Thank you very much, Richard. We're now open to questions from the floor. Yes - here.
Thank you Mr Chairman. My name is Gerard Coughlan
I'd like to congratulate this speaker on Tyndall.
He's probably one of the greatest scientists of Victorian England at the time.
I suppose his legacy, the Tyndall Institute for Climate Change Research
and the Tyndall National Institute at UCC, as well as the effects. We have the Tyndall Effect
and the Tyndall Light Scattering and we have also this tyndallization..
The question is: you mentioned this measuring device which measures the
radiant heat or infrared heat now for the absorption of gases
such as ozone, oxygen, water and carbon dioxide.
We know that carbon dioxide and water absorb infrared heat
I'd just like to know how did Tyndall calibrate these instruments
and was there any interference, for example magnetic effects, in this thermopile that he used?
And the second question ...
We'll take one question at a time.
Will you summarise?
He's asking me to summarise the question now. You asked how did he calibrate...
How did he calibrate the measuring device which he used to measure
the radiant heat of these gases, or did he calibrate them at all?
Tyndall could give you relative amounts.
He could tell you that the water vapour was a thousand times more effective as an absorber
than dry air, for example, which he also tested.
He gave you relative amounts of absorption rather than absolute numbers.
Today we have better absolute numbers of course.
Tyndall wasn't working alone of course and yet that was the age
in which a scientist would build his own instruments
and really be in control, intellectually in control, of the whole show isn't that so?
That's absolutely right. Tyndall built the instrument and
it's mesmerising to me, it's fascinating to read his detailed descriptions
of how he built the instrument and how he changed designs when it didn't work.
He kept impeccable records so you are led through
the minutia of how to develop the instrument.
To what extent did language differences slow down scientific exchange at that time?
Or was material published quickly and shared or was there ...
were scientists covetous of their own advance and kept it to themselves?
How did that work out?
Both. And it's still that way today I think
Tyndall after his European experience was fluent in German,
he did translations from the German technical literature
and his French was good too and he corresponded with
continental scientists in German and French.
So there was ready communication and easy collaboration
but I think scientists are human beings too and everybody wanted to get something first.
Norman McMillan can I just give you a light story from Carlow
when we were trying to resurrect Tyndall we did a lot of work to get
the equipment back from the climbing hut in Belalp.
and some of the equipment we got were the infusion tubes
that he was using to try and determine whether bacteria existed
he had in these tubes urine and the idea was that these were sealed sterilised
and in the work with Pasteur
and being a good climber he could go up the mountains and leave them at various heights
and then he'd go back up and see if the bacteria had caused the sort of effects bacterial infection was evident in the urine sample.
Now we were really interested to see if Tyndall's urine was in these
and one way we would have known for sure was if
there was laudanum in it which is a very heavy drug.
You were saying that he couldn't sleep.
Now I know the reason he couldn't sleep
was because he was high all the time.
Himself and Carlyle were swapping diabolical stories of how to get
through a night and prescribing terrible concoctions.
Anyway we took it to the Beaumont hospital and we had this tube tested,
and it was obviously his assistant's because it passed the drugs test,
and there was absolutely no laudanum in it!
Thank you very much for a very illuminating talk.
Thank you for that wonderful story.
Enda Reilly is my name I'm a songwriter with an interest in climate change.
Just a question about the sea ice thickness and the way the observation
is not following the models, and do the modellers not know what to put in the models?
Or ... that just is quite worrying.
Well thank you for the question. It's a very interesting question
and I'm not a specialist in sea ice but when I talk to the specialists
who do these models and who analyse the observations and compare them with the predictions
what they say is that sea ice is a lot more than just ice hitting warm water and melting,
that sea ice is complicated it has multi year structures, it gets blown around by winds
and pushed around by ocean currents into areas of warmer
or not so warm water and that affects the melting,
also the satellites observing the aerial extent but not the thickness
but we know from direct measurements and other means
that the thickness of Arctic sea ice has also been decreasing in many areas
and that may increase the vulnerability of the ice
also it goes through a very large annual cycle
and if you look back to local, there's no global sea ice records far back,
but if you look at local areas where sea ice has been studied in detail, by explorers for example,
there's a great deal of natural variability, so sea ice is tricky.
And it's one of the areas of climate that you might say in the end you can predict the result.
If you continue to have warming you'll end up with an ice free Arctic,
at least the seasonal sea ice will disappear, but you can't predict the intermediate stages.
It's a bit like putting a pot of water on the stove to boil,
you can be sure in ten minutes you are going to have boiling water,
but what's going to happen at two and a half minutes or
three minutes and six seconds, how many bubbles are there going to be?
That's hard to do so we know the asymptotics but predicting
the details of how sea ice will change year to year is just beyond the technique right now.
I think in a way that's characteristic of much of climate science.
The expert community is largely agreed on the basics. We've ruled out a lot of things,
for example, the orbital mechanisms that make ice ages come and go
are too weak and take too long,
they take tens of thousands of years,
to be responsible for this rapid warming we observe over a few decades.
And we can say the same about changes in the sun for example.
Of course they're important but we've been measuring the total intensity or the luminosity of the sun
and when you translate it into the same language
as the effects of the greenhouse gases, it's ten times too small.
We are aware of the basics. We know that the world is warming,
we are quite confident that much of the warming is due to human activity -
it's the primary cause
but if you are asking me what winter is going to be like in Ireland in 2063
don't trust my answer or anybody else's.
Padraig Larkin, ex EPA, thank you for a wonderful talk.
The last point you made about the 2 degrees and the governments agreeing,
the politicians agreeing on the 2 degree rise,
and the scientists' job of telling them what they have to do is important
but there is also another point that I would make
that climate, unlike other environmental issues,
is potentially very dangerous in that there are tipping points
beyond which there are no chances of recovery.
I think it is important that the next IPCC report not only talks about
how we achieve the 2 degree limit but what will happen if we don't
and make it very clear the consequences of not achieving that 2 degrees.
I very much agree with that statement and I thank you for it.
I think that's a very profound and valuable assessment of it and if I can
paraphrase what you've said these tipping points or
instabilities or nonlinearities in the climate system are inherently unpredictable.
If you push on an old fashioned spring loaded light switch,
you can push and push, and push a little harder a little harder, nothing happens,
and then you push a hair more, and it flips to the other position.
And we know there are things like that in the climate system, there are thresholds.
If I push this bottle towards the edge of the table, an inch, a centimetre, a millimetre,
it'll fall off, eventually, but you don't know which push is going to make it fall off
and end up with broken glass and water on the floor,
and suppose you couldn't see the table
it's a dark room, black table
you just know there's an edge somewhere, that's a good metaphor for
where we are with these tipping points.
Furthermore we know they are there because they have happened in the past
we've seen abrupt climate change in the geological record.
There's incontrovertible evidence for that
but we don't know where they all are, and we likely don't know what all the tipping points are.
Does there come a point where the methane gases trapped in the Arctic pop to the surface,
for example, we're not sure of that?
Does there come a point where a big chunk of Greenland...
Greenland and Antarctica as I said are both loosing mass
and we know that through some incredibly clever detective work
there are satellites now that measure the gravity anomaly
they go over Greenland and Antarctica they can see whether it more or less massive than it was last year
and so they can convert that quantitative linear it matches the surface data
so we know they are now both loosing mass but we don't know whether they will
whether that mass loss will accelerate.
We know geologically that when warming comparable to the warming we are encountering now
had been maintained for centuries they became denuded of ice
but we don't know what it takes to do that. Is there an instability that happens?
That's areas of active research.
Again I will say that
in many ways the basics that Tyndall and Arrhenius and Keeling taught us about
are more firmly established now than ever before. We have tools that they couldn't have dreamed of.
But converting that to the impacts that you are talking about
to what that will mean to people, to the likelihood of heatwaves,
to what happens to hurricanes in a warmer world,
to whether storm tracks change, that is where the research frontier is now.
Am I right in saying that in the popular imagination
people see all of this as a continuum in which things may get marginally worse if we don't do X
but the tipping point brought out there is that things can become catastrophic
like in the Gulf Stream, in our own case, if it pushes too far?
Yeah, I don't like to use words like catastrophic because this subject is spooky enough
without inflating the vocabulary of it but that's certainly true
that there is no reason to think that the climate system is just
a linear system that will respond proportional to the amount of changes you make
it is capable of changing regimes and we are still learning about that
so what you do about that again
has to do with how you value the precautionary principle and so on
but I think the job of a scientist nobody wants to have a scientist make
decisions for governments
Bill Buckley who was a conservative American political commentator once said
"he'd rather be governed by the first 500 names in the Boston phone book than by the Harvard faculty"!
and knowing some of the latter I agree!
but I think that if you're making a decision that has to do with scientific input,
it's good to ask the scientists who know because people's opinions are going to differ.
I promised to repeat a joke, it's very short:
everybody is entitled to their own opinions but you're not entitled to your own facts.
Yes. Here - somebody with the microphone.
Oisin Coughlan, Richard you said that Tyndall was both a fine scientist and also a great populariser.
We know from your lecture tonight and particularly from the way you dispatched Pat Kenny this morning,
that you are not a bad populariser yourself.
Given the scientific urgency you mentioned at the end there,
do you think scientists are doing enough to get the message across to the wider public?
You mentioned a little bit there just now, and what advice do you have,
to not just scientists, but to all of us who are trying to communicate the climate science in a way
that gets traction with our neighbours, with our friends, with the media and with politicians?
Thank you for your kind words and thank you for the question
I know you will not believe this but I did not plant this question
I'm a great believer in scientists who can and want to get involved
in doing more to communicate the science to the wider world.
Not everybody should do this. I wouldn't advise it to a young researcher trying to get tenure
and publish a lot of papers wait until you are an antique like me
and are more invulnerable to pressures like that.
I think that people want to hear from scientists
and there are so many examples where scientists have said valuable things
to politicians at critical moments:
think about the letter Einstein wrote to Roosevelt in the Second World War
pointing out the work going on in Germany that could lead to atomic weapons.
I think here's a case where scientists often want to speak out
but they're not equipped for it and in fact there's a lot of
peer pressure, you might say, a lot of professional disincentives, not to do that
the fellow down the hall in the next lab he or she is going to think that
you ought to stick to your lab, and do experiments and write learned papers,
you must be some kind of crazy egoist
if you want to get your name in the papers and your face on TV everyday.
Some scientists just aren't adept at it. There are some who should never be allowed near a microphone.
But I think for those who want to and, you might say it's like acting you know,
who have some talent, there're ways to get better at it.
I'd like to refer you all (this is a plug) to a website called climatecommunication.org
which is an effort by several of us I'm part of it to do workshops for scientists.
We teach them not to use the wrong kinds of words: don't say "anthropogenic",
polls show people don't know what it means, say "human caused"
Don't say the "enhanced" greenhouse effect "enhanced" in the popular mind
means "positive", you have an enhanced appearance now that you've bought these new cosmetics.
Don't say you're worried about "positive" feedback ,like these tipping points we're talking about,
I got positive feedback from my boss today, I feel great he thinks I'm doing a good job.
We have a list of hundreds of words that mean different things to the lay public
who is not stupid, just doesn't happen to speak jargon and you can avoid them.
You can learn to speak in sound bites, you can cultivate relationships with journalists,
you can write for the popular press, you can go on Pat Kenny if you're mad enough!
I'm still smarting from that but I welcome efforts of scientists
and there are, as I've said we've got these role models, I mentioned
Carl Sagan, but think of the other great scientists who have done so well,
think of Margaret Mead or Stephen J. Gould for example
Richard Dawkins in England, there are people who can communicate
who are gifted and who have worked at it and Tyndall worked like a horse
he may not have been the most talented performer but he was certainly
harder working than anybody else.
Brian Donovan Trinity College Dublin School of Education
Professor Sommerville that was an excellent presentation. I teach teachers,
and following up on the previous question, teaching teachers and introducing
the notion of when the IPCC was instantiated
when the United Nations Environmental Programme was instantiated
we go back to Arrhenius and Tyndall, we're going beyond peoples' current scope of imagination,
is the resistance at the imagination level ignorance or resistance?
That's a good question I'm not sure. As you know
there's a considerable climate science disinformation effort out there
very much analogous to what big tobacco did decades ago.
Unable to refute the connection between smoking and disease,
they attempted to confuse people,
to make people think there was a debate and they dug up scientists who said "well you know
uncle so and so smoked for 90 years and he is still going strong"
Naomi Oreskes and other historians and sociologists of science have written books.
Naomi Oreskes' and Erik Conway's book Merchants of Doubt is a must read
pointing out the similarities between that effort and the climate disinformation effort
Same play book, and in some cases the same players are there.
So there is an active effort with expert media and communications people behind it
to sow confusion in the public mind.
There's much more, the people think there's much more debate than there is.
There is a poll from the US National Academy of Sciences it says 97 or 98%
of the scientists who are most actively publishing in the field of climate research
are in agreement on the basic fundamentals that I have been talking about of the science
and the people think there is a big controversy going on in science.
Are there outliers yes there's always outliers -
there's retrovirus experts who don't think HIV causes Aids -
but the degree to which the science community has united around the fundamental results
is really quite remarkable and yet people don't get that.
And in many cases, I'll leave you with one provocative thought, the teachers I talk to
will say that many of the same people who are opposed to the teaching of evolution
in schools are opposed to the teaching of climate science too.
And the thoughtful opposition to it I think is policy based.
People are afraid of the economic impact of trying to reduce emissions of gases.
They may be afraid of government interference in free markets
They may be afraid of ceding national sovereignty to international treaties.
But if you scratch somebody who is very doubtful about the climate science,
especially the most vehement and strident of them,
who really have closed minds on it or are sure that it's a hoax
then I think you find in the end that the opposition is really
policy based rather than science based.
Hello my name is Chris Pullen from a company called Omni Instruments
you spoke about the receding ice cap in one of your diagrams there
one issue that seems to me to be an impending doomsday is all the methane
that's going to be liberated from the permafrost around the Arctic Circle
I'm just wondering are you aware of any proactive steps that are being taken by
international countries to try and harness this methane that'll be liberated
or maybe flare it off so that it is converted to CO2 which is obviously about
20 times less potent than the CH4?
That's a good question and I'm sorry I just don't know the answer.
I don't know of efforts in that nature.
Methane is a greenhouse gas. Molecule for molecule it's much more potent
than carbon dioxide.
Tyndall's experiments would have shown that
but there's much less of it in the atmosphere and it has a short life time
so that if you were to stop the methane sources, some of which are quite nonsensical,
they're leakages from pipelines for example, then you could quickly reduce the methane problem.
Methane does decompose into CO2 but because the methane amounts are so small
the CO2 that's left over is not a serious issue so the problem is the methane itself during its lifetime
All the thoughtful analysis that I've seen and I'm not a policy expert and I'm not an energy expert
I'm a meteorologist and climate scientist
say that no single approach will work if you're trying to cut down on global emissions
or global amounts of greenhouse gases by this amount
you have to do everything, you have to do energy efficiency,
you have to do energy conservation, sometimes you get savings from that,
but you also have to do fuel switching and many other things.
How big a problem is it that the politicians who might have to make the decisions
are themselves subject to four year terms, five year terms maximum?
That's a good question, why doesn't the company in which you own stock
have a management that has your long-term interests at heart
rather than next quarter's profits?
Sure there's a short term thinking is a big issue here
but I think politicians in democratic countries respond to pressures from the electorate.
And the polling that I see and this is true in Europe as well as the US and other countries too
says that nobody wants to leave a damaged planet to their children,
but when you ask them where's the priority for doing something about this,
it's not up there at the top.
You know, it doesn't rank with national security and economic prosperity and so on, healthcare.
It's down number 17 or something and I think until politicians feel voter pressure
if you want my vote do something about this issue then we may still be in this stalemate,
but you know I'm not a political scientist so that's one citizen of the planet's opinion that's all.
Pat Finnegan from Grian, an NGO here that works on Climate Change, and in a personal capacity IPCC working Group III
and actually also somebody who is still smarting about an appearance on the Pat Kenny show 2 years ago so we have some common ground
I'd like to ask about blocking events, they're rising up the research agenda
particularly blocking events under climate change
it's my experience most people worry far more about the weather than they worry about the climate,
unfortunately, and I think blocking events are the overlap between the two
and policy wise, if you could get a grip on them it would make a real big difference
particularly e.g. for farmers if you could predict them 12 months ahead.
As a climate atmospheric scientist, would it be your view
the models would be able to get a good grip on those sort of medium scale events
in the near future or before we end up on that sharpest ski slope?
I think that's a wonderful question. I think you've put your finger on a key issue
and I think it's going to take not just the models but it's going to take
a lot of you might say descriptive work statistics
relating extreme events in weather for example to climate change.
To put an example on it, to be concrete about it,
as climate warms you have a greater chance of heat waves,
the heat wave of Europe in 2003 that killed tens of thousands of people,
and the analysis of that shows that it was less likely to have happened
absent climate change.
It's the usual story.
You can't attribute a given weather catastrophe if you like a strong hurricane to climate change
but the climate is the stage on which the weather is played out
and the bell shaped curve of temperature say moves to higher temperatures
as the climate warms so the chances of higher extremes are stronger.
In fact I'll tell you a number now,
for parts of the world where the data are good enough to have been analysed
we are now setting twice as many high temperature records as low temperature records.
If climate were just randomly oscillating about an unchanging average
you'd expect to get as many randomly lows as highs but we're setting
twice as many highs as lows, that's published,
and the late data says it's now going towards three times as many.
And the models say by mid century on business as usual it might be 50 times as many.
I think that you have to help people understand that the climate affects that,
that the climate is the environment in which the weather occurs
and the statistics include the extremes
and we've got sports metaphors like that
for example in bicycle racing there have been drug scandals in the past
if you take a good bike rider who has won some races and placed well
who suddenly starts taking steroids
you notice the performance has improved, he wins more races and he places higher
but you can't say "well he won that race that's because of his drugs"
because after all he won races when he was clean, but the statistics have changed
and something like that is happening
carbon dioxide is the steroids of the climate system.
Donal O'Brolchain. Dr Sommerville I want to ask you a question
about the possible effects of climate change in north-western Europe
I read a paper some years ago and I can't remember which it was that
the mild climate in north-western Europe was more due to the jet stream
than to what we normally regard as the waterborne heat coming
which we all grew up and were told was the Gulfstream,
as a meteorologist would you care to comment on that?
Oh that's certainly very strongly involved. The jet stream is -
you know old fashioned weather forecasters, of whom I used to be one, -
regarded the jet stream as the steering current
and the storms were carried along with it like a leaf in a stream.
And there's something to that and so the circulation of the atmosphere
as you know is very complex.
But what we're seeing in the observed data, and which had been predicted by the models,
is that the storm tracks are changing
and in both hemispheres they are moving poleward
so that the storm that used to cross France might now be crossing the Netherlands
on average or something like that.
In the same ways the tropics are expanding,
and the great deserts of the world are in the subtropics, latitudes like 30 degrees or so.
The forecasts that in some parts of the world we're seeing evidence for empirically
are that droughts will become more common in more tropical latitudes
whereas heavier rains will move to higher latitudes.
My hunch about that, and it is a hunch, is that it's going to take a long time
because there's so much year to year variability.
I'm not Irish but I know about the last couple of winters you had here.
There's so much year to year variability that's superimposed
on top of these long term trends that are slow acting
that it's going to take a great while before we see stable, robust statistics come out of that,
and it's certain that when we do understand it,
then I think the jet stream is going to have been a key part of it.
And if it's so important to persuade the wider public
for behavioural change in their own personal way of living
have weather forecasters, of which you are one,
you say as a scientist in the backroom, have you made any concerted effort to
capture the imagination of the weather forecaster in broadcasting
who speak to millions of people every day, with people listening to them as well?
It seems to me the better informed they are the safer we are
and if very occasionally they would throw in,
when appropriate, some information
that might be one method of educating the wider public
of course some of these people are comedians and some of them are scientists
that's another problem.
Yes, that's right.
Countries differ and stations differ in this matter as we know.
We do know that and some of them are sceptical of the science too
and some of them are not well informed.
On the other hand I know personally examples of excellent broadcast meteorologists
who follow the science closely and do
try to inform their viewers or listeners about it.
And I think I agree with you a hundred percent, it's totally, it's a huge opportunity.
Most people don't know a scientist.
You are dealing with a world to whom science is remote.
Most people also don't know that the Earth goes around the sun every year
and if you told them that science had established that they wouldn't be clear about how.
So I think getting science into people's homes, into people's minds,
telling them it's not just a dull boring collection of facts,
it's not only for geeks or boys is important.
And as you say the television meteorologist especially or the person giving the forecast
is many people's main contact with a person who has scientific credentials
I've often seen cases where the lead on the show will turn to the weather person and say
"well you're a scientist how do you feel about this cholera outbreak?"
So you are the universal wisdom of all things technical but I think it's a huge opportunity
and in all seriousness
in many countries, there's an effort to bring the broadcast meteorology community
and the climate research community into closer touch
because I think they don't understand one another very well.
It's not just that we're so smart and they're too stupid to realise it,
we're pretty stupid about what they do.
Jim Gleeson retired soil researcher. Excellent lecture,
but I'd like to ask you a question about the longer term
when all the easily available fossil fuel is gone
and maybe before that if we get easily available fusion energy
and if we can assume we can keep the temperature at 2 or thereabouts
what then will be the prognosis for the end of present interglacial?
Given that in the last half a million years or so we had four ice ages or five,
and that the interglacials were about 20,000 years
and the last glacial maximum was about 20,000 years ago
but we had ice at about 10 and a half 11,000 years ago,
will the present glacial period still come to an end
given that you said the solar effect was weak
but is that sufficient time or will the 2 degrees, if we keep it within that,
be sufficient to put off the end of the present interglacial?
That's a wonderful question
and I love making forecasts for periods so long that
no one will ever know whether I was right or not.
This is being videoed, it has a shelf life of eternity.
My mother passed away two years ago at the age of 102
she was sharp 'til the end and we were very close
and she used to regale me with stories.
Here she is a person having been born in 1907.
Look at the things she saw that only visionaries foresaw:
she saw widespread motorised transport, she saw aircraft,
she saw all kinds of technology, pharmaceuticals
a huge increase in human lifespan which was 47 for Americans born in her birth year.
And she witnessed all this and became quite philosophical about it in her old age
and she has taught me to be a technological optimist
I think that given a long time, I don't think that my great ,great, great, great-grandchildren
are going to be driving around in my kind of car or yours.
I think that I'm very optimistic long term.
I think we have to get through a really tough period now.
You mentioned -
maybe this is a good note on which to close the evening we're a bit running over -
you mentioned when we run out of fossil fuels, the problem is that
there's centuries of coal left and it's the dirtiest fossil fuel, the most CO2 per unit of energy.
And in addition we are now starting to exploit things like the tar sands in Canada
which are environmentally destructive to get oil from and very energy inefficient to get oil from
so there's a lot of fossil fuel out there.
My quote is from a former oil minister of Saudi Arabia who said
"the Stone Age did not end because we ran out of stones, we got smarter".
That's my wish for the planet.
Just getting back to your comments earlier about education
you were making the point of the importance of
educating the general population to the importance of climate change,
the effects and all the rest,
my personal experience is that perfect knowledge doesn't correspond to perfect behaviour
and I could probably predict or expect that while everyone in here,
and even most of Europe or the world, could come to accept
climate change, the effects and the consequences,
will they be prepared to accept the change in behaviour?
People know that eating junk food is bad for you but that doesn't seem to stop,
people know that smoking is bad that doesn't seem to go away.
You're saying that people should ask the politicians to push climate change
higher up the agenda
but that means that if they did push it up the agenda,
the population would have to accept changes that they probably would then
vote the politicians down for implementing; just your thoughts on that.
I think you have put your finger on something important.
Aside from the commonplace experience we all have,
just because A tells B how A thinks, B doesn't suddenly start to behave like A,
I think that behavioural psychology has taught us a lot about that
and one of the things we've learned, and the advertising world knows this,
is that people respond to trusted messengers with clear messages repeated often.
You don't buy Coca-Cola because you saw one ad for it,
you've been bombarded with them since you were born.
We've been told for example as scientists
by leaders of fundamentalist evangelical Christian communities in the US that their people,
that people belonging to their religious organisations,
are very receptive to many aspects of the climate message,
stewardship for example of God's gift to humanity,
but they don't want to hear about it from scientists
whom they regard as people who don't share their values, who are on the wrong side of many issues
they want to hear it from people who share their world views and whom they trust.
I think it has to do with not just regarding communicating science
as me translating my research results into everyday language and putting them out there
and saying therefore this is what you have to do. It's much more complex than that.
I don't think the science community has, as a whole, begun to get a grip yet.
on how to effectively communicate science but I do think it can be done.
Yes there are people who smoke, there are many, many people who gave it up,
who got the word and I think we have many examples where behaviour has changed
as important truth has dawned on people. So I'm optimistic long term.
It's going to take communications experts, it's going to take a sustained
professionally run effort to do that,
then I think the politicians will come on board. Politicians can change.
I think that's a very interesting point on which to conclude
and in this country we've seen an example of that in tobacco issue
where all the change comes in three steps knowledge, attitude, behaviour.
We knew that tobacco was dangerous from the Surgeon General's report to the Royal College in about 1960
attitudes changed, even smokers wanted to quit.
When Micheál Martin gave them the chance to quit in the workplace,
it happened and it happened incidentally by a bit of a fluke
because it was scheduled for January 1st, it was postponed until May 1st
which was a much easier date on which to walk out of the pub into the May weather
than might have been because the whole fear was that nobody would obey the new law.
As you know Ireland was a bit of a leader in all of that.
I think the behaviour is the third step of three.
Knowledge comes first and then attitude and the repeated message from a trusted source
which is a scientific source in the case of tobacco.
If I may say so thank you all once again.
I've greatly enjoyed this discussion and thank you so much for coming.
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Professor Richard Somerville, Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
Tyndall: His Work and Scientific Heritage - Q&A