Climate change: A guide for the perplexed


Richard Moore


New Scientist has assembled here the complete 'consensus perspective' on global 
warming, with detailed arguments against all contrary views. I'm sure many of 
you will find this useful.

Personally, I'm not entirely convinced of their arguments -- but the more 
important point is that I don't see 'the truth about climate change' to be a 
central issue in the first place.  As the New Scientist itself says, in one its 
referenced articles -- even if co2 emissions were totally stopped today, it 
would still take hundreds of years for co2 levels to substantially reduce. Given
that fact, there is very little to be gained by the government's goal of 
'reducing co2 emissions by 20% in the next few decades' -- a goal which they are
very unlikely to achieve in any case with the programs they have announced, most
of which are counter-productive.

The 'real truth' about global warming is that it is serving as a distraction 
from our real environmental problem: the need to achieve sustainability. 
Sustainability should not be seen as an 'ideal of environmental extremists', but
rather as an obvious necessity for humanity. The alternative to sustainability 
is collapse.


Original source URL:

Climate change: A guide for the perplexed
  € 17:00 16 May 2007
  € news service
  € Michael Le Page

Our planet's climate is anything but simple. All kinds of factors influence it, 
from massive events on the Sun to the growth of microscopic creatures in the 
oceans, and there are subtle interactions between many of these factors.

Yet despite all the complexities, a firm and ever-growing body of evidence 
points to a clear picture: the world is warming, this warming is due to human 
activity increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, and if 
emissions continue unabated the warming will too, with increasingly serious 

Yes, there are still big uncertainties in some predictions, but these swing both
ways. For example, the response of clouds could slow the warming or speed it up.

With so much at stake, it is right that climate science is subjected to the most
intense scrutiny. What does not help is for the real issues to be muddied by 
discredited arguments or wild theories.

So for those who are not sure what to believe, here is our round-up of the 26 
most common climate myths and misconceptions.

There is also a guide to assessing the evidence. In the articles we've included 
lots of links to primary research and major reports for those who want to follow
through to the original sources.

[Each of these items, in the original, links to an article]
€ Human CO2 emissions are too tiny to matter
€ We can't do anything about climate change
€ The 'hockey stick' graph has been proven wrong
€ Chaotic systems are not predictable
€ We can't trust computer models of climate
€ They predicted global cooling in the 1970s
€ It's been far warmer in the past, what's the big deal?
€ It's too cold where I live - warming will be great
€ Global warming is down to the Sun, not humans
€ It¹s all down to cosmic rays
€ CO2 isn't the most important greenhouse gas
€ The lower atmosphere is cooling, not warming
€ Antarctica is getting cooler, not warmer, disproving global warming
€ The oceans are cooling
€ The cooling after 1940 shows CO2 does not cause warming
€ It was warmer during the Medieval period, with vineyards in England
€ We are simply recovering from the Little Ice Age
€ Warming will cause an ice age in Europe

€ Ice cores show CO2 increases lag behind temperature rises, disproving the link
to global warming

€ Ice cores show CO2 rising as temperatures fell
€ Mars and Pluto are warming too
€ Many leading scientists question climate change
€ It's all a conspiracy
€ Hurricane Katrina was caused by global warming
€ Higher CO2 levels will boost plant growth and food production
€ Polar bear numbers are increasing
If you would like to comment on this article, visit our blog.
For further reading, see the weblinks below.

  € Climate myths special, New Scientist
  € Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
  € FAQs, IPCC (pdf)
  € How to talk to a climate skeptic, Grist
  € Common arguments by climate sceptics, Logical Science


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