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Dispatch from Durban: COP17

By news editor, on 7 December 2011

Professor Hugh Montgomery (UCL Institute for Human Health & Performance) reports from COP17 in Durban, South Africa (28 November–9 December).

So here I am in Durban, halfway through the UN climate negotiations known as COP17. As a scientist, the world of politics is always alien. Indeed, politicians seem to show scant regard for logic when determining a course of action.

The world is warming – confirmed most recently by a ‘sceptic-funded’ piece of research from Berkeley. Such data support those of NASA and the US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administation. The measured warming is also slightly WORSE than that reported by UEA – the subject of the (debunked) ‘climategate’ issue.

As UCL’s own Professor Chris Rapley points out, the entire body of credible scientists in the world subscribe this warming to the release of greenhouse gases as a result of human activity. And, as he also points out, no sceptic can come up with an alternative explanation (it isn’t sunspots, or changes in the earth’s orbit/axis, which drive such change over millenia). Further, that this warming is driving changes in extreme weather events is now confirmed by a UN report this November. And things will get worse.