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Climate Change: A Summary of the Science

Posted by Andrew at 1:00 AM on October 19, 2010

The politics of the green movement and the polarity of views have often prevented real debate on climate change from happening.   Each side will reinforce their opinion with selective facts from the data and use every opportunity to ridicule their opposition’s theories.  A great deal of the climate discussion that has appeared in the media has been coloured by specious facts and bad science.

To counter this and open up the debate, the Royal Society has published a 19 page document (.pdf) called, “Climate Change: A Summary of the Science“, which is effectively a primer on the science behind climate change.  It attempts to be a balanced view, with notes on the background science, what is widely agreed, what is still debated, what is not well understood and what developments we can expect.

The Royal Society is an independent “Fellowship of more than 1400 outstanding individuals from all areas of science, mathematics, engineering and medicine, who form a global scientific network of the highest calibre.”  Consequently, I think that we can be confident that the working group setup to produce the document has used a scientific approach to assess the climate change data and present the information fairly.  In several areas, uncertainty is acknowledged.

However, the concluding remarks are fairly clear with regard to the evidence for climate change.
There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human
activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last
half century. This warming trend is expected to continue as are changes in precipitation
over the long term in many regions. Further and more rapid increases in sea level are
likely which will have profound implications for coastal communities and ecosystems.”

I would encourage everyone to read this document (there’s only about 11 pages of reading) so that you can understand the science, take part in the debate and help develop the policies in response to climate change.

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