Climate guide to fight erroneous beliefs

People can challenge ill-informed comments about global warming with new guide to climate science published by experts.

The guide, designed by scientists at the Royal Society, includes 20 short questions and answers addressing the most wide-spread statements that reject the scientific basis of climate change.

"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," said Paul Nurse, president of the Royal Society.

The questions touch on how scientists know recent climate change is largely caused by human activities, the dangers posed by warming and whether 'disaster scenarios' such as the Gulf Stream switching off are cause for concern.

For the sceptics, the guide addresses issues such as why Arctic sea ice is melting but Antarctic ice is not, and whether the slowdown in warming means that climate change is no longer happening.

According to the experts the guide is meant to offer people the factual basis to call up the factors on their smartphone when they encounter extreme views on climate change and oppose them persuasively. The answers, although topical, include climate jargon and span over a few lines of text. A short guide to climate science can be downloaded online as a PDF. 

“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,” Nurse said.

Alternatively, the guide was also there for people who wanted to hear "straight from expert climate scientists, without bias or spin, the science of what is happening to our climate", according to Nurse.

"There is 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."

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