I would like to take issue with Cllr Edmunds comment (March 8th) that “even top level climate scientist Prof Jones … concedes that there has been no global warming for 15 years”. Prof Jones never said that. What he did say, however, in a BBC interview at the time of the ‘Climategate’ furore, when asked directly “Do you agree that from 1995 – 2009 there has been no statistically significant global warming?” his reply was “Yes”.
This comment has since led to widespread misinterpretation and has been eagerly and deliberately misused by climate skeptics.
This issue is simply understood if one knows that, for the climate scientists like Prof Jones, statistical significance conventionally uses the 95 per cent threshold level (“Very High Confidence”)– which in turn requires a minimum data set in this case a minimum number of years.
By adding the data for 2010, Prof Jones was now reported by the BBC on April 10, 2011, as saying that there was statistical significance for global warming 1995-2010.
For politicians, local and national, using their influence to vote on policies relating to the vitally important measures for urgent climate adaptation and mitigation does require their far greater understanding of scientific methodology which I fear is seriously lacking.
May I suggest as a primer that Cllr Edmunds reads the guidance paper by Moss & Schneider presented to the IPCC in the Third Assessment Report (2000) on communicating uncertainty in climate change by scientists to the non-specialist public.