The majority of the scientific community involved in climate research is convinced of the reality of a current and future global warming due to the greenhouse effect, a change that must be largely caused by human activities. However, a minority of scientists is still skeptical of the notion that mankind is significantly influencing the climate of the earth, and it therefore argues against taking certain measures to avert this alleged global warming. In recent years the media have given considerable coverage to the statements of these skeptics. Reasons for their statements range from a simple argument that we do not understand the earth's climate system well enough to predict the future, to more complex arguments involving negative feedbacks and changes of solar activity. They question whether the global temperature increase in this century of up to 0.6 K is primarily a result of worldwide burning of fossil fuels. The purpose of this article is to show that the statements of this skeptical school of thought need to be critically analyzed (and in some cases refuted) in the light of current understanding of the planetary system that determines our climate. There is also another school of thought that agrees about the reality of present and future global warming, and claims that this will be beneficial for most of mankind and that it should be encouraged. The policy implications of the latter view are in many respects similar to those of the group that are not convinced that a significant global warming will occur. Both schools of thought argue against taking immediate steps to slow the climate change.
Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society – American Meteorological Society
Published: Apr 1, 1991
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