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Leaked IPCC report doesn't let us off da hook

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Can we all stop worrying about global warming? According to a recent rash of stories in the media, the "climate sensitivity" – the extent to which temperatures respond to more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere – is lower than expected, and thus that the world won't get as hot as predicted. One story, in The Economist, based on leaked information from a draft of the next assessment by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, claims the IPCC will revise its sensitivity estimate downwards when they release their official report this September.

The sceptics have mounted a concerted campaign to persuade journalists and politicians that climate scientists now think that climate sensitivity is lower, says Bob Ward of the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, London. But is there any truth to the claims?

Climate sensitivity refers to how much the world will warm if carbon dioxide levels double. But this apparently simple concept is slippier than a Turkish wrestler. As the planet warms in response to rising CO2 levels, a whole series of feedbacks kick in over the following decades, centuries or millennia.

Depending on which feedbacks are included and what the timescale is, there are many competing ways of defining sensitivity. To add to the confusion, there are also dozens of ways of calculating it.

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In other words, noone knows what will happen in the future. Oh well, we'd better tax CO2 anyway

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In other words, noone knows what will happen in the future. Oh well, we'd better tax CO2 anyway

Why do I get the feeling that you have not read the article and are just harping on your preconceptions?

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