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Climate Change – a guide for the perplexed


Climate Change: A guide for the perplexed. New Scientist debunks myths, explains issues and tries to make sense out of chaos. If you’re interested this is a great place to start. Even if you’re not interested actually. Oh and here’s the site which is probably the most authoritative on the whole vexed question – RealClimate (a pure science site which is run by  non political…gasp…climate scientists).

 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 consequences. 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.


  • “the world is warming”

    It essentially stopped warming in 1998. No year has been warmer.

  • From the article.

    “What really matters, though, is not how warm it is now, but how warm it is going to get in the future. Even the temperature reconstructions that show the greatest variations in the past 1000 years suggest up until the 1980s, average temperature changes remained within a narrow band spanning 1ºC at most. Now we are climbing out of that band, and the latest IPCC report (pdf format) predicts a further rise of 0.5ºC by 2030 and a whopping 6.4ºC by 2100 in the worst case scenario.”

  • If the temperature is lower than it was in 1998, how can anyone predict a continuing rise when the rising stopped?

  • It is a shame that the media which reports on science is so poor at understanding science. The IPCC has shown itself to be just as bad. The IPCC document was, indeed, originally composited from scientist’s _opinions_…and then underwent a 6-month political rewrite where science was tossed out the window any time it conflicted with pre-conceived political needs.

    Always be afraid when someone claims “the time for discussion is over: the time to act is NOW!!” It usually means the time for discussion has only just begun.

    Be more afraid when phrases like “All scientists agree”, because any time that all scientists agree, it’s political and not science.

    By fronting for the IPCC’s drivel, New Scientist has again proven that it is a politically-biased, non-scientific rag. What a surprise.

    Remember, in 1973, the same scientists, media and politicians were screaming climate disaster: only back then it was “Global Ice Age”. They still haven’t gotten the story right, they’re still basing epochal predictions on last thursday’s weather report, and they still haven’t gotten it right.

    The world may well be getting warmer. It is time for it to do it, if you look at the unbiased data over the last 10,000 years. It is _not_ getting warmer because of man’s CO2 output. And the models themselves weight greenhouse effects which man has no control over so much more highly than CO2 that _doubling_ the CO2 guesses doesn’t change the outcome. Think about that.

    Then think about trees.

  • Oh yes, Real Climate. Climate science from climate scientists. Only, where are the entries from the dissident climate scientists? You won’t find them, because this “pure science site which is run by non political…gasp…climate scientists” is a political site run by _some_ of the climate scientists, ones who are clearly (and honestly, at least) sold out to the IPCC notions.

    There is still no site on the internet that provides _purely scientific_ information about climate, and there never will be, becuase this is a political matter, not a scientific matter.

    Remember, when speaking of Kyoto, France’s leading climate scientist admitted that even if Kyoto levels were established this year instead of 2010, that by 2050 the climate would be 4 degrees higher (the going prediction for what will happen if Kyoto is not implemented at all). So if something as massive as Kyoto will have no effect, what makes anyone come to the conclusion that changing man’s CO2 contribution will have any affect?? Only political prejudice.

  • Wow onlyocelot that’s very vehement. Funny how some people get so angry because others are merely concerned about the planet. As though it was a crime. Strange indeed. I’m afraid that I smell agenda. Huge oil fuelled ones.

  • The cooling trend has already started in the USA.

    “The average temperature in April 2007 was 51.7 F. This was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average, the 47th coolest April in 113 years.

  • Bruce, I don’t really want to turn this site into a forum for a climate change discussion, primarily because we’re none of us experts (for e.g. it’s pretty obvious that one month’s temperature does not a trend make, and believe it or not the USA is not the whole world) and I’m just not interested enough in dealing with oil company shills and PR agents or extremist eco-nutz etc.

  • “and I’m just not interested enough in dealing with oil company shills and PR agents or extremist eco-nutz etc”

    And I thought an argument based on facts was the way to go. But I guess this is a religious issue and facts no longer are important.

    All hail the Goracle.

  • >Wow onlyocelot that’s very vehement. Funny how some people get so
    >angry because others are merely concerned about the planet. As
    >though it was a crime. Strange indeed. I’m afraid that I smell agenda.
    >Huge oil fuelled ones.

    Hmm. An interesting reading of my comments. In actual fact, I am not an “oil company shill” at all. I work for a company that makes some of the most energy-efficient lasers in the world. I’m also a 53-year old student at a technical 2-year college, majoring in EET and Photonics, carrying a 3.97 GPA. This qualifies me as neither someone interested in “oil fueled” agendas, nor in misrepresentations of facts for politicians to flex their power-muscles.

    The claims of the IPCC are, at best, specious. The claims of the Pure Science site are equally specious and arrogant. They know better, because they’re scientists.

    As it happens, all scientists really don’t agree about global warming: they can’t even agree that it is happening. (I happen to feel, on the data, _all_ the data, not the doubly-digested effluence of the press) that it is happening, and that it isn’t all that bad.) Those that do agree that the world is getting warmer can’t agree on what to do about it. Some have ideas that even you might find abhorrent, like setting huge oil fires to fill the skies with particulate matter and plunge the earth into an ice age to ensure that it doesn’t get colder. There’s an “oil fueled agenda” for you!

    If you want to report on this subject honestly, here are a few questions to ask:

    If man-made carbon is a major cause of global warming, why is it that the models don’t change even when they double their largest estimates of man-caused carbon load?

    If the IPCC is such a scientific organization, why did they take from October to April before they could release the already-compiled scientific data? (Hint: the political-rewrite I mentioned before).

    If “all scientists are agreed” why do so many of them say that global warming isn’t happening, or isn’t man-caused? And if the process is so purely scientific, why do so many of them recant the following monday morning? When in our history of scientific reporting have so many scientists candidly given their opinions on record, just to recant it the next day?

    And, if you want to see vehemence, look at the “scientific” rebuttals to ideas that challenge the going Global Warming Is Bad and Is Caused By Man and We Can Reverse It By Destroying The Economy cant? Why is the verbiage from legislators and educators in terms of “The time for discussion is over, it’s time to Act!!” Since when is the time for discussion over? Even after 50 years, we’re still _discussing_ the causes and justifications for the second world war!

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