The concerned citizen's guide to global warming

Worried, but maybe just a little confused?
Never fear. David Randall cuts through the conflicting claims with
his concerned citizen’s guide to global warming

of us are environment specialists, least of all me. I’m what most
of us probably are on the eve of Copenhagen: a concerned citizen
with only passing lay knowledge, who’s getting more confused by the

After all, the past few weeks have brought the
inevitable pre-climate-conference rash of reports, dismal forecasts
and counter-claims from the warming sceptics, not to mention the
leaking of worrying emails from this country’s leading climate

My position is probably that of many readers:
the world has warmed considerably during the last century, and with
a speed that suggests, at the very least, some non-naturally
occurring factors at work. And, given the 10-fold rise in human
population since the eve of industrialisation in 1750, plus our
massive consumption of carbon-based fuels and materials and the
expansion of livestock agriculture, it would be extraordinary if
human activity had not played a role - probably a crucial one - in
this warming.

But while, for most of us, climate is a matter
of science, there are those at either extreme who have fanaticised
it to the point where evidence is irrelevant. Faith, and
point-scoring, are all. (If you doubt that, look at any newspaper’s
message board on the subject.) There are hucksters who have given
even parts of the recycling and carbon-reduction business a
questionable name; and there’s the trainee Jeremy Clarksons who
take any cool summer and use it as ammunition for their saloon-bar
scoffing. So, head down to dodge the crossfire of opposing
polemicists, salesmen and mission-statement writers, I set out to
discover what exactly we now know, and don’t know, about global

  1. What is the truth about global

  2. What impact is warming having on the
    world now?

  3. Can we be sure evidence is not being
    cooked up - on either side?

  4. What is forecast to happen to
    climate this century?

  5. How certain are we that warming is
    not a natural phenomenon?

  6. Is What are the main causes of the
    greenhouse effect?

  7. Is there a “tipping
    point”, and when will it come?

  8. So why don’t we, with one great
    political heave, aim to have the world carbon-neutral within a

  9. And what about the changes I’m
    making in my life? Are they having any effect?

  10. Can we stop global

target=”_blank”>Read the full article to find the answers to these


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