Climategate: The climate change conspiracy explained in three simple steps…

Step 1: Convince everyone on the planet that human activity in the Industrial Age has resulted in a global warming of the planet that will likely have catastrophic consequences if left unchecked.

Step 2: ???

Step 3: Profit!

Although they are human and thus prone to sometimes doing stupid things, scientists, for the most part, are interested in finding and promoting the truth, or as close as we can get to it. When new facts are uncovered, scientists may be reluctant to change their beliefs — another highly human trait — but they do eventually come to a consensus if the new facts can be systematically proven using the scientific method.

The scientific data show that the Earth is undergoing a large and rapid warming trend that coincides with the onset of industrial activity, specifically the large-scale burning of fossil fuels. The average surface temperature has increased by 1.2-1.4°F over the past 100 years. If greenhouse gases continue to increase, the surface temperature could rise by 3.2-7.2°F by 2100. Observed changes due to climate change have included rising sea levels, longer growing seasons, earlier melting of ice and snow, shrinking glaciers, and changes in the distribution of plants and animals. The faster temperatures rise, the more these effects will be exacerbated.

Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary, denial about the reality of climate change, that it is caused by human activity or that it will have devastating effects is at a high. Fear of the effects of climate change, a resistance to change and the lack of an easy fix contribute to this denial. Again, how human of us.

But what do the world’s leading scientific organizations have to gain by convincing us that climate change is happening and we need to take action?After examining the conspiracy theories, it seems that the simplest explanation is usually the correct one. Here, the explanation is that this is what the data show, and the scientists are concerned for the future of humanity.

Also see: Climate Wire; The Copenhagen Diagnosis; RealClimate; How to talk to a climate skeptic
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