Been wondering about the veracity of climate science lately? Probably not if you’re here at the Sign On website reading this blog. But just incase the sceptics have had their wicked way with you, be it just for one moment or disingenuous soundbite, it’s worth reassuring you that your conviction over anthropogenic climate change remains regrettably well-founded.

In this article in the Guardian, Jeffrey Sachs – American economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University - argues that the sceptics’ latest flurry is same old same old; nothing we haven’t seen before. The usual suspects, bank-rolled by the usual oil.

The fact is that the critics — who are few in number but aggressive in their attacks — are deploying tactics that they have honed for more than 25 years… Today's campaigners against action on climate change are in many cases backed by the same lobbies, individuals, and organisations that sided with the tobacco industry to discredit the science linking smoking and lung cancer,” says Sachs.

The sceptics’ current resurgence is part of a (if you’re excuse the pun), well-oiled, finely timed and carefully executed campaign.

Regardless of its transparency, this latest push has provided the perfect excuse for some New Zealanders to stick their heads back in the sand, and for the National Government to pull back on already paltry climate policy. As more advanced thinkers - those accepting the environmental and economic realities of the 21st century for instance - point out, if New Zealand slips any further backwards on climate, it will be to our detriment.  Sign On ambassador and successful businessman Geoff Ross is a vocal proponent of safeguarding our clean, green brand, rather than consigning it to the historical dustbin.  In other words, even if you hypothetically ignore all the science, there are many other reasons to go for a more sustainable future. One, because it’s sustainable. Two, because it’s the way the world is heading and it wouldn’t pay to get left behind.

But let’s not ignore the science. Because it stacks up, same as it always has. Not one of the recent so–called climate scandals (be it the hacked emails or the IPCC cock-ups), alters the basic science of man-made climate change. editor James Murray spells it out in this piece:

“We’re talking about a handful of errors, versus a canon of work. We’re talking about one-off data points compared to underlying, undisputable climatic trends....We know that greenhouse gases trap heat. Again, this is an observable reality – if you have some baking soda, a couple of plastic bottles and a thermometer, you can do the experiment yourself. There has not been a single peer-reviewed scientific paper in recent history that challenges the underlying hypothesis that the increase in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from man's activity is far and away the most likely cause of rising global temperatures."

It’s worth noting that the errors made by the IPCC in its fourth assessment report were not contained in the main climate science section (written by climate scientists in the main “Working Group 1”). In other words, they do not pertain to the basic climate science which says that the world is warming and man is causing it. New Zealand’s most vocal right-wing commentators consistently fail to make this distinction.

If anything, a legitimate criticism of the climate science in the main IPCC Working group 1 report is that it is too conservative. In some areas the science has moved on since the 2007 IPCC report was published. An example is the ice loss occurring in the Arctic and Antarctica regions that is exceeding that predicted in the 2007 IPCC report. The tipping points associated with methane greenhouse gas releases from thawing Siberian permafrost and the Arctic seabed may be closer than we thought.

These are facts that make taking urgent action essential.

For more on this topic, here is good.