The Big Global Warming Debate: Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate


  • 05/09/2011
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Prof Fred Singer will examine the fundamental question in the climate change debate: Is the cause of current climate changes primarily natural or is it human- caused? Aside from its scientific importance, the question has great significance for policy. If climate change is natural, if there is no appreciable Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW), then there is little we can do about it. We’d better just adapt — as humans have been doing for many millennia.

Climate is always changing; warming or cooling on many time scales. So the overall warming of the 20th century could well be natural. On the other hand, the growing level of human activity, esp. generation of energy by fossil-fuel burning, has increased levels of atmospheric greenhouse (GH) gases, esp. carbon dioxide (CO2). So an anthropogenic cause is also plausible. How to decide? That’s the essence of the climate debate

S. Fred Singer is professor emeritus at the Univ of Virginia and director of the Science & Environmental Policy Project. His specialty is atmospheric and space physics. An expert in remote sensing and satellites, he served as the founding director of the US Weather Satellite Service and, more recently, as vice chair of the US National Advisory Committee on Oceans & Atmosphere.

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