Climate Change – the research, the scientific consensus & scepticism

The more I read into this topic the more I feel the need to address some of the solid research and science that underpins understandings of climate change.  There has been an ongoing discussion on it in scientific circles for at least a generation. I can’t address every point, but what I’d like to do is present a summary of the arguments, but in proportion to the a mount of science actually involved. On this last point I’ll set the emphasis that I believe is appropriate by quoting Ed Miliband, the UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary, who said:

The overwhelming body of scientific information is stacked up against the deniers and shows us that climate change is man-made and is happening now. We know that we still have a way to go in informing people about climate change and that is why we make no apologies about pushing forward with our new Act on CO2 campaign.

Majority Scientific Position on Climate Change
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the leading body for the assessment of climate change.  It was stablished by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). It has an established protocol for assessing scientific research on climate change. The most recent major statement from the IPCC was the The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) which released by the IPCC in 2007.  This report provides the best scientific evidence on the causes and effects of climate change. The AR4 led the governments of the world, meeting in Bali at the Conference in 2007 to agree on a roadmap that would lead to an effective agreement to fight climate change at the climate change conference in Copenhagen, just a few weeks from now.

In Beyond the Ivory Tower: the scientific consensus on climate change the AAAS online journal reminds us that while the IPCC states unequivocally that the consensus of scientific opinion is that most of the observed warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been due to the increase in greenhouse gas concentrations that the IPCC is not alone in its conclusions. They cite a number of bodies in the US affirming the IPCC position. These bodies include, the National Academy of Sciences , The American Meteorological Society, the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) all of which have colcluded that the evidence for human modification of climate is compelling.

Climate Change Sceptics
A useful place to start in examining the arguments put forward by the climate change sceptics is The Climate Sceptics. They have support from a significant minority group amounting to about 650 globally named in the 2008 US Senate Minority report on Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW). Amongst their number is a significant group from Australia and New Zealand.  One position adopted by climate change sceptics is expressed  in the Manhattan declaration on Climate Change.

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