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Scientific case for global warming goes back two centuries – Financial Times

It is deeply disheartening to see the Financial Times publish a letter (April 27) that so blatantly misrepresents climate science, and which also suggests that the writer has not actually read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports he criticises.

Hereward Corley claims that the “climate emergency” is entirely computer generated. This is entirely false. The scientific case for global warming rests on observations going back to John Tyndall’s work in the 1860s that identified the role of trace components of the atmosphere (primarily water vapour and carbon dioxide) in controlling the temperature of the planet. In the almost two centuries since, vast amounts of observational data on temperature, phenology, ice, sea levels and so on all point to the same conclusion: that human activity is causing our climate to change.

Similarly, information from ice cores, tree rings and other proxies tell us how our climate has changed in the past and further strengthens our understanding of what causes such changes and what we might expect if we continue to emit greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.

Just as in all the other sciences, computational studies (“models”) do also play a crucial role in developing our understanding and projecting what can happen in the future. The scientific evidence today strongly suggests that failing to substantially reduce our emissions is likely to have disastrous systemic consequences for our economies and our ecosystems. We are imperfectly adapted to the unusually stable climate system we inherited and are highly vulnerable to the one we are provoking.

Prof Andrea Sella
UCL

Kees van der Leun
@Sustainability2050

Prof Mark Maslin
UCL

Prof Ed Hawkins
University of Reading

Prof Ken Rice
University of Edinburgh

Prof Mark Brandon
The Open University

Prof Chris Rapley
UCL

Dr Ruth Mottram
Danish Meteorological Institute

Dr Helen Czerski
UCL

Dr Philip Ball
London

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