Flat denials

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As THE first decade of this century was the hottest on record, one may be cynical about Professor Anthony Trewavas’s assertion that we are presently experiencing a 15-year “stasis” in warming (Letters, 9 and 5 August). The cynicism grows when one realises that 15 years ago (1998) was an exceptional El Niño year.

It is surprising he says there have been previous periods of “stasis” but overlooks the fact that every time, after the pause, warming resumed. It is inexcusable he should pick an outlier like 1998 as the starting point for his current alleged “stasis”.

The professor is cherry-picking a short section of graph that suits him, and ignoring the long-term trend, which is one of warming.

“Time will tell” he says, dismissively. To most climate scientists, it already has, but by the time it does to the satisfaction of the deniers it will be too late.

(Dr) Stephen Moreton

Great Sankey

Warrington, Cheshire

How revealing a single word can be. John Milne (Letters, 9 August) rests his confidence of human caused “extremely dangerous global warming” on what he calls “respectable” scientific evidence. 

The history of science is replete with examples where science has been taken forward by those who have been marginalised by the established scientific community. Science is science and choosing who you wish to believe to be “respectable” is an argument from authority rather than real evidence.

In the case of global warming, I confess I have no idea what the temperature will be in the future. But there is evidence the so-called settled science Mr Milne puts his faith in is far from settled.

Predictions of the inexorable rise in global mean temperatures have been all but falsified by the plateau in temperatures lasting now for 15-17 years – despite a steady increase in carbon dioxide emissions.

Secondly, estimates of climate sensitivity – the amount of warming we can expect with a doubling of carbon dioxide – have declined significantly in the past few of years.

Nonetheless, I share Mr Milne’s concerns about current energy strategies.

(Cllr) Cameron Rose

City Chambers

Edinburgh