Beyond a Reasonable Doubt

The recent IPCC Assessment Report concluded as a “virtual certainty” that Greenhouse Gases were the principal cause of climate change.

In a previous commentary we anticipated the response of denialists. We observed that:

  • cautious language in the Report would lessen its impact on public opinion;
  • the use of the qualifier “virtual” – after all these years of study some lay persons might expect a direct statement that either GHG are a cause or they are not!
  • climate models projected an increase in the world average temperature as a consequence of increased GHG emissions. Denialists point to a pause in global warming over fifteen years while emissions have increased.

To avoid interminable discussion over the significance of “virtual”, 4RG has a different approach.   Yes, until new observations are made and further studies carried out there is a “doubt”.   But the world must not wait until every last “doubt” is resolved.

 “The Science is very clear and the debate is over. Climate change is happening now, it’s getting worse and humans have caused the majority of it,” said Christian Holz, Executive Director of Climate Action Network Canada. “Climate scientists have done their job – again – in making this clear beyond any reasonable doubt and now the issue is in the hands of societies and their leaders to fix.”

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