First off, let's clear the air: There is a scientific consensus that fossil fuel emissions are causing major changes to our climate and planet.

Every expert agrees. In fact, there is no national science academy or atmospheric science organization in the world that rejects the science of human-caused climate change.

If you're curious, here is how climate change works:

*The mix of gases in the atmosphere regulates our planet’s temperature. These gases determine how much heat from the sun stays on the planet, and how much returns into space. Carbon dioxide and other “greenhouse gases” have a heating effect. They act as a blanket, warming the globe. For the past 12,000 years, this greenhouse gas blanket has kept the earth at relatively stable temperatures that have enabled the growth of our global civilization and massive population. Over the last few centuries, as we have burned fossil fuels and cut down trees en masse, we have pumped huge amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This has effectively thickened our atmospheric blanket, and increased the planet’s average surface and ocean temperatures. The earth has warmed roughly 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since the industrial revolution. Two thirds of that warming has occurred in the past few decades. 
 
*This is consensus knowledge. It has been understood that carbon dioxide causes warming since 1859! The American Association for the Advancement of Science described the consensus thusly:

This agreement is documented not just by a single study, but by a converging stream of evidence over the past two decades from surveys of scientists, content analyses of peer-reviewed studies, and public statements issued by virtually every membership organization of experts in this field.

In fact, there is no national science academy or atmospheric science organization that rejects the science of human-caused climate change.

*The only reason there appears to be any debate at all is that the fossil fuel industry has spent hundreds of millions of dollars on a misinformation campaign, like tobacco companies did during the 1960s, intended to obscure settled science. Unfortunately, this well-financed, ferocious campaign has persuaded many influential pundits and politicians to argue that we should ignore and minimize climate change. This misinformation campaign appeals to the psychological impulse to deny climate change—it's scary and overwhelming, and we wish it didn't exist, so when someone tells us that it isn’t real, or that it's not so bad, we breathe a sigh of relief and don’t ask too many questions!

Resources

How climate change works:

Climate change has a scientific consensus:

 

Misinformation campaign sows doubt:

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  • published this page in Learn More 2016-02-15 16:43:43 -0500