Saturday, May 15, 2010

'Climate dice' now dangerously loaded: leading scientist

Evidence for global warming has mounted but public awareness of the threat has shrunk, due to a cold northern winter and finger-pointing at the UN's climate experts, a top scientist warned Wednesday.

James Hansen, a leading NASA scientist whose testimony to the US Congress in 1988 was a landmark in the history of climate change, said he was worried by "the large gap" in knowledge between specialists and the public, including politicians.

"That gap has increased substantially in the last year," Hansen told a press conference during a visit to Paris.

"While the science was becoming clearer, the public's perception became less clear, in part because of the unusually cold winter in both North America and Europe, and in part because of the inappropriate over-emphasis on small minor errors in IPCC documents and because of the so-called Climategate."

The IPCC - the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - is under fire for several errors that appeared in a key 2007 report. More >>>