| 12.1°C Dublin

.. and what the scientist thinks:

O'Leary: The climate has been changing since time immemorial. Do I believe there is global warming? No, it's all a load of bullshit.

Dr Emily Shuckburgh, of the British Antarctic Survey: Over tens of thousands of years, the orbit of the Earth about the Sun slowly varies, and with it the amount of solar radiation that reaches the Earth's surface. When the orbit is such that radiation dips low enough, it triggers an ice age. Since the Earth has not jumped into a different orbit in the past century, a different mechanism must explain the increase in global temperatures.

O'Leary: It used to be global warming but now, when global temperatures haven't risen in the past 12 years, they say 'climate change'.

Dr Shuckburgh: It is wrong to say global warming has stopped. The weather changes day to day, and even when the temperature is averaged globally over a full year, there are still big variations from year to year. When this is taken into account, no reduction is found in the global warming trend of 0.15-0.20C per decade.

O'Leary: There's absolutely no link between man-made carbon -- which contributes less than two per cent of carbon emissions, most of it is naturally emitted -- [and] climate change.

Dr Shuckburgh: Vast amounts of carbon are exchanged each year back and forth between the land, oceans and atmosphere -- some 200 GtC/yr [GigaTons of Carbon per year] are naturally emitted and 200 GtC/yr are naturally reabsorbed. Man is now emitting more than 8GtC/yr, about half of which remains in the atmosphere. The impact has been significant.

O'Leary: The same [scientific] community was telling us in the mid-1970s the world was heading into a new ice age. It is absolutely bizarre that the people who can't tell us what the weather is next Tuesday can predict with absolute precision what the global temperatures will be in 100 years' time.

Dr Shuckburgh: It is not possible to predict with precision the weather in 100 years. But we can characterise the climate trend that underlies the chaotic weather.

O'Leary: The IPCC [Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change] is a load of utter tosh.

Dr Shuckburgh: Errors in the IPCC's fourth assessment report were identified and acknowledged, and the fundamental findings of the report were unaltered.

O'Leary: "This inexorable rise of man-made CO2 emissions is based on 7pc growth into infinity. That's already been torn up in the last two years. We've had a worldwide decline."

Dr Shuckburgh: Emissions do not have to rise inexorably for there to be climate change. If we stopped all emissions now, temperature would still rise for years.