How to Find Reliable Information on Climate Change

Interested in learning more about climate change? Worried about the hype surrounding information on climate change but still want to find reliable information to make up your own mind on what to do? Here are some tips to get you started.


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    Understand the meaning of climate change. Climate change was a term first coined at the beginning of the twentieth century to cover shifts in climate. In the 1970s, scientists started noticing a gradual warming of the planet, and chose the term global warming to reflect this. Nowadays, although global warming remains a popular term, scientists prefer the more general term climate change because it reflects the unfortunate reality that some parts of earth are going to become colder, wild weather events are going to increase in intensity and the changes across the planet are not going to reflect one even warming pattern.
    • More specifically, climate change is referring to the natural change in climate over time. Anthropogenic climate change is the change in climate due to human activity. While the former is widely accepted, the latter is the cause of great controversy.
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    Stick with the science. A lot has been written about climate change and a lot of it reflects personal agendas, deliberately misleading propaganda arguments, misinterpretations and misunderstandings. Some of the disinformation has been dressed-up to look like science.
    • Always question the material that you find and try to analyze it to see whether or not it is aiming to be objective. Although that is not always easy, because spurious organizations with impressive-sounding names have been set-up to peddle pseudo-science.
    • Be sensitive to who has produced the information and the interests behind the organization, group or individual producing the information.
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    Use the internet wisely. Look for reputable sites that carry scientifically based information and present evenly balanced information. Always wear your thinking cap, whatever the caliber of a site, as your questions about what you read are as important as anyone else's. The following sites are considered some of the reputable sites with reliable sources of scientific assessment information on climate change:
    • IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).
    • WMO - United Nations World Meteorological Organization
    • UKCIP - UK Climate Impacts Programme
    • ENSEMBLES - EU climate modeling project
    • The Royal Society- The Royal Society has produced this overview of the weight of scientific evidence on climate change.
    • Spencer Weart's Discovery of Global Warming - A historical perspective of the development of climate science from the American Institute of Physics. Contains numerous scientific references to the underlying science.
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    Make sense of the information. Use the help of those who have dedicated time, money and other resources to sifting through the scientific assessment information to bring you information in a more easily digested presentation but still in an accurate and reliable manner. The following sites are an example of some of the reputable research and news sites on climate change:
    • RealClimate - Climate science by working climate scientists without the politics.
    • The Heat is Online - news from investigative journalist Ross Gelbspan
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    Bookmark your favourite climate change sites. Visit them regularly to keep yourself informed and up-to-date. Use reliable knowledge to make an informed decision on the topic.


  • The temperature of the earth has never been stagnant. The planet has always been either warming or cooling, but the recent anomalous warming is unique in the last several hundreds of thousands of years.
  • Keep in mind that not every climate scientist believes in anthropogenic climate change. However, there is good reason that most of the naysayers are involved in the disinformation industry. Most of the scientists who dispute the science of climate change are NOT climate scientists and they should probably be ignored. The overwhelming majority of working climate scientists have been persuaded by the evidence that: the climate is changing; that it's caused by accumulating greenhouse gases and that the accumulating GHGs are the result of human activity, or releases of GHGs from natural sources stimulated by the human-induced warming.
  • Take care when trusting the content of blog sites on climate change. Whilst there are some good ones on climate change, the very nature of blogs lends itself to impassioned pleas, abusive diatribes and nutty science. Look for the sound, sensible and well-balanced ones. They're out there, just be discerning. A very reputable blog is Real Climate, run by top climate scientists from around the world.
  • Avoid any source of information that introduces politics as an argument. The only permissible exception is where participants are reminded to avoid introducing political arguments. Politics has no part to play in objective science.
  • There have been repeated attempts to discredit the IPCC, Kyoto, prominent climate scientists and sites like RealClimate, by accusing them of political bias. These are smear tactics and were voiced by various individuals and groups with an anti-science political agenda.
  • Uncertainty Does Not Call For Inaction: special issue from 2007 of the web journal Economists' Voice - The climate scientist Michael Tobis (link not possible) points-out that It is interesting that this idea that costly actions are unwarranted if the dangers are uncertain is almost unique to climate. In other areas of policy, such as terrorism, nuclear proliferation, inflation, or vaccination, some “insurance” principle seems to prevail: if there is a sufficient likelihood of sufficient damage we take some measured anticipatory action. Tobis also points-out that due to the lack of certainty, that this is an argument for increased caution, not less. As an example, when having to cross an area where there might be a mine-field: Would you stride ahead confidently, because there was no evidence of problems ahead, or would you proceed with great caution?

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Categories: Environmental Awareness