There has been a lot of debate in the past couple decades about climate change. What is it, is it real, and if so, is it caused by human activity? The scientific community made up its mind long ago that climate change is real and is caused by people. But the public has struggled to accept these facts. By refusing to acknowledge that it is real and harmful, mankind is continuing to harm the environment and worsen the effects of global warming.
How can we be sure that climate change is real? And if it is real, how do we know humans are causing it? First, it’s important to understand the link between carbon emissions and climate alteration. The fundamental argument for manmade influence is that we are emitting too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, causing the earth to trap heat from the sun and slowly get warmer.
Nobody debates the fact that humans are emitting carbon dioxide. Cars, planes, and even power plants that produce our electricity all produce carbon dioxide, which goes straight into earth’s atmosphere. Understanding how these carbon emissions cause increases in temperatures seems to be trickier for some (these arguments are all key for anyone discussing this topic, especially for IELTS students ).
Scientists now have simple proof that increased carbon in the atmosphere leads to warmer temperatures, thanks to new fossil records. Paleoclimatology is the use of fossils to study earth’s climate. Scientists in the field of paleoclimatology have found that in periods in which there was increased carbon in the atmosphere, temperatures were warmer.
In fact, scientists have found fossils of leaves dating back about 55 million years. These fossils indicate that during this time period, there was significantly more carbon in the atmosphere-about four times more than current levels. Scientists have also found fossils to indicate that the earth was so warm 55 million years ago that crocodiles lived within the Arctic Circle.
This is hardly the only scientific evidence to prove that climate change is real and is manmade. There are likely hundreds, if not thousands, of bits of evidence that can be pieced together to show that climate change exists. The problem, therefore, is not a lack of evidence. Back in 2013, an analysis of over 4,000 scientific papers showed that 97% supported the theory that climate change is real and manmade. Surveys of scientists studying the earth’s climate show the same figure-97% of these climate scientists believe climate change is real.
This makes global warming one of the few issues where the general public disagrees with the scientific community. Why do people with no scientific background at all feel that they can judge the validity of scientists’ theories on climate change?
Politics may be one reason. Rather than being presented as a scientific or environmental issue, this issue is often seen as a political issue. Information about the changing climate has been manipulated by politicians to make it seem as though scientists are still debating whether or not it is real. Politicians can tell their constituents that scientists are undecided and pocket big contributions from oil companies who don’t want to see strict regulations imposed on carbon emissions.
But when people understand the truth about the scientific consensus on climate change, they’re much more likely to believe it’s real. After all, it’s tough to argue with 97% of the scientific community. In this case, scientists are sending a clear message-global warming is real!