The classic scientific narrative for explaining climate goes like this

  • There is now a broad scientific consensus on the following points, which were arrived over 70 years of research.
  • Greenhouse gases in the atmosphere trap heat.
  • The concentration of greenhouse gases, notably CO2, have been rising since the mid-1800s, when the industrial revolution began in earnest.
  • In the 20th Century average temperature on earth increased.   Much more warming is expected this century.
  • The rise in temperature is due to the increase in CO2; all other possible explanations have been studied intensively and found to be inadequate to explain the phenomena.
  • Human activity is the major source of the increased concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.   
    • Several lines of empirical research all point toward this.
  • If we continue on this path, the earth will warm 5-7 degrees C by 2100, which will have many severe impacts such as
    • more extreme weather
    • drought and flooding, causing agricultural failures
    • sea level rise and coastal inundation
    • ocean acidification
    • mass extinctions
  • Some of warming is now inevitable, but prompt action can avert far more severe impacts.
    • the longer we wait, the more severe the consequences
  • Most proposed solutions include some combination of
    • mitigation of greenhouse gas emisions
      • rapid deployment of existing technologies for energy efficiency, renewable energy,
      • development of new technologies, and
    • adaptation to minimize the damage
  • Time is of the essence; urgent action is needed.

Examples of this narrative:

US Climate Change Science Program, "Climate Literacy:  The Essential Principles of Climate Sciences"

National Science Foundation, "To What Degree?   What Science is tellings us about climate change."