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Need for informed debate


I am happy to take responsibility, as the chairman of the editorial panel, for accepting the Bellamy and Barrett paper on climate change for publication in ICE Proceedings (NCE 26 April).

It was submitted under the aegis of the Scientific Alliance, an organisation committed to the rational discussion of environmental issues on the basis of sound science.

The paper accepts the fact of climate change, and supports the wisdom of conserving fossil fuels.

What it challenges is the scientific basis for connecting these two issues, and the credibility of the model predictions.

The public debate has been characterised by media hype, political posturing and emotional articles by non-technical writers. Engineers should be able and willing to assess the technical arguments, make sound judgements about the quality of model validations and forecasts, and consider an appropriate engineering response.

I do not have an opinion on whether the authors are right or wrong. What I hope is that the paper will provoke an informed debate, and that all readers with well-founded opinions will contribute to a lively discussion in the Journal.

Michael F C Thorn (F), Wallingford Research Consultancy, 21 Osborne Parc, Helston, Cornwall, TR13 8PA

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