NZ Herald: 10 big questions on climate change answered

Weather analyst for the NZ Herald Philip Duncan poses 10 of  climate change’s big questions to Dr James Renwick, Principal Scientist, Climate Variability & Change at NIWA.

Questions include why it doesn’t feel like it’s getting hotter every year (in addition to the recent cold snaps in Europe and North America), why weather forecasters can’t make predictions of the weather looking forward two weeks but climate forecasters look forward by decades,  and what climate scientists really think.

An excerpt: (read in full here)

8)Are scientists scared to speak out about what they really believe for fear of being alarmist or not “going with the consensus”?

“Well no (laughing)…no not at all. Scientists are in the business they’re in because they want to find out what’s actually happening with the natural world. I don’t know one scientist who is scared to speak out about what they believe…and believe is an interesting word. Science is about observing the natural world and building understanding on those observations, it’s not about belief. Scientists publish their results openly, there’s no fear of speaking out at all. Going with the “consensus” is an illusion too. For instance, the IPCC is a review process – it summarises what thousands of scientists all over the world have observed, or modelled, or deduced – it doesn’t dictate to them, just summarises. It turns out 99.9 per cent of work reported does indeed form a consensus… that’s a reflection of how things are, of what the real world looks like – it’s a very clear picture.”