Archive for August, 2010

Bjørn Lomborg – I’m still here!

August 31, 2010

It sounds like Bjørn Lomborg is doing a bit of a U-turn in today’s Guardian.

He was always a bit of a favourite with the “skeptics” by saying that there was little economic argument to act on climate change. And that it was a bit of an obsession with middle class people in developed nations. Well, it gets you thinking at the very least. However, he is not without his critics – The Lomborg Deception, for example, aimed to take apart some of his arguments.

So, I was pretty surprised to see that Lomborg seems to have changed his mind.

Then it struck me that maybe its not so strange.

10 years ago, I guess a great way to get people to listen to you would have been to say that acting on climate change was a waste of time. That’s what Lomborg did and he was certainly listened to.

Right now, given all the media puff about climate science all being a scam, it seems that the best way to get publicity is to come out say that climate change is “a challenge humanity must confront”.

What to make of all this?

Well, it seems that Lomborg is a pretty decent self-publicist even if he’s not convinced by his old arguments anymore.

I can’t help feeling that the last 10 years have been wasted (from the point of view of engaging policy makers and the public with the implications of climate change) and that Lomborg played quite a big part in that.

Update: there’s another interesting column in today’s Guardian responding to Lomborg’s new position. Asking some interesting questions.

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Red sky in the morning…

August 19, 2010

I took an unscheduled stop on my cycle in to work this morning to take some photos of the amazing altocumulus that was over my patch of West London. Here’s a quick snap:

And here’s another looking straight up, it was lovely and fuzzy:

Anyway, it got me thinking about the old saying “Red sky in the morning, sailors take warning. Red at night, sailor’s delight.” This relates to the Norwegian model of fronts, which is summarised by this figure below:

So the saying kind of works because, if you see some altocumulus then it is quite likely to be at the leading end of a warm front. This means that some bad weather may be on its way. Sure enough, here’s the current Met Office forecast (though I doubt that this was constructed by looking up at the clouds!):

The other question that comes up here is: why is the altocumulus red? The quick answer is that its at about the right height to pick out the red light that is scattered from the sunlight that is travelling through the atmosphere at a particular angle in the mornings and the evenings but see here for a more complete discussion.