Reflections on a changing climate

Was Villach the start of global warming?

Among the many climate science meetings I have attended, the most significant, at least as far as climate change is concerned, was my involvement in the UN-sponsored international conference held in the beautiful Austrian town of Villach in October 1985.

One hundred experts from 30 countries attended the meeting (in contrast to ten to twenty thousand who now attend such meetings), and I was privileged to be the only New Zealander invited. We were all there as experts – not representing our respective organisations – in various fields of science, endeavouring to do the best we could in looking at the complexities of climate science.

One of the principal findings of this conference was that

“while other factors, such as aerosol concentration, changes in solar energy input, and changes in vegetation, may also influence climate, the greenhouse gases are likely to be the most important cause of climate change over the next century.”

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