Human activities and the greenhouse effect

Human activities are increasing the amount of some greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. For example:

Methane is released by rice paddy fields
Methane is released by rice paddy fields

Are humans causing global warming?

Not everyone in the world agrees that humans are causing global warming by causing the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Some people believe that the current and ongoing rise in global temperatures is being caused by natural factors and cycles of climate change.

However, the vast majority of scientists do believe that humans are responsible for the increase in greenhouse gases and therefore global warming. This is because the majority of evidence in peer-reviewedjournals supports the theory that human activities are causing an increase in greenhouse gases and this is causing global warming.

However, climate science is complicated and it is difficult to predict and explain what will happen to global temperatures in the future, so scientists cannot be certain about global warming.

The media (eg websites, TV news, newspapers) may sometimes present opinions and articles which are simplified, inaccurate, based on only some of the evidence or biased. It is important for new evidence to be shared with as many people as possible, so that other scientists can check the results and interpretation, and repeat the experiments for themselves.

When evaluating the quality of evidence on an issue like global warming, you should consider:

  • who did the research and whether they are trustworthy, skilled and experienced
  • who funded the research, because that might cause some bias
  • what methods were used to collect and analyse the data, because that might cause uncertainties in the evidence base
  • which organisation is reporting or publishing the evidence