Less warming but more certainty on climate debate

An international panel of 300 scientists has admitted that previous estimates of the rate of global warming may have been mildly exaggerated. But the overall consensus that significant warming will still occur in the early part of the next century remains unchanged, scientists on the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concluded at a meeting in China in January.

Readers following the greenhouse debate in the media may be forgiven for being confused about the current situation. Doubts, questions and refutations of the theory have been promulgated widely in recent weeks.

In fact, the greenhouse effect seems to be very much with us, as the Meteorological Office graph below shows. Global mean surface temperatures plotted against the 1950-1980 average show that 1990 and 1991 were the warmest years on

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