Climate change is fueling extremism, raising tempers along with temperatures, and contributing to conflict. However, while there is ample evidence that manmade climate change is a cause for concern, not everyone agrees with the scientific consensus on climate change, including some who dispute that manmade climate change is real. In the United States, there is a significant number of Americans who reject the science behind manmade climate change, rejecting the overwhelming consensus on the scientific consensus. There are several reasons why this is the case, as explained by Paul Ehrlich in The Population Bomb:
In a review of the literature in 1996, Professor E.O. Wilson of Harvard wrote that “a few scientists are willing at least to entertain the possibility that the climate of the past 20,000 years was not more than a little bit warmer than it is today, and the possibility of global warming is not a part of the scientific consensus.” In 2013, Michael Mann of Pennsylvania State University challenged such claims, pointing out that the models that have been used to project climate change for the coming decades rely on a steady increase in greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere. Mann explained: “The basic climate models, for example, that I use do not have a big effect on climate. The amount of warming that takes place is pretty much within the range of natural variability.” While Mann’s explanation is technically correct, it does not explain the fact that much of the political and scientific debate about global warming has come from those who deny the existence of a temperature rise at all. So what is it about the scientific consensus on climate change that sets many apart from those who reject it?
The climate debate is far from settled
There is no agreement on what climate science is. For instance, most scientists believe that the climate is changing, and that climate change is largely caused by human activity. What is the consensus, however, on what causes climate change? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is an independent panel of experts from the United Nations, in a recent report from 2014, concluded that climate change is caused by human activities, such as human population expansion and land conversion, as well as global heating of the oceans. However, there is considerable debate about climate models and their reliability. These models do not agree about the extent and timing of climate change, as well as how climate change will affect the world.
The models used to project changes in the Earth’s energy imbalance do not agree with a number of observations. Some scientists suggest that