Is good news actually news at all?
Oct 12, 2015
Bishop Hill in Climate: WG3, GWPF

Over the weekend there was a minor kerfuffle when the Sunday Times' Jonathan Leake breached the embargo on a press release about the latest GWPF report. Ho hum.

The report itself is by Indur Goklany and is about the benefits of higher carbon dioxide levels - increased crop yields and a general greening of the planet being the principal ones. Richard Betts has been taking a look and has come up with some interesting and some not so interesting points.

For example, he reckons that Goklany is inconsistent, accepting climate model predictions of a reduced threat from water shortages but pointing to the failures of climate models in general. This doesn't seem an unreasonable point to make, although neither do I think it unreasonable of Goklany to point out that even the models, flawed though they may be, are predicting benefits from global warming.

Richard also notes that the IPCC discusses carbon dioxide fertilisation in its reports and reckons Goklany's contribution is therefore not newsworthy.


CO2 fertilization is already considered in IPCC reports #notnews

— Richard Betts (@richardabetts) October 11, 2015


This is true, but I'm not sure that represents a criticism of Goklany's report. I'm struggling to recall an occasion on which the IPCC has proclaimed the benefits of higher carbon dioxide levels to the general public, so the new report represents a valuable contribution to the public debate, filling in the bits the IPCC didn't want to discuss in public.

I hope Richard welcomes the public gaining a deeper understanding of climate science, both the bad news and the good news.

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