Nature, not mankind, is responsible for recent climate change, according to new peer-reviewed research likely to send ripples around the world.
The two-year study by three Australasian scientists was published yesterday in the American Geophysical Union's Journal of Geophysical Research and casts doubts on the widely accepted assumption that human activities are responsible for global warming.
Auckland University climate scientist Chris de Freitas, Bob Carter, an academic at James Cook University, Townsville, and Melbourne scientist John McLean have concluded that little or none of the late 20th century warming trend can be attributed to humans.
Instead, they say that in the past 50 years the average global temperature has fallen and risen in close agreement with the development of El Nino or La Nina conditions.
In 2007, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said global surface temperatures had increased about by 0.74 degrees Celsius between 1906 and 2005.
The panel concluded that rising levels of greenhouse gases from human activity, including deforestation and burning of fossil fuels, were responsible for much of that increase.
De Freitas, who has worked as an adviser to the Climate Science Coalition, which is sceptical about global warming, said his paper had been fully peer-reviewed over six months and accepted by a top academic journal.
"This will have an effect. This is scientific research, not an opinion ... There will be people who will be forced to correct me, no doubt, but that is what science is all about robust debate."
- © Fairfax NZ News
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