The purpose of the range of links placed here is to introduce students to current climate theories and controversies. The arguments are complex and the emotions sometimes overtake rational scientific theories. This blog attempts to present a full range of views and you need to develop your own ideas and make an assessment of the differing views on climate. It is good to critique the hypotheses and the proofs that are presented on all sides.
However, you need to be very clear on this: your Geography examiners will expect you to show a clear understanding of man-made CO2 global warming in your exam answers.
So there is a limit to the extent to which your own understanding of the critique of anthropogenic global warming (AGW) is helpful. This is one area of academic study where an open mind is discouraged! You must support the “right side” in your exam answers!
These days, whenever climate is discussed in exam answers, you are rewarded for including some reference to man-made global warming. This is important to remember. Climate change should be attributed to man-made global warming due to CO2 emissions. We may examine both sides of the argument and come to our own view of the evidence, but there is only one acceptable theory that we must believe!
The NASA climate website linked in the climate change links page justifies the thinking behind only presenting one view. In the introduction to its education pages there are five key principles for teaching only the theory of anthropogenic global warming, as follows:
- The overwhelming consensus of scientific studies on climate indicates that most of the observed increase in global average temperatures since the latter part of the 20th century is very likely due to human activities, primarily from increases in greenhouse gas concentrations resulting from the burning of fossil fuels.
- Emissions from the widespread burning of fossil fuels since the start of the Industrial Revolution have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Because these gases can remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years before being removed by natural processes, their warming influence is projected to persist into the next century.
- Human activities have affected the land, oceans, and atmosphere, and these changes have altered global climate patterns. Burning fossil fuels, releasing chemicals into the atmosphere, reducing the amount of forest cover, and the rapid expansion of farming, development, and industrial activities are releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and changing the balance of the climate system.
- Growing evidence shows that changes in many physical and biological systems are linked to human caused global warming. Some changes resulting from human activities have decreased the capacity of the environment to support various species and have substantially reduced ecosystem biodiversity and ecological resilience.
- Scientists and economists predict that there will be both positive and negative impacts from global climate change. If warming exceeds 2 to 3°C (3.6 to 5.4°F) over the next century, the consequences of the negative impacts are likely to be much greater than the consequences of the positive impacts.
The key statement in the introduction to the NASA education pages is this: “There is very high confidence that the net effect of human activities since 1750 has been one of warming.” (reference to this quote)
Royal Society report on climate change and extreme weather: