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FAQs

Below you will find links to several detailed FAQ resources that answer questions and misconceptions on climate change. For general resouces on climate and climate change, please see Links.

Skeptical Science

The website Skeptical Science provides the scientific responses to a large number of criticisms of climate change science, including the following 'top ten', and many other criticisms.
  1. It's the sun
  2. Climate's changed before
  3. There is no consensus
  4. It's cooling
  5. Models are unreliable
  6. Temp record is unreliable
  7. It hasn't warmed since 1998
  8. Ice age predicted in the 70s
  9. Antarctica is gaining ice
  10. We're heading into an ice age

Australian Academy of Science

The publication The Science of Climate Change: Questions and Answers provides clear responses to the following seven questions:
  1. What is climate change?
  2. How has Earth's climate changed in the distant past?
  3. How has climate changed during the recent past?
  4. Are human activities causing climate change?
  5. How do we expect climate to evolve in the future?
  6. What are the consequences of climate change?
  7. How do we deal with the uncertainty in the science?

ClimateWorks Australia

Video Q&A by Professor Dave Griggs covering the following questions:

Further details is provided by Dr Brett Parris' Responses to Questions & Objections on Climate Change, which addresses the following assertions:

  1. The IPCC is a political body and its reports are scientifically unreliable.
  2. Science is not about consensus - Galileo was ridiculed by the authorities and the scientific establishment
  3. There's no consensus - 31,000 scientists signed a petition denying the link between greenhouse gas emissions and climate change
  4. We should wait until there is more evidence before reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
  5. Climate change has been happening throughout geological and human history. What is happening now is not outside the bounds of natural climatic variability.
  6. Because what is happening now is within the realms of natural variability, we can't say that humans are contributing to climate change.
  7. Because what is happening now is within the realms of natural variability, it is not something to worry about.
  8. Species have always adapted.
  9. It was warmer during medieval times.
  10. Climate models are unreliable.
  11. There was a consensus among climate scientists in the 1970s that we would soon be heading into another ice age.
  12. Global warming ended around 1998 anyway - it's been cooling since then.
  13. Our best strategy is simply to adapt to climate change.
  14. CO2 exists only in very low concentrations in the atmosphere, therefore it cannot have significant effects.
  15. CO2 is a weak greenhouse gas. Doubling of CO2 from its pre-industrial levels of 280 ppm to 560 ppm would only bring warming of about 1ºC.
  16. CO2 is not a pollutant - it is completely natural and essential for life.
  17. Any warming is the Sun's fault.
  18. Climate change is due to the effects of cosmic rays.
  19. Lack of warming in the tropical troposphere (lower atmosphere) proves anthropogenic global warming is a myth.
  20. Coming out of the ice ages, the changes in CO2 happened after the warming began, so CO2 doesn't affect atmospheric temperatures.
  21. Antarctica is cooling, so that proves the global climate isn't warming.
  22. Action on climate change would ruin our economies.

Copenhagen Diagnosis

The recent Copenhagen Diagnosis, 2009: Updating the World on the Latest Climate Science answered the following common misconceptions about climate change in boxes within the text:
  • Is the greenhouse effect already saturated, so that adding more CO2 makes no difference? (p. 10)
  • Has global warming recently slowed down or paused? (p. 13)
  • Can solar activity or other natural processes explain global warming? (p. 14)
  • Isn't Antarctica cooling and Antarctic sea ice increasing? (p. 33)
  • Isn't climate always changing, even without human interference? (p. 45)
  • Are we just in a natural warming phase, recovering from the "little ice age"? (p. 46)
  • In climate history, didn't CO2 change in response to temperature, rather than the other way round? (p. 47)

RealClimate

The RealClimate FAQ answers the following questions, with many other topics addressed on the website:

Department of Climate Change

The Australian Government Department of Climate Change (DCC), together with CSIRO, has produced factsheets on the following "hot topics", which can be found on its Science - facts and fiction page:

IPCC AR4

The Working Group I Contribution to the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report included answers to basic Common Questions about climate change:

Links