The wikipedia article on climate change is here.
Nasa scientist Jim Hansen is slowly convincing the world that the ‘safe’ limit for carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is 350 parts per million. We are already at 383 parts per million, as this Washington Post article explains. Before the industrial revolution the natural level was only 275 parts per million.
Average world temperatures have already risen by 0.8 degrees celsius. Not only is this causing stronger storms such as Hurricane Katrina, but a 2004 study found that 32 percent of all amphibian species face extinction, as well as 12 percent of all bird species and 23 percent of all species of mammals. Even the humble conker tree is under threat.
At the poles the temperature is rising even faster than 0.8 degrees. Arctic ice is melting faster than even the most pessimistic models had predicted. The ice that still remains is much thinner than it used to be.
(There is another article about this here.)
This page is just a small summary of all the evidence that has been gathered about global warming and climate change.
If you are reading this page you can do your own researches on the Internet and find out that the 0.8 degree rise so far, and the effects it has had, are just the beginning. Even if we stopped all CO2 emissions tomorrow, the heating we are experiencing today was caused emissions in the 1970s, and world temperatures would continue to rise by another 0.6 degrees. That makes a total of 1.4 degrees. Consensus is emerging that if we reach a 2.0 degree change then temperature change becomes irreversible and over 90% of all species on the planet will become extinct.
This May 2011 article makes depressing reading. Greenhouse gas emissions in 2010 were the highest ever, shocking the chief economist of the International Energy Agency into describing the possibility of avoiding catastrophic climate change as “A nice utopia”.
Some people still persist in saying there is no such thing as man-made climate change. For them we offer this article: “Global Warming: How do scientists know they’re not wrong?”.
Or more simply there is this quote: “I may not know much about the causes of climate change. But I do know that when a wasp lands on my Christmas cake there is something very wrong”.
Climate Change Deniers:
Not everybody believes in man-made climate change. If you are among them you will enjoy this video version of an “op-ed” piece published recently in the Washington Post,
A google search on climate change gives more than 46 million articles.
This very fine report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change seems pretty comprehensive.
It came from this page here.
To me the question is no longer “Is climate change real?”, but has become instead “What can we do about it?”