Sunday, September 19, 2010

Deutsche Bank Issues Whitepaper on the "Climategate" Emails

"The paper’s clear conclusion is that the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that humanmade climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat. Indeed, the recent publication on the State of the Climate by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), analyzing over thirty indicators, or climate variables, concludes that the Earth is warming and that the past decade was the warmest on record."---Deutsche Bank Whitepaper Addressing the Climate Change Skeptics

The Climatic Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia reports that Deutsche Bank has weighed-in on the "Climategate" emails. The whitepaper addressing the climate change skeptics is posted on a Deutsche Bank site as well as on the CRU site, which states:

Deutsche Bank report
Wed, 15 Sep 2010


A completely independent review of the CRU emails was undertaken by the Deutsche Bank and published in September 2010.

Use this link to read the Deutsche Bank report, entitled 'Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments'.

The whitepaper begins:

16. September 2010

New DBCCA whitepaper addressing the climate change skeptics

The purpose of this paper is to examine the many claims and counter-claims being made in the public debate about climate change science.

For most of this year, the volume of this debate has turned way up as the ‘skeptics’ launched a determined assault on the climate findings accepted by the overwhelming majority of the scientific community. Unfortunately, the increased noise has only made it harder for people to untangle the arguments and form their own opinions. This is problematic because the way the public’s views are shaped is critical to future political action on climate change.

For investors in particular, the implications are huge. While there are many arguments in favor of clean energy, water and sustainable agriculture – for instance, energy security, economic growth, and job opportunities – we at DB Climate Change Advisors (DBCCA) have always said that the science is one essential foundation of the whole climate change investment thesis. Navigating the scientific debate is therefore vitally important for investors in this space.

For these reasons, we asked our advisors at the Columbia Climate Center at the Earth Institute, Columbia University, to examine as many as possible of the major skeptic claims in the light of the latest peer reviewed scientific literature and to weigh the arguments of each side in the balance. Although the scientific community has already addressed the skeptic arguments in some detail, there is still a public perception that scientists have been dismissive of the skeptic viewpoint, so the intention in this report is to correct the balance. The result is, we believe, a balanced, expert, and detailed assessment of the scientific case for climate change that will help investors navigate these extremely complex issues.

The paper’s clear conclusion is that the primary claims of the skeptics do not undermine the assertion that humanmade climate change is already happening and is a serious long term threat. Indeed, the recent publication on the State of the Climate by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), analyzing over thirty indicators, or climate variables, concludes that the Earth is warming and that the past decade was the warmest on record. Quantifying cause and effect or projecting future conditions is always incomplete in a system as complex as Earth’s climate, where multiple factors impact the observations. Conclusions are thus presented in terms of probabilities rather than dead certainties. This uncertainty is not always adequately explained in the public debate and, when discussed, can appear to bea challenge to the credibility of the field. However, uncertainty is an inevitable component in our understanding of any system for which perfect knowledge is unattainable, be it markets or climate.

To us, the most persuasive argument in support of climate change is that the basic laws of physics dictate that increasing carbon dioxide levels in the earth’s atmosphere produce warming. (This will be the case irrespective of other climate events.) The only way that warming can be mitigated by natural processes is if there are countervailing ‘feedback mechanisms’, such as cooling from increased cloud cover caused by the changing climate. A key finding of the current research is that there has so far been no evidence of such countervailing factors. In fact, most observed and anticipated feedback mechanisms are actually working to amplify the warming process, not reduce it.

Simply put, the science shows us that climate change due to emissions of greenhouse gases is a serious problem. Furthermore, due to the persistence of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the lag in response of the climate system, there is a very high probability that we are already heading towards a future where warming will persist for thousands of years. Failing to insure against that high probability does not seem a gamble worth taking.

Climate Change: Addressing the Major Skeptic Arguments [PDF / 333 KB]

to overview

2 Comments:

Anonymous Scrooge said...

This may be a large step foward. To have the financial community actually look at the science and act accordingly could help a lot. Governments can't do it on their own, it can only be fixed if we work together. Now if we could only get some journalists to actually look at the science we actually might be able to do something about our future.

2:49 PM  
Blogger Snapple said...

Dear Scrooge,

Thanks for your comments.

Do you have a blog?

9:34 PM  

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