None of us can be unaware of the debates raging about global warming and climate change, but it often seems like there’s more smoke than fire.

With all the arguing back and forth about emissions targets and lifestyle changes it can be easy to dismiss it all as ‘too complicated’ and to not know what to make of it.

Here I propose a framework of 4 simple but important questions that can be used to guide anyone through the process. The end result is knowledge of whether or not they need to be concerned about climate change or instead they can stop worrying about it and get on with their lives. This is a process that can be supported by both sides of the debate.

Climate Change (Image: Tumisu/Pixabay)

Climate Change (Image: Tumisu/Pixabay)

As a bonus I include an important question that you will hear argued about all the time but which you personally don’t need to worry about in this process.

1. Is Global Warming Real?

The first question to consider is if there’s a global warming problem at all, clearly there are people arguing for and against both sides of this. As with the other 3 questions the only person who can decide this to your satisfaction is you – you have a responsibility to research this at least enough to come to a conclusion that you’re happy with.

The Internet is, of course, full of information on this topic. Here I propose a handful of key example sources that I believe are the leading sites on the topic (if you think I have missed an important site then please let me know in the comments). These sites may be sufficient to help you come to a decision, otherwise you will have to do sufficient additional research to come to a conclusion that you are confident in.

The case for:

  1. US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)
  2. US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  3. UK Meteorological Office
  4. UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC)
  5. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

The case against:

  1. Global Warming Policy Foundation
  2. Anthony Watts / Watts Up With That?
  3. Marc Morano / Climate Depot
  4. Bjorn Lomborg / Copenhagen Consensus Center
  5. Tony Heller aka Steven Goddard / Real Climate Science

If at this point you have concluded that global warming is not real then you can stop reading, and get on with your life.

2. Is It Serious?

If you have concluded that global warming is real, then the next question is whether it’s serious enough to matter, i.e. is it changing quickly and is it potentially severe.

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