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Climate Change – The Consensus Among Scientists

During a speech in Indonesia recently, John Kerry called climate change “perhaps the most fearsome weapon of mass destruction.” Is this just more hyperbole from a liberal politician appointed by another liberal politician, or do we really have something to worry about?

I am not a scientist and most people who read this probably fell asleep in science class every once in awhile, but there is no doubt that climate change, or global warming is something that should concern even the most scientifically-challenged among us.

Photo by: ItzaFineDay on flickr

Photo by: ItzaFineDay on flickr

Kerry’s public push for the world to wake up to the realities of climate change takes place against a backdrop of over 200 nations negotiating about a possible new global treaty concerning greenhouse gas emissions and climate change. However, there are those who believe that all this climate change chatter is just pure nonsense – just liberal politicians finding new ways to tax and regulate. So, who’s right?

The only way to even come close to an answer is to go right to the experts. You know, those students who paid attention in science class and did their homework every night. A SkepticalScience.com study of over 12,000 peer-reviewed science abstracts on “global warming” and “global climate change” published between 1991 and 2011 found that over 97 percent of those abstracts agreed that human activity was causing global warming.

Another study, this one conducted by James Lawrence Powell, a real-life scientist and National Science Board member, looked at over 2,000 studies published in peer-review journals and only found one which denied global warming was man-made. Another recent study, published in the Journal of Climate determined with 95 percent confidence that global warming is man-made. It seems all too clear that there is a consensus among scientists that global warming is real and it is caused by humans.

In a blog on ScientificAmerican.com, Ashutosh Jogalekar, a chemist, writes, “consensus does not imply truth but I find it odd how there aren’t even a handful of scientists who deny global warming.” It would be presumptuous for the rest of us, the non-scientists amongst us, to deny the overwhelming opinion of scientists. If scientists really doubt that humans are causing global warming, where’s the research and the papers?

The debate we should have from this moment forward is not whether global warming is real, or whether it is caused or exacerbated by humans, the debate should be over the very near-future consequences and the potential solutions.

Remember that tale about Nero fiddling while Rome burned to the ground? Well, our politicians seem to be fiddling while our world burns. Your children, my children, and the children of the world must depend on our current crop of world leaders to listen to everyone who stayed awake in science class, and act now before it’s too late.

Photo by ItzaFineDay in flickr.com

About Fred Phillips