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Last Updated: Thursday, 27 January, 2005, 11:04 GMT
Science sceptics meet on climate
By Duncan Bain

Snow in Afghanistan   AP
Sceptics say the weather is not changing dramatically
A conference to question whether global warming will have a catastrophic effect is being held in London on 27 January.

It is being organised by the Scientific Alliance, which says its purpose is to bring together scientists and others to discuss environmental challenges.

One speaker is Richard Lindzen, who is professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Most climate scientists insist, despite the Alliance, that human activity and climate change are directly linked.

The greenhouse warming from increased gas emissions is, as far as we can tell, insignificant
Professor Fred Singer
The meeting takes place shortly before the Hadley Centre, part of the UK Met Office, hosts a conference on the science of climate change, from 1 to 3 February.

The Scientific Alliance hopes to address issues it fears will not be addressed by the Hadley Centre participants.

Dr Benny Peiser, one of the speakers at the London meeting, told the BBC: "We are concerned the Hadley Centre conference will ignore key questions, particularly regarding the alarmist nature of future predictions.

"It's important for people to know there are eminent scientists who don't share this viewpoint."

'Inflated' threat

Results from one of the largest climate prediction projects ever run, which were published on Thursday in the journal Nature, suggest temperatures around the world could rise by as much as 11C.

Previous predictions by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change suggested that global average temperatures would increase this century by 1.5-5.5C, with sea levels rising by anywhere from 9 to 88 cm.

Another speaker at the London conference is Professor Fred Singer, a former director of the US Weather Satellite Service.

Australian drought scene   BBC
Drought is not linked to greenhouse gas emissions, speakers say
Asked whether global warming posed a threat, he told the BBC: "It's certainly not a cause for alarm. The greenhouse warming from increased gas emissions is, as far as we can tell, insignificant.

"It's unlikely to be appreciable even a century from now, and we can easily adapt to it.

"The IPCC's predictions are based entirely on models, not observations. You must either improve the models or prove the observations are wrong."

The International Climate Change Taskforce said in a report this week the world might have little more than 10 years to avert catastrophic climate change.

One of its co-chairs, the British MP Stephen Byers, said: "Our planet is at risk. With climate change, there is an ecological time-bomb ticking away, and people are becoming increasingly concerned by the changes and extreme weather events they are already seeing."

Most climate scientists, inside the IPCC and outside it, are ready to acknowledge that they still do not know nearly enough about some key aspects of climate change.

But most would say their data is improving, and is already robust enough to show human activities are causing dangerous interference with natural systems.

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