, Volume 9, Issue 3, pp 153-155
Date: 25 Jul 2007

In praise of (some) mavericks?

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The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued its fourth assessment report, Climate Change 2007 (The Fourth Assessment Reports may be accessed via the IPCC website: http://www.ipcc.ch/), with the report of Working Group III, (Mitigation of Climate Change), recently agreed in Bangkok, to go alongside those of WGI (The Physical Science Basis) and WGII (Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability) agreed earlier in Brussels.

Since the IPCC presented its first assessment report in 1990, the public debate (put simply) has moved over time from ‘is the global climate warming?’ to ‘to what extent may man be responsible?’ to ‘can anything be done in time and, if so, what?’ My comments do not seek to rehearse the complex scientific, social, economic and political arguments but to focus on the role of science, scientists and the scientific process and its interaction with the wider public and polity.

At the heart of the scientific process is the better, if incomplete, understanding of t