Peer Repeatedly Asks Why Government Believes in Global Warming, Always Gets Same Answer: Because, Science

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It’s not just a broken record, it’s a broken record that has been glued back together and put on an increasingly wonky turntable.

DeSmog UK previously revealed how climate science denying Lord Donoughue had been wasting ministers’ time and taxpayers’ money by spamming the government with 25 questions over 15 months about obscure climate models.

And he’s at it again.

Over the past five months he has asked Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) ministers four times why they are confident saying the climate is warming. In each case, he’s been pointed back to the mass of scientific research that shows it is.

Donoughue’s questions are not a surprise. He sits on the board of trustees of former chancellor Nigel Lawson’s climate science denying think tank, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF).

The gist of Donoughue’s questions is that he wants to know why the government is so sure global temperature rises are not down to natural variability – a well-trodden climate science denialist path.

Ministers have pointed out that if he looks at the most cutting-edge climate science, such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report (AR5), he will see that “it is virtually certain (>99% probability) that natural internal variability alone cannot account for the observed increase in global surface temperatures”.

Another GWPF associate, Peter Lilley MP, was given a similar response recently when he asked about snow and ice decline.

Donoughue’s recent questions come around the same time that the GWPF released a new report, speculating that contemporary global temperatures are in line with natural variation.

The report claimed to be the first to be based on “observations only”, thereby excluding lots of sophisticated climate modelling.

The report was quickly dismissed by scientists, not least because many other mainstream scientific institutions also regularly release reports based on observations, while coming to  a very different conclusion – that recent warming trends are very much outside the realms of natural variability.

UK Met Office climate scientist Mark McCarthy helpfully provided the GWPF with links to a few such reports:

The author of the GWPF report, Ole Humlum, is a geologist on the fringes of climate science. Back in 2011, Humlum wrongly predicted that northern Europe and the “European part of the Arctic” would experience “some cooling for the coming 5-7 years”.

Dr Humlum did not respond to DeSmog UK’s repeated requests for comment, asking whether the GWPF report had been peer-reviewed, and whether he had received any payment for the work.

Updated 03/04/2017: The spelling of Lord Donoughue’s name was corrected in paragraph nine.

Main image credit: Mat Hope CC BYSA

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Mat was DeSmog's Special Projects and Investigations Editor, and Operations Director of DeSmog UK Ltd. He was DeSmog UK’s Editor from October 2017 to March 2021, having previously been an editor at Nature Climate Change and analyst at Carbon Brief.

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