: Gee, read the letter I posted here on 24/12/99. The evidence has been studied by the peer group; and the overwhelming consensus is that global warming is occurring and constitutes a real threat to large sections of humanity. The three largest atmospheric research organisations in the world are unanimous in their findings and are confident enough about them to say so on the world stage.
Lets proceed from this assumption then - that mankinds activity does affect climate, and is *contributing* to a current upward trend. As the letter said ; "The critical point is that we continue to see confirmation of the long-term warming trend. Scientists on both sides of the Atlantic are carefully looking at all of the evidence and using it to refine our understanding of global climate." i.e. they think it does, with great confidence, but they're not sure about how much, how long.
I did think it disregarded dramatic climate changes in the past. Are you familiar with those antartic ice 'tubes' which read back 100,000s of years and suggest that sudden (within a few years/decades) climate change has been the norm for our planet, not our previous conviction that any change was slow and progressive? I also think that association drawn between solar events and climate change should *not* be cast aside by environmentalists eager to 'save the planet'. As an opportunity to understand how climate works all these factors are important. Anecdotally - some 'environmentalists' I have known of seem to think that shutting down factories and imprisoning people who use CFCs will 'make everything ok' and they dont really care about the extent of the 'injury' or the cost-benefit of various activities - they just want blood now! I trust this is not typical of an 'environmentalist'.
So...what steps should be taken? Has there been any evaluations of possible effects other than doomstering about disease, complete with emotive warnings about 'our children'? If effects x and y are to happen then which actions are appropriate to avoid/ adapt/ take advantage of those changes?
You see - I think that there are many politicians (and many 'make a name' scientists) who see a lot of political capital and gains in power to be had out of peoples fears about the environment (I think we can all name one in the US huh?). The importance of the issue means we must not act in haste, its too important to rush about panicking, over reacting, under reacting or pointlessly criminalising various activities.
What do you think should be done?