The new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released yesterday ups the likelihood of dominant anthropogenic influence on climate change to greater than 95%. You can be sure that the denier's message machine is gearing-up for a new round of milling out doubt-messaging--not surprising, an election is on the horizon.
This is the 5th assessment report (AR5). Tune your critical-thinking skills, each new assessment report results in the deep-pocket denier machine producing lots of thinly-cloaked, but very slick-looking and smart-sounding confusion--just enough to ensure a majority of folks are confused and hold onto doubt so they don't need to believe that we are facing three uncomfortable and unavoidable outcomes: mitigation, adaptation, suffering (LG Thompson, 2010). If we invest NOW in mitigation, we can reduce the challenge of future adaptation and ease future suffering.
Unfortunately, denial works really well and is very inexpensive. Get ready for new books purporting to reveal controversy or conspiracy. Watch for slick television ads employing Maslov's basic levels of need to reach inside YOU to convince you your immediate comfort, warmth, security, and well being depend on your doubting and resisting calls for change. Watch for the witchdoctors, too: the talking heads that tout PhD's and then talk about how scientists don't agree (that's called peer review, part of the the scientific method). Parse their arguments and you will be participating in consumer review, and you will conclude that their flatulence does not contribute to science. This is about real science--not just politics as usual. There is too much at stake.
The physical science basis for the climate change attribution is summarized in the new report, IPCC Report Summary for Policymakers. The report summarizes large quantities of new science, a meta-analysis.
A few highlights:
"Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia.The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, greenhouse gases have increased"This report is worth your attention. LG Thompson's and other papers in the volume at the link above are worth you time, too. Be a smart consumer.
"The atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane, and nitrous oxide have increased to levels unprecedented in at least the last 800,000 years. CO2 concentrations have increased by 40% since pre-industrial times, primarily from fossil fuel emissions and secondarily from net land use change emissions. The ocean has absorbed about 30% of the emitted anthropogenic carbon dioxide, causing ocean acidification."
"Human influence on the climate system is clear. This is evident from the increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, positive radiative forcing, observed warming, and understanding of the climate system,"
"Human influence has been detected in warming of the atmosphere and the ocean, in changes in the global water cycle, in reductions in snow and ice, in global mean sea level rise, and in changes in some climate extremes... This evidence for human influence has grown since AR4. It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century."