02 November 2009

The Narrow Defintion of Climate Change

Today's FT has an editorial on climate change. The editorial states:
A common mistake is to try to draw a clear distinction between “man-made” and “natural” change.
Apparently the FT does not recognize that this distinction is not a product of the nefarious "skeptics" as they allege, but instead is build into the fabric of the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC). In 2005 I wrote about the consequences of having inconsistent political (FCCC) and scientific (IPCC) definitions of "climate change":
The restricted definition of ‘‘climate change’’ used by the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) has profoundly affected the science, politics, and policy processes associated with the international response to the climate issue. Specifically, the FCCC definition has contributed to the gridlock and ineffectiveness of the global response to the challenge of climate change.

Pielke, Jr., R.A., 2005. Misdefining ‘‘climate change’’: consequences for science and action, Environmental Science & Policy, Vol. 8, pp. 548-561.

and a shorter essay is here:

Pielke, Jr., R. A., 2004. What is Climate Change?, Issues in Science and Technology, Summer, 1-4.
The FT editorial says that we must "follow the science on climate change" -- whatever that phrase means in practice, it probably does not mean inventing political expedient definitions of climate change that are at odds with that used by the scientific community.