Climate Change: Examining the Facts

Climate Change: Examining the Facts

by Daniel Bedford, John Cook


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Climate change is one of the most controversial and misunderstood issues of the 21st century. This book provides a clear understanding of the issue by presenting scientific facts to refute falsehoods and misinformation—and to confirm the validity of other assertions.

Is public understanding of global warming suffering from politically biased news coverage? Is it true that the global scientific community has not reached a consensus on whether humans are causing climate change? This important book addresses these questions and many more about global warming, identifying common claims about climate change and using quantifiable, evidence-based information to examine their veracity.

The authors of this work examine 35 specific claims that have been made about global climate change by believers and skeptics. These assertions—some true, some false—will guide readers to a much deeper understanding of the extent of climate change; whether any climate change that is taking place is human-caused; whether climate change is likely to be a serious problem in the future; whether scientists agree on the fundamentals of climate change; and whether climate change impacts can be mitigated.

Examples of specific issues that are scrutinized and explained in the book include: trends in the extent and condition of Arctic and Antarctic Sea ice packs, the accuracy of climate forecasting models, whether extreme weather events are increasing as a result of climate change, and the benefits and drawbacks of various schemes to limit greenhouse gas emissions.

• Provides a broad overview of the subject of climate change that is specifically written to be accessible and interesting for senior high school or introductory college-level audiences

• Presents a comprehensive explanation of the science of climate change that directly addresses widely held misconceptions head-on—a strategy that has been demonstrated in education research to be more effective in dispelling myths and advancing student learning than straight fact-based teaching

• Focuses on providing quantifiable, evidence-based information on climate change—and acknowleding instances when conflicting data exists—from the most reputable and qualified sources

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781440835681
Publisher: ABC-CLIO, Incorporated
Publication date: 07/18/2016
Series: Contemporary Debates
Pages: 214
Sales rank: 704,359
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 0.80(d)

About the Author

Daniel Bedford, PhD, is professor of geography at Weber State University, Ogden, UT.

John Cook is the Climate Communication Fellow for the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, Australia.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction xi

1 The Evidence Regarding Climate Change 1

Q1 What Is Happening to Sea Ice in the Arctic? 1

Q2 What Is Happening to Sea Ice in the Antarctic? 6

Q3 What Is Happening to Glaciers and Ice Sheets? 10

Q4 Do Global Average Surface Air Temperatures Show Warming? 15

Q5 Do Satellites Using "Thermometers in Space" Show a Warming Trend in Earth's Lower Atmosphere? 22

Q6 How Might Global Warming Be Causing Record Cold Winters in Some Places? 27

Q7 How and Why Has the Pace of Global Warming Changed Over Time? 33

Q8 What Do the "Climategate" Hacked E-Mails Show about Climate Science? 42

2 The Causes of Climate Change 49

Q9 Is Human Activity the Main Driver of Modern Climate Change? 49

Q10 How Does Modern Global Warming Compare to the So-Called Medieval Warm Period? 55

Q11 What Is the "Hockey Stick" and How Accurate a Picture Does It Provide of Global Climate Change? 61

Q12 What Role Does the Sun Play in Global Temperature Rise ? 65

Q13 How Has Climate Been Changing on Mars and Other Planets? 71

Q14 Is the Ozone Hole a Factor in Global Warming? 76

Q15 Carbon Dioxide Is a Small Fraction of the Atmosphere, So Why Is It So Important for Climate Change? 82

Q16 Does a Historical Correlation Exist between Changes in Carbon Dioxide Levels and Temperature? 85

Q17 What Does Past Climate Change Tell Us about the Relationship between Carbon Dioxide and Temperature? 89

Q18 Which Produces More Carbon Dioxide: Volcanoes, or Burning Fossil Fuels? 95

3 The Likely Impacts of Climate Change 103

Q19 How Well Do Computer Models Reproduce Earth's Climate? 103

Q20 Can an Increase in Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Cause a Significant Warming of Global Temperatures? 110

Q21 How Will Climate Change Impact Society? 115

Q22 Have the Dangers of Climate Change Been Understated or Overstated by Scientists and the News Media? 123

Q23 Are Carbon Dioxide Emissions Acidifying the Ocean? 131

Q24 How Are Plants and Animals Affected by Rapid Climate Change? 136

Q25 How Is Climate Change Influencing Extreme Weather? 143

4 Scientific Consensus on Climate Change 149

Q26 What Percentage of Climate Scientists Agree That Humans Are Causing Global Warming? 149

Q27 What Does the Work of Lone Scientific Mavericks Show about the Importance of the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change? 155

Q28 What Motivates Climate Scientists? 160

Q29 In the 1970s, Were Most Climate Scientists Concerned about Global Warming or Global Cooling? 164

5 Responding to Climate Change 169

Q30 Is It Possible to Reduce Greenhouse Gas Emissions without Damaging the Economy? 169

Q31 What Effect Will Cutting Carbon Emissions Have on the Poor? 177

Q32 What Is China Doing to Address Climate Change? 182

Q33 Can Carbon Dioxide Be Regulated under the Clean Air Act? 188

Q34 Can Individuals Do Anything to Limit Global Warming? 191

Q35 Do Some Republicans Accept That Anthropogenic Climate Change Is Occurring? 195

Postscript: The Paris Agreement 201

Index 205

About the Authors 215

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