Interesting things pop up online

Who knew that in the Bay of Plenty there was someone who was involved in climate change well before we all heard about it?

John Maunder blogs on weather and climate-related matters for Sunlive and has written about a meeting that took place three years before the IPCC was formed.  Quote.

Among the many climate science meetings I have attended, the most significant, at least in term of climate change is concerned, is my involvement in the UN sponsored International Conference held in the beautiful town Villach, in Austria in October 1985.

One hundred experts from 30 countries attended the meeting (in contrast to ten to twenty thousand who now attend such meetings), [0ver 30,000 at COP24 this month] and I was privileged to be the only New Zealander invited. We were all there as experts – and not representing our respective organisations – in various fields of science, endeavouring to do the best we could in looking at the complexities of climate science.

Among the principal findings of this conference was that “while other factors, such as aerosol concentration, changes in solar energy input, and changes in vegetation, may also influence climate, the greenhouse gases are likely to be the most important cause of climate change over the next century”.

At that time, even though I was partly responsible for the writing of the above paragraph, I along with a few of my colleagues, had some misgivings about this phrase, and were somewhat surprised that within a year ‘human-induced global warming’ caught the imagination of much of the world. Indeed today, not a day goes by without some mention of ‘global warming’, climate change, emission trading schemes, etc, all terms which up until 1980 were the preserve of academic text books.

Despite this concern, a colleague of mine from Australia, Bill Kininmonth, who in 2004 wrote a book called “Climate Change – A Natural Hazard” has mentioned to me on several occasions that I have changed from being the ‘gamekeeper’ and become the ‘poacher’. Whether that is true is a matter of opinion. However, irrespective of my personal views on the matter, it is clear that there are two main views held by climate scientists and others on the subject of global warming and climate change.

First, those who are mainly involved in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and many or most government scientists, plus others, such as Al Gore, and many politicians and most journalists who consider that man, including domestic animals, is the prime cause of recent changes in the climate;

Second, those – in the main some university scientists, many retired climatologists, and a minority of politicians and journalists, who consider that nature is the main cause of changes in the climate.

Twenty years ago, it was unconceivable [sic] that the New Zealand Government would have a Minister of Climate Change; indeed back then, as weather forecasters and climatologists we just got on with our job of making the best possible weather forecast and providing the best climate advice to all those who requested information, without guidance or interference from the Government of the day. How things have changed! End quote.

Dr John Maunder, President of the Commission for Climatology of the World Meteorological Organization from 1989 to 1997, who over the last 55 years has been involved in the “weather business” in various countries, including New Zealand, Australia, Canada, US, Ireland, Switzerland, and the UK , through activities in national weather services, universities and international organizations, and publications including four books : “The Value of the Weather” (1970), “The Uncertainty Business – Risks and Opportunities in Weather and Climate” (1986), “The Human Impact of Climate Uncertainty – Weather Information, Economic Planning, and Business Management ” (1989), and the “Dictionary of Global Climate Change” (1994).


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