‘Fake news’ or ‘inconvenient truth’? The global community agreed in the Paris Climate Agreement to recognise climate change as man-made and work together on a common response. They made their decision based on scientific advice, with 97 percent of climate researchers agreeing that the current period of global warming has been caused by human activity. The science on this issue seems to be settled. Is everyone convinced now?

Clearly not. The most prominent climate sceptic in the world is American President Donald Trump, who has tweeted that climate change is an invention of the Chinese designed to harm the American economy. He has also deployed the infamous “but it’s cold outside” argument. Others are more subtle in their denial, such as the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party which, in their election program, accepted that climate change is occurring but denied that humanity is influencing its development.

Why the doubts? The globally-recognised scientific body for climate research is the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which has been producing climate change reports on behalf of the United Nations since 1988. But the credibility of this organisation has been attacked. In 2009, errors appeared in the IPCC report. The IPCC argues that a small number of errors are unavoidable in a document of nearly 3,000 pages with over 1,000 authors. This might be true, but it was immediately seized upon by critics of the IPCC. It’s fair to say that few other branches of science are so politically charged as climate science.

What do our readers think? We had a comment from Jonathan, who finds it sad that there are still people who do not want to acknowledge man-made climate change. He thinks they block out the science because they believe otherwise they might have to change their lifestyles.

To get a response, we talked to climatologist Hans von Storch, Professor at the Meteorological Institute of the University of Hamburg, and Director of the Institute for Coastal Research at the Helmholtz Research Centre in Geesthacht, Germany. Here’s what he had to say:

We have no reliable empirical evidence about this; but we have done informal polls. It turns out that quite a few people who see themselves as sceptics are motivated by the rejection of political decisions made in response to climate change being man-made. In particular, energy policy and energy prices should be considered, as well as other regulations, including building regulations and transport.

Since such measures are often presented in public as the irrefutable implications of climate change being a consequence of man-made emissions, then the veracity of climate science is denied. This attitude is promoted by over-exaggeration [on the part of people who agree with climate science] that can be observed again and again, for example in the argument that virtually every extreme weather event these days is a direct consequence of climate change, which is certainly inaccurate.

We also had a comment from Hagen, who believes it is already too late to stop climate change. Is he right? What have the global agreements on climate change achieved?

The science implies that climate change can be controlled to a limited extent because the release of greenhouse gases determines their concentration in the atmosphere. By appropriately reducing global emissions, climate change can be slowed down and then stopped altogether. This would take several decades and require very substantial reductions. For example, a complete end to emissions across Europe would be effective but insufficient for this purpose.

Recent UN Climate Change Conferences have led to a general acceptance of such measures without any real obligations. But without obligations, the process cannot be stopped by individual countries if others refuse to participate. The last climate conference (COP23 in Bonn) seems to have clarified how the progress in emission reductions is measured, balanced and compared. These are significant technical advances.

Why do some people think climate change is a hoax? What would it take to convince them? Let us know your thoughts and comments in the form below and we’ll take them to policymakers and experts for their reactions!

IMAGE CREDITS: CC / Flickr – United Nations Photo


80 comments Post a commentcomment

What do YOU think?

    • Ivan Burrows

      Scientist have no idea how the climate works so every ‘answer’ they give can only be theory and/or conjecture.

    • Ivan Burrows

      If anyone claims they know for a fact that it is man made climate change then yes, they are part of the hoax.

    • George Guydosh

      You people have any idea what’s it like to get PhD in sciences? No, you visual proud people, you don’t. Over 95% of scientist involved think it’s man made or at least the CO2 emissions are reinforcing this phenomena.

    • Uli Czeranka

      When the believe is based on studies then it is a proof. Climate change isnt god. When there is an agreement that it is to a high degree manmade than it is manmade. You can’t just negate something by saying its just a theory.

    • Karolina

      Debating Europe, why don’t you prove it is not “a hoax” and put the evidence on here? What is the point of the debate, otherwise?

    • Björn Eric Ingemar Grahn

      It’s proven that The temperature and co2 have a coalation. And that we are The Only one cousing The co2 to rice so rappidly. So yes it’s proven. If we dig not Was to exist it should normaly become colder not as now warmer du to less heating from The sun.

  1. Matej Zaggy Zagorc

    It’s not that it’s a hoax, it’s the claim that it is only out fault and that we can/must stop it, both claims are complete bullshit.

    Climate change has been going on since the planet was formed. I believe they even found traces of a forest in Antarctica.
    As for humans, yes we contribute to it with with extra CO2 from our industries and speeding it up, but even if we quit that, we won’t stop it.
    IF we decided to stop it, THEN we have really messed with the natural order and nature will bitch slap us so hard we won’t get up.

  2. Ivan Burrows

    Most people don’t think its a hoax, they think the idea of it being man made is a hoax due to the lack of actual evidence.

    • Manos Foukarakis

      What ever works for anyone… No its not human made… So we Can keep do what we do…. Simple

  3. Charles Vee

    Why is the EU letting America go on with the spraying of our skies? What kind of referendum was made to let them poison and mess up our westher, our skies and us?! STOP CHEMTRAILS!

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Charles Vee
      Have you any proof regarding your assertion, please?
      Does the EU do likewise too?

  4. Oli Lau

    Nobody is claiming that the climate isn’ changing. It has always changed. The real issue is the cause of the current changes if it is abnormal and if it is anthropomorphic.

    Why do you always caricature points of view of the others?

  5. Arthur Gustin

    “Why are some people retarded ?” is a more relevant question and resolving it might actually improve life on Earth…

    Alleging their position because they have the right to express their opinion is pointless. You’re basically legitimasing the existence to a antagonist position which result to a debate, whereas it’s a unanimous scientific conclusion or even a daily life observable phenomenon.

    Sometimes, authoritarian stands in politics, medias, etc should be in application even in democratic liberal countries because that’s a lot more efficient to take action to reach goals !

    • Tarquin Farquhar

      @Arthur Gustin
      A bit of an aggressive post methinks.

      Humans are not yet immortal and thus it is impossible to confirm the assertions propounded by the theory of ‘global warming’.

      However – the concept of ‘Pascal’s Wager’ could be used to support the theory of ‘global warming’.

      Why gamble with denying ‘global warming’ when the ramifications of doing so are cataclysmic.

      Indeed, there are so many environmental and energy benefits associated with countering perceived ‘global warming’ threats that to do otherwise is illogical.

  6. Lynne Warner

    I don’t believe anyone thinks climate change is a hoax. We all have eyes and memories. However many of us believe that the hyperbole of it being solely brought about by humans is incorrect and has been inflated in order to charge more taxes on everything! On top of that, what do we have to show for all the money that has been poured into committees that endlessly debate the problem, make laws to remove products from the shelves that they say are harming the planet. Energy saving electrical goods, that don’t work, I.e. light bulbs, (horrendously expensive and pop after a couple of months and require 2 to do the job of 1 old kind), stove plates that can’t cook a steak because of thermostats, vacuum cleaners that don’t suck, more and more items in never ending plastic, no way yet of recycling all plastics. No answers to where all this rubbish goes when people discover that they are inefficient and throw them away. No viable reason for removing glyphosate ! Where is the money going. Why aren’t we seeing governments pumping money into innovation that helps clean the seas, new and better filters for manufacturers so Europe can do it’s own manufacturing instead of sending it to high polluting China, South Korea, India etc? Nothing is being seen to be done by the doom casters and tax collectors!

    • Björn Eric Ingemar Grahn

      It is in The politic accely underestimated. If they would tanke in The evidence and what Will happening they should put as mutch ord more money in to it than they dig On war in The ww1 and 2.

  7. Marian

    There is one nimber we need to know – the climate sensitivity. The “vlimate science” today wallows in scaremonhering while the sensitivity estimates are about as unprecise as 40 yesrs ago. Now, why do we have this strange neglect!

  8. George Guydosh

    Because our education system is so poor/focused that people just don’t have the basic scientific knowledge. Possibly many don’t even have the basic scientific culture, the notion of causality, the notion of a model as description of natural processes, mathematics can be used to describe and foresee phenomena etc.

  9. Nuno Oliveira

    We are 7 billion. You will always find lots of people believing in almost everything.

  10. Dante Kenpachi

    It’s not that they deny climate change, our planet’s climate changes all the time, otherwise we wouldn’t had long periods of ice age. They deny the so called human influence on climate change ;) The theory that the sun’s position in the milkey way effect’s it’s behavior and energy output resulting in long periods of hot temp. then a period of normal, then a period of cold. (neverending cicle) like seasons of our milkeyway

  11. catherine benning

    Why do some people think climate change is a hoax?

    No one who can see and feel thinks the changes to our planet are a hoax.

    What they do see is fraud in the claim it can be reversed by mankind. That is absurd. The constant sell that the Western tax payer, always the Western Tax payer, can pay through the nose to make ‘better.’

    There is no doubt we should not be using plastic bags, etc., in the way we are doing. They find their way into our seas and pollute at the rate we are seeing is grossly destructive. But, the cause of that, in the main, is we pay for it to be shipped or taken to countries to have it lie on their beaches so that we do not have to deal with the horrendous mountains we create.

    Big money is where you should be looking to solve it. That is where and with whom the problem lies. It is a big money maker.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yaDx-WJAsaE

    India

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_6QlABQuxw

    And how does this accumulate?

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y6LzB6rMDtA

    However, the real problem man faces today, is the population of the planet. And the mugs we have as leaders are importing human beings into our land mass at a rate of a million a year in Germany alone. All of them adding to our sewage, pollution, mess and stench, than we are unwilling to even discuss. The destruction of our society by over population is responsible for dumping, daily, a mountain of garbage the citizens of Europe are unable to sustain. No matter if they take all our money in taxes. Yet, they continue with mass population importation as if they are physically blind. And they bring in people who breed like rabbits. Whist the host nations population do not replenish their country’s natural birthrate.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRPmLWYbUqA

    As David says, our destination is in our hands.

  12. Neno Prigorec

    Why term “global warming” changed to “climate change”?? What is next change? Probably global warming->climate change->global cooling …. SUN drives climate, not carbon dioxide. Watch sun cycles.

  13. Marko Martinović

    There was allways climate change since there was climate. We had 4 ice ages etc. Question is how much are humans influencing our climate and why so many scientific predictions where dead wrong. There is also political aspect to it, and politics now is forcing itself on science, not just this one

  14. Constantinescu Florin

    That time when Gore take a Nobel Prize for a book in which he describe how polar ice will totally melt until the end of 2011….

  15. Constantinescu Florin

    Some scientist proved that are some climate changes on Mars and Venus too… I hope nobody could claims that that changes are man-made too, right!?…

    • Manos Foukarakis

      Its like you say that between 100.000 B. C and the industrial evolution we had no climate Change at all…. So clever bro… Gz

  16. Constantinescu Florin

    Nobody denied the existence of climate change! Everyone would like to see some trusted evidence that that changes are man-made! Because the governments hurried to impose some taxes based on climate changes! They are making good money from that story!

    • Amphib Ian

      All of science accepts that most climate change is man made. What is your alternative theory and where is the evidence for it?

    • Constantinescu Florin

      I think the one who wants to impose his man-made theory should presents some evidences….

  17. Ronny Wouters

    You forgot the word “not” between “is” and “a”. You can kiss your carbontaxes good bye and (try to) find another way to finance a non democratic world government. O wait, newsflash, Europe is finding out and is no longer going to pay when nature’s temperature fluctuates(like it did aaaall over history)

    • Constantinescu Florin

      It is not a hoax! A hoax is the ideea that climate changes are man-made, so the governments can impose extra taxes! The level of pollution has been greatly reduced since the 1980s due to measures to reduce carbon dioxide and freon emissions. Have climatic conditions improved?

  18. John Amyas Dixon

    Sitting here in the UK on a cold winter’s night, with more forecast, following a washout, often cold summer, following what was in some places a record cold winter in the USA, and having also been told that this year is once more the hottest since records began, I can’t think why ‘some people think climate change is a hoax’.

    • Björn Eric Ingemar Grahn

      The problem is that due to climate Exchange Europé Will get colder climate due to The vaniching golf streem

    • John Amyas Dixon

      Scientists haven’t got a clue what’s happening with the Gulf Stream. it’s part of a system whose workings are too complex, there are too many variables, for them to be sure one way or another about the effects of what’s happening.

  19. Karolina

    The climate has been changing since Earth has existed. I have posted this on here before. Iceland was settled because it was warmer at the time. And ancient Greece used to have a tropical climate. We know that already. What annoys people is the insistence that 1. all of this change is because of human activity; 2. that it has to be reversed; 3. that normal people have to pay for it when it is mostly big companies that pollute the atmosphere.

    There are many coastal places threatened by flooding, but isn’t that something normal that the water erodes the soil and advances on cities? Why have such heavy buildings been built on land reclaimed from the sea?

    A very recent example was the deadly flooding in Athens about a week ago. Athens has seen illegal building outside of town plan and in the paths of creeks and brooks, deforestation etc since antiquity and everybody in Greece knows this. This is what has been causing the flooding since always. But the BBC reported it as a sign of climate change… There is proper brainwashing that is going on with regards to this issue.

    • Karolina

      It’s another commercial trap to get more money out of us, sell new technologies, generate jobs etc. There are people who are welcoming increased temperatures: Greenland, Iceland etc. Why are their views being left out of the discourse?

  20. John Costigane

    Climate change/global warming is basically a left-wing narrative. How does this affect objective scientific perspectives? I say out it drowns out the latter, to science’s severe detriment.

    FDR said “there is nothing to fear, but fear itself” That holds even today. We must look to the future, unafraid. Problems ahead can be adapted-to, using ever-improving technology.

    Ordinary people are feeling the brunt of this. A European Republic would stand against all such tyranny, as in the USA.

  21. Daniel Jolivet

    Il est certain qu’attribuer un phénomène météorologique quelconque au réchauffement climatique est hasardeux. par contre l’ensemble des phénomènes météos peut avoir un sens.

  22. Boris Zugolaro

    Climate exchange exists. The problem is to evalute how much it is a consequence of mankind’s activities. And here it is where the matter turns from scientific to political. What democratic leader might tell their voters they should change dramatically their lifestyle in order to stop the warning? None.

  23. Máté János

    Climate change is a fact but the activities of mankind to control it is definetely is more and more a booming business than a non-profit solution :-( …

  24. George

    Because the temperature increase is not going to stop at actual levels.

  25. Wendy Harris

    Climate change isn’t a hoax it’s just nothing new in Earth’s ancient history.

  26. Oliver Zompro

    Climate always has changed and will always be changing. But the human influence on it is questionable. CO2 is nonsense, but we should talk about the catastrophic deforestation.

    • Hans von Storch

      Indeed an often repeated argument – “climate has always changed, it is changing now and thus the present change is nothing special”. But it is special – the issue is the speed of change. In my introductory comment – see at the top – I mentioned the “detection and attribution” concept, which is taking into account his speed issue. The present change, across the past several decades, is faster than what you would expect from natural (and internal dynamics) causes.
      The assertion “CO2 is nonsense” is linguistically nonsense, i.e., makes no sense. Please try to write comprehensible sentences so that others can understand what you mean. Ranting may help your present frustrations but not communication.

  27. Ivan Burrows

    They don’t think its an hoax, they think man made climate change is a hoax and the claim that the planets ever changing climate can be manipulated is a hoax.

  28. Sherrie Heckendorn

    Anyone with a brain can read and research and thus knows that human activity has sped up the natural progression of climate change

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