Is climate change mostly man-made or natural?

The more I look into this the more I am mystified. The problem appears quite polarized, both sides claiming the other is biased, refusing evidence and careless, and it is difficult to form an opinion. The political and economic consequences of the question make it very important and sensitive.

The minority (so-called “skeptics” or “realists”) who do not think that climate change is mostly man-made (either because they can’t tell or they think it is mostly nature-driven) bring up some convincing points and studies, and seem like reasonable people and scientists (see the ICCC conference videos).

It is difficult to know what is going on. I think that the public would benefit from additional vulgarization by the experts from the majority side (guys, Youtube…).


Personally, I am curious about the chain of logic leading to the conclusion that increased CO2 is main driver for recent change. From what this analysis, it may not be that solid. In particular, I am curious about the role played by the models/simulations and the assumptions that went into the models.

Also, there is the question of validating models mostly against historical rather than present data. I read an article comparing such models to Galileo’s or Newton’s work on gravitation, which also did use historical data as validation. Intuitively, this analogy seems dubious to me. The output of Newton’s formulas very closely matched the actual position of multiple celestrial bodies, recorded and present.

It seems that climate is more similar to the problem of simulating a mousetrap and ping pong ball chain reaction, in that we understand the basic physical laws very well, and yet can’t simulate the details accurately. Furthermore, it seems difficult to get reliable conclusions from “macro” behaviors of the naturally imperfect models. Is there historical precedent for this approach? How do you falsify or invalidate such a model?



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