Climate 101: Are scientists really sure about man-made climate change?

In short, very sure. Over 97 percent of climate scientists agree that man-made climate change is a reality.

Virtually every national academy of science on Earth agrees. In an urgent letter to the members of the US Congress, the leaders of 18 different major scientific associations wrote, “Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.”

The Earth has experienced cycles of warming and cooling in the past, but experts believe the current warming trend is “proceeding at a rate that is unprecedented in the past 1,300 years.

For comparison’s sake, climate scientists have estimated the planet has previously taken around 5,000 years to recover – by warming between 4-7 degrees Celsius – after an ice age has ended. In the twentieth century alone, the average surface temperature increased by around 0.8 degrees Celsius – a rate eight times faster than a typical post-ice-age-recovery.

And this cycle is rapidly accelerating.

Learn more about the basics of climate change

The climate crisis is the defining challenge of our generation. Scientists are clear about the reality of climate change and we should be too. And with devastating storms, dangerous floods, melting glaciers, and rising seas becoming increasingly regular facts of life, it’s more critical than ever that we face reality and get working on solutions together.

The simple fact is that climate change throws natural systems out of balance – to often devastating effect. What does that mean? Let us explain. Download our free e-book, Climate Crisis 101, a helpful refresher on what’s causing our climate to change and the crisis unfolding in front of our eyes.

Learn the basics of climate change science and how you can take action. Download the e-book now.

This post is a copy of an article published on The Climate Reality Project’s blog on 5 October 2017.