A major British scientific group has published a booklet designed to give people advice in how to tackle climate change sceptics, or “ill-informed pub bores or the family know it all” as they call them.
The booklet, by the Royal Society, features 20 short questions and answers with what they describe as the most common assertions made by people who question whether the climate is indeed warming and if the changes are brought on by human activity.
Questions include how scientists ‘know’ that recent climate change is caused by internal combustion engines and power stations rather than events such as volcanoes or naturally occurring cycles.
And it helps environmentalists who are big on the rhetoric but low on the facts look full of knowledge with answers to queries such as “why Arctic sea ice is melting but Antarctic ice is not” and whether the slowdown in warming means that climate change is no longer happening.
The president of the Royal Society, Paul Nurse, defended the booklet which has been described as “propaganda” by opponents of the man made climate change camp.
“Most people in the UK grasp the basics of climate science and the need to take sensible actions about global warming,” he said.
“However we all know someone who claims to know better than the vast majority of expert climate scientists around the world, the ill-informed pub bore or the family know-it-all who claims, with great confidence, either that global warming is not a problem or at the other end of the spectrum that extreme catastrophe is just around the corner.”
But he may not be so confident of his success after hearing the views of one local pub in an interview on the BBC’s Today programme.
A group of regulars from The Boar’s Head Inn, in East Sussex were not singing the praises of the booklet and even dismissed the ‘facts’ featured in it, saying that any publication would have “a slant”.
“People are getting paid to produce these reports and dependent on who is paying the bill will depend on the slant” regular Ian said, pointing out that “they must be getting the money from somewhere.”
And it seemed the ‘pub bore’ was more in tune with science than the environmentalist when it came to answering questions, with Frank, the climate change enthusiast, getting the figures on world temperature increases wrong by a factor of over a hundred. “You’re way out!” his drinking partner said, gleefully.
“Do people think that the climate will continue to warm, as the Royal Society are ‘very confident’ it will?”
“No, definitely not” came the reply. “It hasn’t happened over the last hundred years, why should it alter that much over the next hundred?”