Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Top 5 Misconceptions of Climate Change Part I


by Gabe Mouer
Over the last two decades the earth has seen its 10 hottest years since records began in 1873.1 We can no longer deny it; global warming is a fact. As the evidence continues to manifest before our eyes, arguments have gradually shifted from denial to who, or what, is to blame. This battle of “man-made” vs “naturally occurring” has become the paramount debate as the issue continues to hinder the development of possible solutions to the problem.
In a recent poll published in March, 2012, Gallup reported that an astounding 41% of Americans remain skeptical of anthropogenic, or man-made, climate change.2 While this number is down from a previous high of 46% reported in 2010, the number of Americans that believe in anthropogenic climate change too has dropped progressively from a high of 61% in 2007 to only 51% in 2012. What can account for this lack of consensus among the public? Over the next several weeks I will be listing 5 common misconceptions of climate change in an attempt to address why we have yet to reach a consensus. These articles act as an attempt to address concerns of both global warming deniers, as well as those who are skeptical that we should be held accountable. 

#5 “Scientists do not agree on the cause of climate change.”
A great deal of money has been spent by oil-companies and think-tanks to convince the American public that there is a rift among scientists with regards to the cause of global warming.3 Although there is a small handful of scientists who have yet to be convinced, this minority is markedly exaggerated. Several independent inquiries have shown that 95-99% of climate scientists agree that our current climate change is anthropogenic.4 More so, in a separate investigation of all peer-reviewed studies of climate change between 1993-2003 zero opposed human-induced climate change.5 For experts, the evidence points solely to one conclusion; human beings are the primary cause.

Although number 5 is fairly straightforward, as we move down the list these misconceptions will become more nuanced and engrossing. Please check back in the coming weeks for more answers to popular climate myths.

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REFERENCES
1http://blogs.nicholas.duke.edu/thegreengrok/2008temps/
2http://www.gallup.com/poll/153608/global-warming-views-steady-despite-warm-winter.aspx
3http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/science/earth/in-heartland-institute-leak-a-plan-to-discredit-climate-teaching.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
4http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf
5http://www.sciencemag.org/content/306/5702/1686.full

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