This one goes out to those of you who are somewhat confused about climate change and where the most recent science lies. I’ll try to keep the questions and answers as non-technical as is possible. I’m not going to go over the details with a fine tooth comb, think of this more like a quick primer on how to defend yourself from common climate denial arguments. Much of the information I’m going to pull from comes straight out of the March/April 2010 issue of Skeptical Inquirer, and an article by David Morrison.
As a quick preface it’s useful to mention that the scientific argument over whether the planet is warming has died down considerably over the last decade. Note that I say ‘scientific’ argument as there remains a small but dedicated group of ideologically driven denialists who dispute even this. Since the IPCC’s (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) latest report many who didn’t support the warming hypothesis have been swayed. The real scientific questions now lie in extracting the degree to which humans are forcing climate change. This human induced climate change or change acceleration is referred to colloquially as AGW (anthropogenic global warming). The questions that remain to be resolved are all a matter of degree, very few people and almost no climate scientists deny that the planet is warming at all.
I will now attempt to (very) briefly cover some of the most common arguments put forward by people who are either intentionally distorting the facts to serve an agenda or are too lazy to properly research climate change. These arguments range in goal from questioning whether climate change is a negative to disputing the accuracy of recordings and even accusations of fraud. Thanks once again to David Morrison’s fantastic article for most of this info.