cast to 1610) and predictions (to 2037) are at

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