The Science of Climate Change Q&A – Australian Academy of Science


The science of climate change is unlike anything else I have ever seen as a scientist. It makes people across the world feel like their experts in a way that they never do in science. This document tries to put you know why science is so concerned about climate change in words and ways that hopefully the average politician or the average punter can understand. If you start from the simple physics it's cause and effect. If you're going to pump greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, sorry guys it's going to get hotter. It's clear from the scientific evidence that climate is changing and it's also clear that the major cause for that change is human activity. So increased greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Temperatures have already risen, so we have to learn cope with the existing rise in temperatures. Which ain't just going to go away. We need to adapt to survive in the warmer climate that has already developed.

In the time that human civilisation has been here, climate has been remarkably stable. There had been changes but the changes we see now over the last 150 years are equal and greater than that and the projections we have for the next 100 years are far greater than the changes we've seen over the last 5-6000 years. And as you gradually increase the temperature you also cause a whole range of climatic changes. Places that were dry become wetter and vice versa and of course we as humans have put all our infrastructure in places suitable for the current climate. and when we suddenly go through and talk about changing the weather by 2 degrees Celsius, you are asking to essentially scram all this money we've spent. It means most of Sydney could eventually be underwater, not tomorrow but in 100's of years. It is a big issue. it's people sitting in local councils.

It's people sitting in state government. it's people sitting in business and industry who actually have the answers. It is actually mobilizing those people to recognise the risks from climate change and to do something about them. When there is even a tiny gap of information that becomes a 50/50 argument. That is that the science may be right or maybe it's wrong. 50/50 even though its 99 to 1 Or not engaging hyperbole. We're not riding in some sort of wave that's short-term. This is real. It is our best bet and I am 99% confident that science has got the right answer..