A report is claiming human activity does not cause climate change - this is why it’s wrong

A report is claiming human activity does not cause climate change - this is why it’s wrong

A report which claims “man made climate change doesn’t exist in practice” has been getting a lot of attention from climate sceptics - despite it being deeply flawed.

The authors of the paper, titled “No Experimental Evidence For The Significant Anthropogenic Climate Change”, claimed they have debunked the widely-accepted consensus - based on decades of research - that human activity is responsible for climate change.

However, the research has not been peer-reviewed, meaning it has not been fact-checked by independent scientists before publication.

And researchers at Climate Feedback, a group that evaluates media coverage of climate change, have unanimously agreed its conclusions are incorrect.

The report claims to prove that changes in cloud cover and relative humidity, rather than human activity, have caused changes in global temperature.

However, the research is also full of mistakes, according to the scientists.

These include:

  • Failing to provide clear sources for the data used

  • Ignoring peer-reviewed reports which contradict their findings

  • Assuming correlation = causation

  • Misrepresenting research

Here’s Stephen Po-Chedley, a climate scientist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, explaining that correlation/causation mistake:

The main claim is based on a correlation: that as the Earth warms, low clouds disappear. The authors’ narrative is that low clouds are decreasing due to some natural cause (no mechanism provided by the authors) and the disappearance of low clouds then results in surface warming.

This is akin to claiming that increased ice cream sales leads to warmer temperatures. 

In reality, the feedback is a known and documented phenomenon and works the other way: as the surface of the Earth warms, low cloud coverage decreases, allowing more sunlight to reach and warm the Earth’s surface.

In short, the whole thing is a mess.

But that hasn’t stopped climate sceptics/deniers, such as Paul Joseph Watson, Tucker Carlson and Rowan Dean, jumping on the report as proof that they have been right all along.

If any of them had done some basic fact-checking or spoken to a serious scientist, they would have realised the report wasn't worth covering.

Unfortunately, its debunked claims have already been retweeted thousands of times.

You can read a detailed explanation of why the report is incorrect here.

HT IFLScience

More: Climate change: Global warming over the last 100 years caused by human activity, scientists confirm

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