There is a considerable difference between what science tells us about climate change and what scientists often tell us about climate change. Science can provide data such as measurements and statistics. Scientists offer hypotheses based on such data and possible experimental ways of potentially testing their hypotheses to prove or disprove their validity.
However, scientists are also people with opinions and political viewpoints, who may have a willingness to exaggerate their results or state unsubstantiated opinions as scientific hypotheses. The Earth's climate is the result of a vast number of interactive events, both physical and chemical realities; numbering at least in the trillions if not more; beyond our ability to determine at this time, on a calculated, scientific basis.
Although, there is a project called the Living Earth System; currently being developed in Scandinavia and elsewhere, with the expectation of producing a computer modeling system utilizing a very large supercomputer array able to encompass the whole Earth as data over a functionally useful time period. The LES system is not only expected to entail physical data, but psychological and sociological data pertinent to human advancement as well. So maybe in 10 years or so we will be able to model the global climate accurately and hopefully that will not be too late if nothing is done beforehand.
Despite this reality, many scientists from a multitude of fields are quite happy to voice their opinions about the world's weather or climate. Often failing to make clear they are voicing their opinion, perhaps from arrogance, due to financial incentives, or sincere concern; they fail to clarify that what they are saying is their opinion rather than scientifically established fact.
Scientific investigation can provide us with hard data applicable to a specific location, situation and time. Information that is clearly factual, that we may possibly be able to extrapolate from.
The science of meteorology has been monitoring and recording weather data from numerous sites around the world, and the number of sites has been steadily increasing. From that data, meteorologists can establish an average, annual, global temperature that is comparable to that determined from previous years. This information makes clear that the trend for the average global temperature is a slow rise over time, what is referred to as global warming. Essentially, the average temperature of the Earth's atmosphere, the gaseous layer surrounding the Earth is increasing.
Experimentation with the physics of gaseous systems tells us that increasing the temperature of gases causes them to become more active. Extrapolating this to our atmosphere, it indicates that global warming will cause more active air systems and interactions, which in weather terms means more frequent, more severe storms that continue for longer. Something that is already occurring as many people are observing in their local climates and that meteorological statistics supports.
The science of oceanography tells us through measurements repeated over decades that the sea level is rising and that the maximum area and thickness of the polar ice caps in their respective winters is shrinking. The Pacific islanders complaining about the steadily reducing land area of their islands, particular those that are atolls rather than volcanic, and increased flood damage during storms, have a valid and legitimate reason for complaint.
The study of ice cores drilled from the Antarctic gives us snapshots through trapped air bubbles of the composition of gases in the ground level atmosphere over the last 400,000 years, to compare with those recorded over the last 50 to 100 years. This tells us that the current level of carbon dioxide in our air is the highest it has ever been in that period and is well outside the normal range. It passed the typical high in the late 1950s and has continued to increase ever since.
What science cannot do at this time, is prove or disprove that climate change is resulting from global warming, or that global warming is occurring because of increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, or that increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are primarily due to anthropogenic (human created) causes.
Many scientists in today's world seem to be voicing opinions based on politics rather than science; whether supporting or decrying humanity's culpability in stimulating climate change. No matter which side they support, their opinions have little, if any, more value than that of people who are intelligent and reasonably informed laypeople!
When scientists express their thoughts, opinions or hypotheses on the basis of the data available to them, they are benefiting humanity by expanding our knowledge base. This is so whether their thoughts are correct or not. Because, whether true or not, what they profess has to be considered by others in their field. To either be accepted or rejected, but stimulating relevant thought and consideration in either regard. As long as such scientists are functioning on the basis of discovery, rather than personal financial advantage, humanity as a whole has the potential to advance and develop.
Our current scientific understanding of climate change is quite limited, not because we are scientifically inept, but because the financial resources that would allow and enhance our ability to explore climate realities hinge on the determinations made. Scientists that determine that climate change is the result of natural affects and circumstances generally receive large financial grants from their governments or multinational corporations, in our supposedly civilized Western nations; while those determining the opposite receive little in the way of financial resources or are actively deterred.
Those who show evidence that various negative industrial practices are detrimentally damaging both to the environment and humanity are actively discredited, denounced or sometimes die “accidentally” or are quite blatantly assassinated. Because many of the rich and powerful, whether individuals or the boards of multi-national corporations, are so because of their investments in old, dirty technology. They do not wish to see their power and influence weakened, and they certainly do not want to see a flood of legal cases suing them for damages. The activities carried out or instigated by big business in many of the undeveloped nations, such as mineral companies in the Congo, readily demonstrate that the bottom line is far more important than the lives of “unimportant nobodies”.
Those who show evidence indicating natural causes contributing to global warming and climate change tend to receive increased funding for their research. Death threats have been unlikely in the past but may become more common in the future as those big business call “eco-terrorists” feel time is running out to make effective changes.
At this point in time, climate change is predominantly a political issue. Science is not capable of telling us very much about it, climatology being in its relative infancy. The scientists that make declarations about climate change, no matter which side of the political divide they are on, are primarily expressing their personal opinions, not scientific fact.
We can learn a lot about climate change, its impact on human society now and in the relatively near future, if we utilize the creative abilities of our scientists rather than attempting to restrict or direct them. Scientists allowed to openly think and consider environmental realities, rather than being constrained to pretend the negative impacts of ignorant political agencies never occurred, and can not be corrected because they never “occurred”, may possibly advance a compromise situation that benefits both the arrogant wealthy and the vast majority that is everyone else.
We need to utilize our scientific abilities for the benefit of all humanity. Provide the funds and resources to allow our scientifically capable geniuses to provide us with solutions that can repair the environmentally destructive practices we have foolishly engaged in over the last hundred years or so. Instead of mostly providing funds to scientists willing to reach the results their paymasters desire: that human technology and dirty industrial processes are not to blame, or that the answer is to build more nuclear fission power stations. If the untold billions invested in research into nuclear fission reactors had been invested in clean tech, sustainable energy generation instead, it is doubtful there would be a need to write this article.