Science of climate change
Climate change due to human influence is accepted as scientific consensus, and includes global warming and variations in rainfall patterns. Some areas will become drier, others wetter; most will become warmer, but some may become cooler; ice caps will melt (though how much is unclear) and sea levels will rise. This is expected have devastating effects on vulnerable communities.
The overall effect is most accurately termed 'climate change' rather than 'global warming' as there are many changes of concern besides warming, and localized effects are very varied.
Global warming refers to the increase in the average temperature of the Earth's near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation. Global warming is accepted as the scientific consensus.
The global average air temperature near the Earth's surface rose 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the last 100 years. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes, "most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations" via the greenhouse effect.
Climate change skepticsW are a very small and decreasing minority of scientists and a relatively large number of economists. This does not require proving it beyond doubt: consider the practice of the insurance industry to plan for outcomes of varying degrees of likelihood. As the scientific consensus is that there is a very strong probability (the IPCC says 90%[verification needed]) that humans are causing significant climate change, it is vital to prepare for it.
There is less agreement over the best solutions. For example, the role of nuclear energy is endorsed by some, but opposed by many, especially environmentalists. The relative importance of climate change as opposed to directly addressing poverty are open to debate.
The positive contribution that climate skeptics can make includes critical analysis of technologies and strategies - this applies when it is considered and informed analysis rather than polemic.
Such contrarian viewpoints and critical analysis can be found at:
Note: this is not an endorsement of arguments found at these websites. However, if a site is assessed in depth and found to be seriously inaccurate and misleading, it should be removed from this page, and the reasons given on the talk page (where the decision can be noted and reviewed by the Appropedia community).
Note that Appropedia is focused on solutions and has only basic and especially relevant information on climate science. See Wikipedia:Climate science as a starting point for climate science information.
Note: Please help identify any good existing wikis on climate science, apart from Wikipedia.