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People die natural deaths. So murder can't exist? Featured

"Some say, 'Climate is always changing due to natural cycles. So it can't be us doing it.' That's like saying 'People die from natural causes. So there can't be murder!' Any good crime investigator must develop expertise on natural causes of death, so he can distinguish it from foul play. Same with climate scientists." — Dr. Richard Alley

Notes: 'It's happened in the past, from natural causes.' is one of the most popular arguments used by climate skeptics and deniers, with the implication that because the climate has changed throughout earth's history, that let's us 'off the hook.'

But the historical record actually teaches the opposite lesson.  As scientists have learned more and more about past climate changes, they have become increasingly convinced that human activity is driving warming now.  The physics are the same.  The closer you look at the past, the clearer you can distinguish the 'human fingerprint' on current warming.

For a brief summary of all the 'human fingerprints' -- the observable evidence that indicates human causality of current warming -- see The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.  For further discussion see Richard B. Alley's Earth: The Operators' Manual.

Bite Source: Richard Alley, Climate Change: Interactions and Implications, CLEAN workshop, June 7, 2011.

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Tom Smerling
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byBrian Ettling

October 22, 2011

Thanks for posting this. The argument that present climate change is caused by natural causes proposed is such a prominent talking point by deniers. I am very impressed with Dr. Richard Alley (primarily finding out about him through your website). Thanks for providing a tool for me with this bite to counter one of the skeptics and deniers most common misconceptions that climate change is naturally occurring. Even more, when one studies the science of climate change, it becomes even more clear that the present climate change is primarily caused by man. These were the main factors that took place in the past that triggered glacial and inter glacial ages: the sun, the tilt of the earth, the rotation of the earth around sun, and the wobble of the earth. None of these factors are having a significant impact right now. It is by far the increase in carbon dioxide by man burning fossil fuels that is increasing the average global temperatures. As a result, this is triggering climate change.

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