Climate Feedback

The Heat is on….

Olive Heffernan

I’ve been asked to chair a debate on climate change in Malta in November. The debate, taking place at the Pacem in Maribus XXXII conference on 5-8 November, is being hosted by the Institute of Marine Engineering, Science and Technology and is aimed at engaging your marine professionals in climate issues.

So, the debate will be looking at some of the issues surrounding climate change of particular relevance to this community, such as the respective role of engineers and scientists in mitigating and adapating to climate change, the role of the shipping industry in contributing to and in mitigating climate change, and the role of individual action versus government leaders in effecting change.

I’d welcome any comments and suggestions and of course if you’re interested in joining us or know of others who would be, check out the programme at the link above or register for the debate.


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    Eli Rabett said:

    Depends on who the other debaters are and what your side is. See Gavin Schmidt’s description of such a debate as to what to avoid.

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    Olive Heffernan said:


    Thanks for your comment.

    As I’ve mentioned in the post, it’s not actually debating whether climate change is happening, or whether human activity is the primary cause. Rather, the debate is looking at some of the outstanding issues in relation to climate change that warrant further discussion…such as potential solutions and where the responsibility for action lies.

    So, this debate will be quite different to the one you mention, where climate scientists put forward the scientific evidence for anthropogenic climate change in a debate against climate skeptics.



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    Keith Yagow said:

    How many tons of CO2 will be burnt by everyone flying to Malta? Why can’t the conference be held in a more centralized location??

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    Olive Heffernan said:

    Hi Keith,

    Actually I imagine most of those attending will be from Europe, so the destination is fairly centralised. I take your point about CO2 emissions, but in this case, I couldn’t take on the role without actually attending the event, so I’ll have to be content with offsetting (even though I don’t think it’s an ideal solution).

    It does raise an important point about the carbon footprint of journalists though and how necessary travelling is for reporting. See an interesting piece in the Guardian recently by Claire Dodd at In some cases, I think it is necessary and in others not.

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    Oliver K. Manuel said:


    Hi Olive,

    Thank you for your efforts to keep the heat on. Although the debate in Malta next month will not concern whether or not human activity is the primary cause for climate change, NASA is prepared to defend the quality of its research programs against any attack.

    In case the evidence that NASA’s James Hansen has presented for anthropologic global warming [AGW] is proven wrong or misleading, NASA’s David H. Hathaway will be right on target in showing how cyclic changes in the Sun have caused global warming.

    See “Solar cycles” by David H. Hathaway:

    Slide 12 of the paper Dr. Hathaway presented at the SPD/AAS [Solar Physics Division of the American Astronomical Society] Meeting on 30 May 2007 shows how solar surface activity has gradually increased since the time of the Maunder solar minimum in 1650-1710 and the Little Ice Age that paralyzed large sections of Europe and North America.

    NASA even has a global map that illustrates the chilly temperatures during the Maunder solar minimum:

    With kind regards,

    Oliver K. Manuel

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