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Are all visitors welcome in Edinburgh?

10 Apr

Like most cities of the world Edinburgh has a very cosmopolitan populace. There are lots of people from overseas who have live and work here or come for a holiday. Walk along the main areas and even the local supermarket and you will hear a lot of foreign languages and accents.

During the Festival it’s wall to wall visitors, most of which are very welcome as is the money they spend. Most of the people who come are pretty great really although there is always the odd exception.

The Science Festival is on at the moment. It’s pretty good for kids and adults alike. Lots of visual stuff mixed with talks and experiments and stuff both kids and adults can enjoy and maybe learn a wee bit here and there.

That’s the positive and you may have guessed that there is a negative, which is heading your way in a sentence or so.

You may or may not have heard of the Edinburgh Medal?  I’ll refresh your memory then or introduce new information for (the following quotes in italics are from the Edinburgh Science Festival website.

The Edinburgh Medal is a prestigious award given each year to men and women of science and technology whose professional achievements are judged to have made a significant contribution to the understanding and well-being of humanity. The Medal is supported by the City of Edinburgh Council and SEPA and will be awarded at a ceremony on Tuesday 10 April 2012”.

The medal this year goes to James Hanson, you may be aware of Mr Hansen? If not a further refresh –  “Perhaps best known for bringing global warming to the world’s attention in the 1980’s when he first testified before Congress, Dr Hansen’s background in both space and earth sciences gives him a broad perspective on the status and prospects of our home planet”.

That’s the same testimony which was held purposefully, on one of the hottest days of the year in a room which had all the windows opened so the air-conditioning couldn’t work which made people very hot whilst talking about the climate heating up.

“Hansen admits that if it hadn’t been for his grandchildren, and the knowledge of what they would face, he would have concentrated on the pure science, and not persisted in taking a public position pointing out the challenges that humanity faces. It is this message that he brings to Edinburgh when he presents climate change as a moral issue of unprecedented scale. Described by Al Gore as ‘the scientist with the most powerful and consistent voice calling for intelligent action to preserve our planet’s environment.’ Hansen believes that while today’s adults obtain benefits from fossil fuel use, the consequences will be felt mainly by young people and future generations as well as the fellow species with which we share our planet”.

Mr Hansen looks after the GISS temperature dataset, one of the four datasets, which are used as the most accurate historical records for temperature and prediction on how the temperature may actually go. The GISS dataset always shows the highest temperatures for recent times to the extent that there is obviously a problem with it.

Mr Hansen also talked about trains of death, invoking dreadful images. His trains of death are of course the trains, which deliver coal to coal fired power stations. He doesn’t like coal fired power stations. Oh no, Not at all. Coal put loads of CO2 into the air and that means they are killing the planet.

Now Mr Hansen also likes the odd climate computer model. The models are kind of like computer games only less accurate. The output from the computer models show how the climate would be depending on the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere etc. he’s been doing this for a long time, in fact he was doing them prior to the 1988 congress hearing mentioned earlier.

That means he can boast about how he can predict future climate because he has successfully modelled historical climate and climate within the past thirty years. Ah. No he hasn’t, no he can’t and no he never will. He has never successfully modelled climate and neither has anyone else for that matter. He has not been able to accurately, or get even close to accurately, predict climate. AT ALL!

As an Edinburgh resident, I am deeply embarrassed that he has been asked to come to Edinburgh and is being given a science-based award. It devalues the awards given previously. It devalues the previous winners of the award. It devalues science itself.

These types of charlatans are not welcome in Edinburgh. He may be a scientist when he works on space topics but he is nothing more than an advocate for global warming when he works on climate.

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