Oh my goodness, where to begin. No, scientists do not believe that humans are a mistake of evolution (there are no mistakes or right/wrong in evolution). Yes, scientists do sometimes change their ideas based on new evidence (George Washington was killed by doctors feeding mercury into his blood because, at that time, they thought it was helpful…so do we write off all doctors forever?); willingness to change opinions based on logic is characteristic of intelligent thinking and lacking from groups who cling to beliefs for reasons other than seeking truth. Yes, of course climate change has existed independent of man since there was a climate on earth, no one denies that it is a natural phenomenon; what is an ‘inconvenient truth’ is that mankind is causing significant and sudden climate change primarily through (inarguable fact here) production of copious greenhouse gases since the industrial revolution. No one is suggesting that we ‘reduce our lifestyles’, just that we achieve the same comfort with less harmful technologies. yes, number diddling was suggested for a couple scientists who were discussing what statistical analysis was best, but (a) you don’t need any statistics to understand what is happening to the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and average temperature of the earth (those are raw data, no statistical tweaking), and (b) any scientist who did make up numbers would be fired and thereafter unemployable…why is that worth the risk? Yes there is money to study climate change, but only to verify whether it is real, our impact, its trajectory, and what we can do to alter it; it’s not like scientists who find positive results get more money (that’s not the way science and grant-writing works, sorry; read about the ‘scientific method’ and the null hypothesis). Yes, there is some limited money to be made in the carbon offset industry, but (a) it is absolutely insignificant compared to what is made in the fossil fuel industry and (b) there are no negative impacts of planting more trees. Yes, Al Gore is a hypocrite, but he has done a lot to get people to think about the issue, and that is a good thing. No, scientists are not anywhere near evenly split about the role of humankind in producing greenhouse gases and altering climate; like evolution, there is clear and overwhelming majority who agree on the subject, it is not even close. No, it is not true that most of the IPCC experts have no background related to climate change (LOL!!!). Yes, of course, the ocean is rising; why don’t you go visit Bangladesh or the Maldives and see for yourself. No, the majority of the IPCC’s thermometers are not on tarmacs. etc. ad nauseum.
Look, I’m not asking you to believe me. I already told you not to take climate advice from politicians, fuel industry, media, mechanics…or people in online forums like this. Don’t take my word. Go read the science for yourself and form your own opinion based on facts from the true experts on the subject. And while you’re at it, contemplate what’s at stake with the 4 different scenarios for whether we are causing harmful changes in the climate and what we do about it.
1. We do nothing to change our behavior and the climate scientists are wrong. Outcome = neutral. Nobody had to make any changes, and luckily not doing so didn’t bite us in the @ss. This is the option that carries the least perceived inconvenience and is therefore the path that most uniformed people choose to hope for. I can understand that; I wish it were true too! But it almost surely isn’t. And by the way, we will still run out of fossil fuels eventually and need to develop alternative energy options sooner or later; we are just delaying the inevitable.
2. We do change our behavior and the climate scientists are wrong. Outcome = neutral to positive. All we will have done is fast-track the inevitable transition from fossil fuels to alternative energy, and if we do it right, nobody has to make any personal sacrifices and no economies have to suffer. On the contrary, whatever country develops those alternative technologies first stands to make a lot of money and will probably be a super power for a long long time. I would like the USA to be a part of that, not left behind in the next dark ages, wouldn’t you?
3. We do change our behavior and the climate scientists are right. Outcome = positive. If we act quickly enough and minimize the pending impacts, we will have averted major catastrophe. Nothing bad about this.
4. We do nothing to change our behavior and the climate scientists were right. Outcome = negative. This would be a tragedy, perhaps the end of humanity, likely the end of civilization as we know it, certainly great hardship millions or billions of people. Nothing good can come of this.
There you go, 4 choices. 3 of them are neutral or positive in the end, 1 is catastrophic. Which 1 do you think we should plan for? The world’s most highly trained critical thinkers on the subject say human-induced climate change is real and about to bring the roof down on us. So what should the world’s most intelligent species do?