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Scientists launch guide to add evidence to arguments about climate change

11 December 2014

Expert climate scientists at the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, have published a new ‘Short guide to climate science’ that aims to put more scientific evidence into pub and family arguments on climate change.

The guide is made up of 20 short questions and answers about climate science, which tackle the things typically raised by people who dismiss the current scientific basis of climate science.

Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society said:

“Most people in the UK grasp the basics of climate science and the need to take sensible actions about global warming.  However we all know someone who claims to know better than the vast majority of expert climate scientists around the world.  The ill-informed pub bore or the family know-it- all who claims, with great confidence, either that global warming is not a problem or at the other end of the spectrum that extreme catastrophe is just around the corner.

“Our guide is designed so that the next time you meet someone who expresses extreme views on climate science, you can quickly get the facts on your phone and politely correct them.”

The guide is accompanied by an animation explaining the basics of climate science in 60 seconds. The scientists hope that people use the two together as a reliable introduction to the latest climate science and to provide the information to understand the basics of climate change for themselves.

Some of the questions featured in the guide include:

  • Is the climate warming?
  • Does the recent slowdown of warming mean that climate change is no longer happening?
  • How does climate change affect the strength and frequency of floods, droughts, hurricanes and tornadoes?
  • How fast is sea level rising?

Paul Nurse, President of the Royal Society, continued:

“Climate science is very complex, but it is something people read in the headlines all the time. This document is for people who want to hear straight from expert climate scientists, without bias or spin, the science behind what is happening to our climate. Increases in atmospheric temperatures are not the only ‘hot air’ that is posing a threat.  There is also too much hot air and nonsense spouted by people who should know better but who choose to ignore the science because it doesn’t suit their ideology or politics.”

The new guide answers questions commonly raised by discussions of climate science and is supported by a more detailed Q&A on the Royal Society website Climate Science: Evidence & Causes, that was developed jointly by the US National Academy of Science and the Royal Society.