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The climate change challenge

Professor Alan Thorpe, Chief Executive of the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), has thrown down the gauntlet and challenged climate sceptics to debate their views on climate change.

The recent Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change highlights the importance of climate change science – not only physical and biological science but also engineering, economics and social science – in the assessment of the economic impacts. As well as mitigating the causes of change, research shows that people need to adapt and learn to live with environmental changes. But many people still refuse to accept that the science is sufficiently robust to allow decisions to be taken about the biggest challenge facing our planet.

Professor Thorpe said, “In light of the scientific evidence, summarised in the Stern Review, it is hard to understand how people can make statements like ‘climate change is all down to variations in the sun’s radiation’; or ‘we really don’t know what is going to happen.’ I am willing, on behalf of NERC, to accept the challenge of a public debate with sceptics to try to correct misinformation with actual scientific knowledge.”

NERC has set up an online discussion forum where all comers can air their views. Log on to and follow the links. The forum will be open until 31 January 2007.

Professor Thorpe added, “If you don't believe the science then please tell us why, or if you are confused about it then ask a question. In either case we will respond. Come and join the debate!”

Professor Thorpe and his team of experts will provide the scientists' response to all climate–related comments or questions posted on the website.

Marion O'Sullivan | alfa
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