The Truth About Climate Change

Strong vested interests have spent millions of dollars on spreading misinformation about climate change, first denying its existence, and more recently claiming that its impacts will not be great, that we can “wait and see,” and that in any case we can always fix the problem if it turns out to be substantial. The scientific evidence does not support such arguments.

EXETER – Many people ask how sure we are about the science of climate change. The most definitive examination of the scientific evidence is to be found in the work of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its last major report published in 2007. I had the privilege of being chairman or co-chairman of the Panel’s scientific assessments from 1988 to 2002.

Many hundreds of scientists from different countries were involved as contributors and reviewers for these reports, which are probably the most comprehensive and thorough international assessments on any scientific subject ever carried out. In June 1995, just before the G-8 summit in Scotland, the Academies of Science of the world’s 11 largest economies (the G-8 plus India, China, and Brazil) issued a statement endorsing the IPCC’s conclusions and urging world governments to take urgent action to address climate change. The world’s top scientists could not have spoken more strongly.

Unfortunately, strong vested interests have spent millions of dollars on spreading misinformation about climate change. First, they tried to deny the existence of any scientific evidence for global warming. More recently, they have largely accepted the fact of anthropogenic (man-made) climate change but argue that its impacts will not be great, that we can “wait and see,” and that in any case we can always fix the problem if it turns out to be substantial.

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