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Is Global warming real?

Last updated 29 June 2005
Originally answered 19 March 2001

Full Question

Is global warming a real issue that we should be concerned with or is it hype? 


The threat of global warming is a real issue. It is clear from long-term temperature records that the world is warming. It is becoming clear that human activities, mainly burning fossil fuels and deforestation, are part of the cause of this warming. Since these human activities are expected to continue into the foreseeable future, scientists predict that the earth will continue warming. The debate among scientists who study climate centers around questions like: How much warming? How fast will the earth warm? What will be the regional and seasonal patterns of the warming? What will be the impact of the warming on natural ecosystems and people?

If we can reliably and accurately answer these sorts of questions, we can then make policy decisions to minimize the risk posed by the potential impacts. The controversy, and battles, over global warming arise because these specific questions are not easy to answer, and the policies often have large costs associated with them. Many argue that the costs of taking action is less than the cost of inaction, while groups that might incur the costs of action argue that the uncertainties are too great to make policy changes.

Here are some sites that are good sources of general information on climate change:

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