Climate Controversies

Perspectives on Recent Climate Science and Policy

Contributed by James R. Fleming and Wesley A. Baff
The IPCC

Time Line

Spectrum of Opinion 

Specific Issues

Key Players

Historical Perspectives

Conclusion

References

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Introduction

Is the globe warming? If so, by how much? What will be the economic, social, political, and ecological consequences of such changes? What can and should humans do? What mechanisms or policies should we have? Is there disagreement between what scientists know and what policy makers want to do? Where do the so-called "contrarians" fit into all of this? 

Contemporary climate issues are extremely complex and controversial. To make issues even more daunting, the debate between politicians and scientists has become increasingly intense over recent years, as they argue over the necessity and utility of implementing regulatory policy. While nature represents an objective state of affairs, recent observations have been contaminated by "science noise"; the falsification of empirical fact by scientists and policy makers, either voluntarily or unintentionally, which serves to distort what is true and delay any possibility of political and scientific progress. Such is the case with the recent global warming/climate change debate. Disagreements over the accuracy and representations of climate data, computer models, not to mention the mechanisms behind greenhouse warming represent only some of the science noise which is preventing scientists and policy makers, as well as the general public, from understanding the complete truth. Until scientists and decision makers are able read through this noise will we finally be able to resolve this great environmental controversy.

The following is an introduction to recent historical aspects of the ongoing debate over climate change. Our purpose is to provide perspectives on climate science and policy that will stimulate contribution from participants. Some readers may wish to view a basic timeline of events listing major meetings, organizations, policies, and scientific developments; others may wish to enter through the spectrum of opinion that describes the positions of the major participants in the controversy. One can also navigate through this site by looking up specific issues of interest such as climate models, emissions trading, or agricultural impact. There is also a search engine attached to these pages.

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