I generally like to focus the bulk of my articles in this blog on stories about that which is “climate positive” - by that I mean people, organisations, technologies that are cutting greenhouse gas emissions and providing an economic return.
However I am astounded at the number of people who are skeptical about climate change and their strident denial that humans have anything to do with it. There are now hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of people now around the world who reckon their opinion on climate change is right. But lets go to the real experts, scientists whose job it is to research and study the climate.
The most recent poll of these scientists that I am aware of was undertaken in 2009 by researchers from the University of Chicago. 10,257 earth scientists were polled, 3,146 replied to the poll. Of these 79 listed climate science as their specialisation and had published more than 50% of their recent peer reviewed papers on the subject of climate change.
So we have 79 climate experts answering this poll. Apparently only 77 responsed to the question that asked if human activity was significant in changing mean global temperatures. And 75 replied that yes, they believed human activity was responsible for the increase in global mean temperatures.
So, who do you believe? The vast majority of climate scientists, or the other experts such as:
- Newspaper columnists passionately skeptical
- Politicians apoplectically skeptical, based on the letters their constituents have written to them.
- Your dyed in the wool neighbour?
- The old salt telling a journalist that sea level rise is rubbish?
Still convinced your local politician or favourite columnist- you know, the one with the pHD in climateology (sic) is right?
Consider then major international scientific bodies. Below is a list of some of the organisations that support the assertion that “most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities” or have made statements along these lines.
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
- US Global Change Research Program
- Arctic Council
- International Arctic Science Committee
- European Academy of Sciences and Arts
- InterAcadamy Society
- International Council of Academics of Engineering and Technological Sciences
- National Science Academies from around the world, including the US, China, India, Germany, the UK, Australia, etc.
- Network of African Science Academies
- Royal Society of New Zealand
- Polish Academy of Sciences
- National Research Council (US)
In fact as I write this there no scientific body of national or international repute known to reject the assertion that humans have caused climate change.
Learn more about this and where I got my information from at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_opinion_on_climate_change
I’m no climate expert. I’ve read a bit, but no, I haven’t put satellites up or deployed ocean bouys up to monitor sea level rise, I haven’t been to the Arctic, I haven’t seen the snow line change at Kilamanjaro. I don’t have the knowledge or instrumentation or tools to come to any conclusion about greenhouse gases and the greenhouse effect. And the chances are that neither do you, dear reader.
So I have to rely on the people who do. Those highly educated and trained people, steeped in the scientific method, who dedicate themselves to the study of climate. And my choice, the only reasonable choice in my opinion, is to believe what the majority of these scientists are saying. And not what a politician, columnist or crusty old salt twice my age may say.
Our culture is one which respects the lone maverick and generally respects age. But, given the stakes if the maverick and “seen it all” elderly are wrong, I’d prefer to believe the majority of those conservative people, climate scientists. I reckon thats a pretty good reason to believe that humans have caused climate change and that we should be doing something about it.