There are several ways to look at climate change because there are natural causes and there are also human-influenced causes for the global climate to change. This paper defines anthropogenic climate change and it defines natural climate change and the historic record of the earth's changing climate over the millennia. This paper also provides strategies for mitigating global climate change and speculates as to the possible stabilization of climate change vis-a-vis the business and economic fields.
What is Anthropogenic Climate Change?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines anthropogenic as "…relating to, or resulting from, the influence of human beings on nature"; the first use of this team was in 1923.
Meanwhile, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research lists three ways in which the evidence points toward humans having influence over the rising temperatures on earth. The "…concentration of carbon dioxide (CO2) is rising," which is a proven fact based on empirical evidence ("direct measurement in the atmosphere dating back to the 1950s") (Rahmstorf, 2007). Scientists use data from ice core data of concentrations of CO2 that date back hundreds of thousands of years (at least 650,000 years) to point out that there have "never" been such high concentrations of CO2 -- "not even close to as high as it is at present" (Rahmstorf, 36).
Secondly, the amount of fossil fuel that has been burned is verifiable, and hence the amount of CO2 that has been "…injected directly into the atmosphere" is precisely known (Rahmstorf, 36). The observed increase in CO2 concentration over the past many decades is "…equal to 57% of our cumulative emissions," and the ocean and land biosphere "…have absorbed the remaining 43% of emissions from the atmosphere" (Rahmstorf, 36). The third part of Rahmstorf's chapter is that since carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, doubling the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere will in fact "…warm the global climate in equilibrium by 3 degrees Centigrade plus or minus 1.5 degrees (Rahmstorf, 387).
What is Natural Climate Change?
Studies referenced by NASA show that "solar variability has played a role in past climate changes"; in fact a decrease in solar strength likely "…triggered the Little Ice Age" between the years 1650 and 1850 (NASA). In other words, through the thousands of years that can be monitored by using empirical studies (ice core science) the earth has heated up and cooled down in cycles that are related to the sun's impact on the planet. This is natural climate change.
Is Global Warming Actually Taking Place?
"A comprehensive analysis of peer-reviewed articles on the topic of global warming and climate change has revealed an overwhelming consensus among scientists that recent warming is human-caused" (Institute of Physics, [IPO] 2013). '
The Institute of Physics reviewed over 2,000 pages of scientific findings vis-a-vis existing empirical research on global climate change and reported that "…97%…endorsed the consensus that we are seeing man-made, or anthropogenic, global warming" (IOP). Notwithstanding that a pool in 2012 showed that "…more than half of Americans either disagree, or are unaware that scientists overwhelmingly agree…" that there is climate change and that the source of the warming climate can be traced to human activity (IOP).
The study of existing empirical science on global climate change is in sharp contrast to the public perception that the issue is still in doubt -- or that there is no climate change at all, according to the Institute of Physics. "It's staggering given the evidence for actual consensus that less than half of the general public [believes] scientists agree" that humans are the basic cause for the warming of the planet, the IOP reports.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the principal group that is studying and monitoring climate change. They have published updated reports for several years and in 2007 they reported that "…The evidence from surface temperatures is strong" that climate change is due to anthropogenic dynamics:
"The widespread change detected in temperature observations of the surface free atmosphere and ocean, together with consistent evidence of change in other parts of the climate system strengthens the conclusion that greenhouse gas forcing is the dominant cause of warming during the past several decades. This combined evidence, which is summarized in Table 9.4 is substantially stronger than the evidence that is available from observed changes in global surface temperature alone…" (IPCC, 2007).
Indeed, the IPCC narrative continues, noting that the "simultaneous…