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Camden New Journal - LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Published: 19 July 2007
Climate change myths

• THE CNJ must have some of the best book reviews of any free newspaper anywhere.

It is therefore a pity that the book The Upside of Down by Thomas Homere-Dixon, dealing with climate change, was reviewed (July 5) by a man with such eccentric and maverick views on the subject as Piers Corbyn.
Mr Corbyn, a one-time astrophysicist, with no qualifications in climate or meteorology, is a well-known “global warming denier”.
He is director of his own weather forecasting company, Weather Action, which uses his own unique methods of long-range forecasting based on predictions of solar activity. His methods are regarded as wrong and scientifically baseless by respected meteorologists and climate experts. His comments on the book need to be seen in this light. The facts on this subject are as follows. Global temperatures are now at their highest for 1,200 years, and are still on a rising trend.  (Corbyn’s claim that global temperatures peaked in 1998 is false according to NASA data: 2005 was equally hot.)
The concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is at its highest for 650,000 years, at 360 parts per million. The scientific consensus is that, though the output of the Sun does vary, and these variations do affect our climate, the record temperatures cannot be explained in this way.
They are explained by the greenhouse effect of the high levels of carbon dioxide, caused in part by human activity, trapping more infra-red radiation, and warming the world. The effects of these higher temperatures into the future are not totally predictable, but it is thought they will lead to a rise in sea-levels, and increase in severe weather events like Hurricane Katrina, which destroyed much of New Orleans.
Yes, much of the blame for the scale of the destruction there can be laid on the failure to build adequate defences, as Mr Corbyn says, but he quotes misleading statistics on Atlantic hurricane frequency in order to support his case against global warming, by referring to the very small data set of landfalling hurricanes, rather than to the hurricane total.
It is worrying when the media (as in the recent Channel 4 programme The Great Global Warming Swindle, in which Mr Corbyn took a prominent part) seek to try to give the impression to the public that there is widespread scientific doubt about the facts behind climate change.
There will always be mavericks like Corbyn, as much as there will always be flat-Earthers and believers in UFOs. But the public should be clear as to what science says on this subject, since it has such major implications for how we live our lives.
Stag Lane
Edgware, HA8

Send your letters to: The Letters Editor, Camden New Journal, 40 Camden Road, London, NW1 9DR or email to The deadline for letters is midday Tuesday. The editor regrets that anonymous letters cannot be published, although names and addresses can be withheld. Please include a full name, postal address and telephone number. Letters may be edited for reasons of space.

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