Climate change: man-made and impactable? Natural and inevitable? Fake news? Who to believe?
Actually, it’s not that difficult to determine.
Climate “emergencies” have been declared by a number of countries, including Canada, Portugal, Ireland and France, and by individual cities such as Paris, New York, Toronto and Vancouver. Earlier this month, a collection of more than 11,000 scientists from 153 countries made a similar declaration. The declaration comes just two years after 15,000 scientists from 184 countries issued a similar “warning to humanity” on the perils of a rapidly changing climate.
If that sounds like a lot of scientists, well, that’s because it is.
But it’s not all of them, so the science isn’t settled, right? Newspaper letters pages, online discussion sites and other forums where people exchange ideas and opinions are filled with references to scientists sounding a different tone on the topic.
While a number of these “scientists” are more pundit than professor, some would ask that you give their views credence, or at least consideration. Well, the reality is that they have been considered.
The views and theories of the dissenters have all been tested and examined over the years through scientific means and found contrary to the conclusion of the overwhelming majority of researchers.
A glut of studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals have shown that 97 per cent or more of “actively publishing climate scientists” agree that climate-warming trends over the past century are “extremely likely due to human activities.” Further, most leading scientific organizations from around the globe have issued public statements endorsing this position. Yes, if you scour the internet, you can find “experts” who discourage what they call climate “alarmism,” but understand that if they are scientists they are holders of a 3% minority viewpoint among their peers.
Perhaps the best way to put the scientific consensus numbers into context is to ask yourself, if you were sick and able to poll 100 doctors on your condition and 97 said, “Have the surgery or this is going to get ugly” and three said, “Let’s wait and see if it clears up,” whose advice are you going to take?
A little over a year ago, the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report warning there were then only a dozen years left for action to be taken to keep global warming to a maximum of 1.5C, beyond which, they stated, even half a degree will significantly increase risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people.
But hey, not everyone agrees, so maybe we should just wait and see if it clears up?