The science is strong and extensive in showing that carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping greenhouse gasses are warming our planet at an extremely fast rate. A National Academy of Sciences report by leading climate scientists states clearly that “climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems.”
There is a growing community of scientists who are trying to better communicate with the public to clearly explain why they are confident in climate change science. One website, SkepticalScience.com, has created great resources that explain in simple terms what the best science says about many of the climate skeptic arguments.
SkepticalScience.com provides one-line answers to 141 climate skeptic arguments as well as deeper examinations with different levels of scientific detail — basic, intermediate, advanced — depending on how far someone wants to dive into the science. Below are the top five climate skeptic arguments as outlined by the site, as well as what scientists say in response. You can click on the one-line answers to go deeper into the science.
'Skeptic arguments' versus what the science says
"It's the sun."
"Climate’s changed before."
Climate reacts to whatever forces it to change at the time; humans are now the dominant force.
"There is no consensus."
97 percent of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.
The last decade, 2000-2009, was the hottest on record.
"Models are unreliable."
Models successfully reproduce temperatures since 1900 globally, by land, in the air and the ocean.
Mobile phone applications are being developed that bring climate science to people all over the world. SkepticalScience.com has free mobile phone applications for iPhone, Android and other phones that allow you to quickly access what peer-reviewed science says about skeptic arguments, view climate change science maps and graphs, and report skeptic arguments you’ve encountered.
And Climate Central has reviewed 10 mobile phone applications that range from providing answers to climate science questions, to allowing you to analyze climate change data on-the-fly.
There are also some informative and easy-to-read short books recently released that provide explanations of climate science that are understandable to the general public. Here are a few:
- Climate Central and Sally Ride Science recently produced a short book titled "What You Need to Know: Twenty Questions and Answers About Climate Change" that you can download or buy a hard copy.
- Skeptical Science website recently released a short book titled "The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism."
- For more science that is still accessible to the general public, the Climate Change Compendium 2009 produced by the United Nations Environment Program provides a good overview of the state of climate change science.
- And to dive deeper into the science, see the America’s Climate Choices website (AmericasClimateChoices.org) and related publications produced by the United States National Academy of Science.
The bottom line is that scientists are confident climate change is occurring, and feel strongly that action is needed immediately to limit the impact to people and nature. Before you know it, climate change could be impacting your backyard — and may already be. Let’s all get informed and help inform others about good climate science.
— Text by Evan Girvetz, Cool Green Science Blog