The BBC has the story Ex-sceptic says climate change is down to humans. The following quote has a certain ironic synchronicity with a conversation that a friend and I have been having.
The team argues that the good correspondence between the new temperature record and historical data on CO2 emissions suggests human activity is “the most straightforward explanation” for the warming.
I am not a climate change denier, and I am not disagreeing with the finding of these scientists, however I must point out that though ‘human activity is “the most straightforward explanation” for the warming’, being the most straightforward does not prove it is the correct explanation.
The strength of their conclusion depends on how rigorous and thorough the scientists were in testing a large universe of other possible explanations. From this article, we have no idea how this study stacks up under that criterion.
As an engineer, the way that I think it would be proper to proceed on trying to ameliorate the effects of global climate change would be to always ask “If we are wrong about climate change, what would be the effect of the proposed policy change?” If you can honestly say that the new policy were a good one and a cost effective one even if we are wrong about global climate change, then you have a policy change that you can feel very comfortable about proposing.
Even if humans are not the major cause of climate change, it would still make sense to lessen our impact on the problem so as not to make a natural phenomenon even worse. In times of drought, we try to conserve water even though humans are not the cause of the drought.