Whilst IT, and solving problems with IT (both business and technical) is undoubtably one of my passions, climate change has been another for quite some time. In my day-to-day life I run into quite a few people with strong opinions one way or the other on climate change. A lot of what people think is incorrect - either completely or by degree. Partially this is because people get their information from any number of ill-informed or unscientific sources - of which the interweb is rife.

Whether the climate is changing is ultimately a scientific question. It should be reseached using the scientific method. What we should do about it (adapt, mitigate or just hope fo the best) is a socio-politico-economic question that is best answered through the political system. I won't delve into the latter question, but if you want the facts on what is happening to the climate, then there is a single pre-eminant source: the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (or IPCC). Every few years, working groups at the IPCC produce summaries of all the scientific data to-date on what is happening with our climate. These working groups are constituted by hundreds of the world's most pre-eminent scientists in their respective fields. Their output is then rigorously examined by other organisations, including governments, before being approved and presented.

The last fully released report - the 3rd Assessment Report was delivered in 2001. Here is a picture of the approximately 3100 pages of information presented (and to help show I'm not some pink-leftie-greenie nutter, a copy of Bjorn Lomborg's Skeptical Environmentalist sits next to the pile)

IPCC 3rd Assessment Report

The IPCC's 4th Assessment Report is due to be delivered this year. The recent spate of articles in the media relating to climate change were brought about by the recent release of the Summary for Policy Makers document (equivalent to the thin one in the pile above) that provides a summary of what will be contained in the main reports.

If you think that climate change is a scientific question, then get your facts from the scientists. Read the IPCC reports - all it contains are summaries of all the published research on climate change. If you want to get your information from conspiracy theory websites and random blogs, by all means you are free to do so, but don't expect to be well informed on the situation.