back to article Massive study concludes: 'Global warming is real'

A massively thorough study – funded in part by a pair of US oil billionaires who are opponents of climate-disruption remediation – has come to the conclusion that the earth is, indeed, warming. In fact, it's warming just as much as more-limited studies conducted by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, NASA, …


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  1. JohnMurray


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  2. ph0b0s

    It's all about the CO2.

    I thought that the battle on acceptance of climate change was a battle pretty much won. It is the cause of the changes that have most people arguing at the moment. Not something covered by the article, so not really anything that is pertinent to the current disagreement.

    I don't think, those who still deny climate change happens and has always happened, are going to pay attention to a report like this. Not when the result of changes have been right in front of them for the past decade.

    I think the last argument to be had on climate change is whether sun activity or CO2 is more important in temperature changes. And if the sun is going into a period of very low activity while CO2 is still climbing, what happens to temperatures going forward will answer that last disagreement quite well.

    1. mr.K

      "Not when the result of changes have been right in front of them for the past decade."

      You may say so, but it really irks me that for the last decade global warming, or climate change as it has been rebranded as, is blamed for more or less everything that happens on this planet. And if you even suggest the mere possibility of other reasons you are branded heretic in the church of climate change.* It does not irk me because I believe that it might not be true, but because that it is rare that there a good scientific foundation is presented. Presented is the keyword here, because at least some of the time there is, it just doesn't reach the media outlets. And again, we are not talking about manmade global warming here, we are talking about claimed effects that have already started. The other reason for this bugging me is the search for other possible culprits does not happen. So you get these scenarios like:

      -A flood happens and global warming is blamed and nobody cares about the fact that somebody have straightened out the river and cut down a lot of forest that would normally soak up the water.

      -A big storm destroys a lot of housing and all we discuss is how we need to be ready to cope with more of that because of global warming, and nobody asks the question of why the houses are all new and nobody would consider building there fifty years ago.

      -Ice starts to melt somewhere, and other pollutions seems to be disregarded off hand because climate change is always the cause.

      -The loss of species is blamed on climate change and lets people cut down their habit that in peace because: Hey, it isn't them is it, it is all down to climate change.

      And so on. So no, I have not really seen the clear cut scientific results. However, I do find it likely that there is a fair amount of them. I just wish you were allowed to seek out other causes as well.


      *And of course you are named as a martyr in the church of climate skeptics.

      1. ph0b0s

        That's my bugbear too.

        You missed the point I was making with the sentence you quoted, It was that this report is not going to accomplishing much, as anyone who would disagree with it's findings at this point, would not be convinced by any report anyway. These are people that would not think it odd when they see things like more hurricane activity in the gulf blowing down their houses or flowers that are coming up earlier and staying for longer than they did before. Or winters that have been colder than they have been for a long time. These people are not going to be swayed by a report.

        The issues you are complaining about I could not agree with more. That climate change is the go to reason for anything that happens. That annoys the hell out of me too. I have noticed some reporting of weather now does make a point of saying that such and such an event is probably not climate change related. Which is a step in the right direction.

      2. danleywolfe

        The problem is what really is the effect and legitimate statement of attribution

        The problem of ascribing CO2 as the "primary" cause of global warming as the climate advocacy / IPCC claim is having a reasonable bit of evidence either showing cause and effect or explaining away all other causes including solar cycles. It hasn't been done and the IPCC is still working with hypothesis and hypothetical models that do not provide adequate treatment of a) feedbacks and b) solar related causes.

    2. Marvin the Martian

      A downvote for your first line.

      "I thought that the battle on acceptance of climate change was a battle pretty much won." If you genuinely think that then you haven't really followed any news the last decade.

      Well I thought religion and other superstitions were pretty much solidly debunked, too; quite a lot of people seem to interpret the evidence otherwise. And with evolution being genuinely unquestionable since several lifetimes, under overwhelming evidence, there's still a good quarter of Merricans solidly believing in being created.

      Scientifically it's a no-brainer --- you pump out C02, it will trap heat, temperature will go up --- but proof of how fast and how much etc is far from solidly proven.

      1. ph0b0s

        @Marvin the Martian

        So you read the first line but did not read the rest, else you would have seen that I covered people who will not be convinced no matter how many reports you write. That was the whole point of my post.

        "I don't think, those who still deny climate change happens and has always happened, are going to pay attention to a report like this."

        But sure, go ahead and miss the point and rant away.

        The whole point of my post was that this report does not move things along at all. It does not cover the 'man made' part to global warming which is where the main debate is now. Those still thinking that climate change does not happen whether as a natural or non natural process are again, not going to be convinced by a report. It will not get past the bubble that they have built around themselves, where they will ignore stuff like that we used to ice skate on the Thames, now we don't.

  3. Anonymous Cowerd

    After everything Orlowski had to say on "climategate", why is he not writing this article?

    I wonder why he's so quiet?

    1. raving angry loony

      Because they wanted to allow comments?

    2. TheOtherHobbbes


      he'\s finally going to have to join the reality-based community now.

      (Although I won't be holding my breath waiting for a public admission of error.)

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Massive study concludes: 'Global warming is real'

    Climate skeptics dealt 'clear and rigorous' blow"

    What is a Climate sceptic? The earth has a climate that is constantly changing, no one has ever doubted this.

    Global warming is real. Yes of course it is. It's part of climate change, which has been going on for billions of years and will continue to do so. You know things like ice ages and inter glacial periods etc.

    If it is man made global warming that you allude to then kindly state it correctly. Otherwise your message gets lost amidst a few fairly obvious and pointless statements and makes the author look ignorant of the issues involved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      As you well know: Climate Change and Global Warming are both titles which imply a "Man Made" prefix a Climate Skeptic is someone who doubts the above. This is a tedious method of argument which people who aren't properly equipped to join in a discussion use when they have nothing else to add, other than their opinion. This wouldn't even be accepted in a secondary school debating society, if you can't join in a discussion properly, please don't.

      1. tardigrade

        @AC 20:06

        "Climate Change and Global Warming are both titles which imply a "Man Made" prefix a Climate Skeptic is someone who doubts the above."

        No. The prefix is only assumed to be implied when one wishes to obfuscate the issue and simplify the options within a debate to a rather dumb yes or no exchange of opinions, deliberately engineered to result in only one predetermined outcome. This is helpful to no one and it is both inaccurate and dishonest. It is the tool of a person who does not seek debate, but rather seeks only persuasion and coercion, whilst they themselves maintain a closed mind.

        I abhor this kind of gratuitous simplification as I abhor the attempt at creating a negative mind set by wrapping expansive issues in a layer of simplification that can be easily derided. Hence attaching a negative connotation to the entire issue and thereby removing the danger of exposure to debate when attempting to enforce the desired persuasion.

        Similarly your attempt to deride my comment via the use of attempted ridicule, is another well worn tool of those who seek no debate at all. It's a paper thin response that exposes only your own vacuousness.

      2. Youngdog

        To AC @ 20:06 22/10/11

        I do hope you are being sarcastic AC - that prefix makes a huge difference to the argument in terms of cause and undoubtably what solutions to the problem are feesible. Your comment was arrogant and unsulting - and if I was facing you in secondary school debate I would be relishing the opportunity to cut you down to size. I would start by making the point that by posting as AC you are not 'properly equipped' to join in this discussion.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: AC @20:06

        > Climate Change and Global Warming are both titles which imply a "Man Made" prefix a Climate Skeptic is someone who doubts the above.

        If I believe that the mean global temperature is higher today than 30 years ago and I do not believe that the primary cause is man then how do I answer the question:

        "Is Global Warming Real?"

        Clearly I can not say yes as your facetious argument claims that the question should be interpreted as "Is Man Made Global Warming Real?". Yet if I say "No" then there are some idiots who will point to something like this and claim "See you are wrong, this shows [man made] Global Warming!"

        The study, mainly, does not show anything I did not expect (there are a couple of claims that I haven't had time to look into yet). It does not show whether the increase is mainly man made or natural. It does not show whether any anthropogenic component is caused by CO2, land use changes, or pollutants.

      4. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. PatientOne

          Lee, just to correct a few things in your post.

          1) While the earth did, indeed, warm up significantly since the last ice age, it then cooled down again for the current one and in no way, shape or form had anything to do with man as we didn't exist at the time.

          What I think you meant is that during the current ice age (defined by permanent icecaps) we've seen significant fluctuations of temperatures that are unrelated to human activity (there are records of rapid warming some 25,000 years ago, for example, which is when our great ancestors must have been running around in their SUV's hunting Mammoths, and relaxing in their air conditioned mud huts, playing their proto-x-boxes and so on... (thanks to Tony Robinson and the time team for that one)). Currently we are interglacial, and environmental scientists should be kicking themselves if they didn't know we're expecting to see a warming trend globally (this is required if we're to exit our current ice age and move into the expected and somewhat overdue temperate age).

          2) The French have produced some rather compelling information about how humans have, indeed, been affecting global temperature, and for generations! All the pollutants we'd been spewing into the atmosphere had been artificially cooling the planet! Then the clean air act was brought in and... well, we started to revert to the correct temperature, which was somewhat warmer than it had been... and this temperature change was rather rapid.

          It is hard to tell what is natural and what is man made, and which way either is trying to take the planet. However, yes, you are spot on: We need to look at what this change means for us as a species and to adapt now so we can survive the change. And no, I don't think we can stop it, although we might try.

          Not that the planet will care: We can all die off and good old earth will carry on regardless.

        2. Steve Gill

          Thanks for that Lee

        3. Bullseyed


          "There are a number of climatic issues at stake, the first is the important issue as to whether the climate is actually changing. Unfortunately there are a large number of vocal wingnuts who do not accept that the climate is actually changing. Absurd as this stance is, it is one that needs to be addressed. You cannot have a rational conversation with someone about their car use warming the Earth if they refuse to accept that the Earth is actually warming."

          First, name calling invalidates your argument. So first and foremost, you lost. Congrats.

          Second, climate means changing temperature. Climate does not mean it is 80 degrees and sunny every day. The Earth can be warming without the climate changing. Climate change automatically implies that the fluctuation in temperature and other climate indicators are outside of the harmonic bounds of the function.

          I think just about everyone is OK with the Earth warming. There were some issues early on with data collection methods being irregular, but they mostly seem to check out. So what is next?

          1.) Is the climate changing?

          For the climate to be changing, it must be warmer or colder now than it has ever been on the planet. We know that this is not true. It has been warmer and colder in the past.

          2.) Is it because of CO2?

          CO2 is a natural trigger within the environment. CO2 is released or taken in by the environment regularly and is a natural process.

          3.) Is it because of mankind?

          If humanity was indeed releasing too much CO2 from the environment, the response would be for the remaining natural resources to correct for it. This is a long term process and would still allow for short term changes. So while it would be theoretically possible for mankind to change the climate in the short term, in the long term it should be impossible. Unless of course you believe that mankind can generate CO2 and/or heat more rapidly than the sun, in which case you might need to return to the text books.

          1. boustrephon

            The earth is warming... What else can we confirm...?

            So can we now agree not only that the earth is warming, but that it is following a curve previously accepted by most climate scientists, and used as the basis for study into causes for quite a few years now?

            If so, then we can pretty much reject your vague assertions and conclusions...

            Yes, there is a CO2 cycle, but this doesn't mean that it is stable or free of trends. We know that we have added CO2 to the atmosphere faster than this has ever happened before. This is well-documented and not subject to debate. It is possible and maybe even likely that processes exist or will develop that will counteract this over time, but in the meantime (at least in our lifetimes and those of our children and grandchildren) the increased levels of CO2 are trapping heat coming into the atmosphere faster than it can leave, and the oceans are acidifying. This is having an effect on weather systems and ecosystems, and sea levels are rising.

            So, in response to your questions, yes, yes and yes. Your counter-arguments display a lack of understanding of the processes involved.

    2. DrXym Silver badge

      A climate sceptic

      "What is a Climate sceptic?"

      Think 9/11 truther, creationist, holocaust denier and you won't be far from the mark. In each case they deny something which is supported by overwhelming evidence. Obviously they have no evidence to the contrary so they attempt to undermine the evidence through pseudo science, quote mining, nit picking, putting undue weight on less trustworthy results and so forth.

      1. TimNevins


        If anything the straw man argument is on the other side.

        Truth does not need (nor has ever needed) a law to defend it. It is self evident.

        If anyone attempts to introduce a law(enforcable via a Prison Sentence) to enforce a view you can be sure something is being suppressed.Think Galileo vs the Church

        Why is there no law against believing in UFO,aliens,vampires,re-incarnation etc?

        As for dumping 9/11 truthers, creationists, holocaust deniers into a collective bucket is insulting. I would love to see you 'overwhelming evidence' for non-creationism.

        I would also visit Architects and Engineers for 911 before commenting further and let me know the exact 'pseudo science, quote mining, nit picking, putting undue weight on less trustworthy results' of which you speak.

        1. DrXym Silver badge


          "As for dumping 9/11 truthers, creationists, holocaust deniers into a collective bucket is insulting. I would love to see you 'overwhelming evidence' for non-creationism."

          Perhaps it's insulting, it's also true. See "ClimateGate" as a prime example. Climate change deniers had a field day quote mining those emails, attempting to infer a conspiracy where none existed. The most common example was people screeching over the word "trick" as if it were a scientist attempting to falsify data.

          The simple fact is the denier movement has to reach for the phony baloney bag of tricks because they don't have any evidence of their own. So they attempt to mislead their audience with mined quotes, pseudo science and so on hoping in the confusion that somehow their other-theory wins by default. Just like creationists, 9/11 truthers and so on.

    3. Giles Jones Gold badge

      A climate sceptic is someone who likes quote crackpot scientists paid by the oil industry to try to disprove climate science by using very selective data and other crackpot theories, sunspots and so on.

      They like to deny climate change because it gets in their way of aspiring to be a big round blob rolling around in a luxury V12 4x4.

  5. -tim

    No Urban Heat Island Effect?

    I have a weather station on top of a building a few hundred meters from a very long term official station for Melbourne and I can see the heat island effect from the station run by the BOM that is now sitting next to stalled cars at ground level while my station is above the 44th floor. There is a stable and constant rise around rush hour every day by the station next to the road. You would have to be blind not to see the Urban Heat Island effect that in the data. I do like how they have gone to great lengths to remove 12 different classifications of bad data.

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      I live about 40Km outside Madrid, and the temperatures here are generally 10°C cooler than the max in Madrid. Also at night at this time of year, they drop a lot more here than in the middle of the city. People in the city say that the summers have got worse and worse each year, but outside they have stayed about the same.

      Also a company here has just used satellite measurements as well as weather stations, etc. to characterise and prove the heat island effect in Madrid; and it is getting worse each year; buildings get higher, power usage goes up, more air-con units get turned on etc.

      2 (admitadly anecdotal) hints that the heat island effect is real.

      1. handle

        Heat island effect is not denied

        I don't think anyone is denying the heat island effect - they are just saying that it does not skew the overall global warming result - it was just an excuse by climate change deniers.

        1. -tim

          The weather station I mentioned that has a strong heat island effect is used in the calibration of the Alice Springs data. That data is combined with data from Perth, Broome and Darwin to calibrate weather satellites which are then used to calibrate other systems all over the world.

          /need a cold beer in all of those locations.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Heat Island 'tim

            Agree but not only the local effect on the figures but over that time there must also be a distribution of that heat into the climate in general. After all energy can neither be created or destroyed only transferred or changed.

            The whole issue bugs me, not because I do not necessarily believe that CO2 has no effect, but because no one seems to want to look at the massive amounts of energy we release into the atmosphere and apply basic principals of physics.

            When you look at the overall effect of that generated energy, most of which is released as heat, it is as if we have put the planet in a slow cooker since the start of the industrial revolution and they all want to ignore the effects. Even if alternative energy sources are found the release of heat must continue to be a factor and must have some effect.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        In the U.S.

        ...we have paved over ~44,000 square miles (just talking roads, sidewalks, and parking lots. That's roughly the size of Wisconsin, and that doesn't even count what we've done with buildings.

        So, when did all this construction really start to pick up - wasn't it post World War 2?

        IMHE, anyone who has ever walked on a blacktop road in the summer knows UHI is real and on the scale we've done it, it has to have a macro effect. Why do they keep trying to factor it out of the equation as an error? We've changed the surface of the planet - that should be part of the equation!

        1. Robin 1


          Anyone who says "it has to" without data to back it up should shampoo my crotch.

          1. Anonymous Coward

            Has to

            So every time you exhale hot air where does the heat go....No data required very basic physics!

    2. Chris 244

      Suggest you read the link supplied in the article

      "(U)rban warming does not unduly bias estimates of recent global temperature change."

      Nothing in the report says urban heat islands don't exist, just that they have not significantly impacted the study results.

  6. badger31

    How about ...

    instead of spending all that money on showing, yet again, that temperatures are going up, spending some on figuring out what the hell we are going to do about it? So global warming is real, and there's nothing we can do to stop it. Now what? Call me a sceptic if you like, but I seriously doubt that forcing us all to use CFLs will make any difference.

    1. defiler Silver badge

      Why show it again?

      Because a great number of people didn't believe it the first time around. Or the second. Or the third. ClimateGate (cheesy name) wrecked the reputation of the Climate Change science, even if the individuals who've used it as a cash cow for years hasn't.

      I for one welcome a study that appears to be open and impartial. It may not be good news, but it's clear news, and it can be assessed and verified by anyone who's prepared to spend the time on it, rather than the traditional stance of climatologists poking an unspecified and unreviewed climate model that might as well be a magic 8-ball for all anybody gets to peek inside.

      Now that this study is out there, now that the data is out there for others to satisfy themselves, and now that hopefully the stupid arguments on either side can diminish to actual fruitful science, we can actually get on with figuring out how to save the world.

      CFLs? Yep - they make a hell of a difference. The biggest single electrical drain in most homes is lighting. Almost all the lights in my house are CFL and LED, and my electricity monitor has dropped like a stone. Industry is a different matter, but if the science is proven then legislation will follow. Pay the extra or clean up. And a sensible government (if anyone can find one) will accept that industrial power reduction will have to be global, and gradual.

      My coat's the one with the handover pack for my solar panels in the pocket.

      1. Chris Miller

        "The biggest single electrical drain in most homes is lighting"

        Really? Not in my home, it isn't. Do you live in a football stadium, or do you do all your heating and cooking by means that don't involve electricity?

        1. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

          Many people do:

          My cooking range and central heating are gas-fired. Replacing all the incandescent bulbs by fluorescent lights saved us a significant portion of our energy bill.

        2. defiler Silver badge

          @Chris Miller

          Maybe not in your home, and maybe not for homes outside the UK, to be fair. But for "most homes"...

          My heating, hot water, and kitchen hob run on gas, so to answer your question, I don't use that much electricity for heating things. My kettle boils enough water to make two cups of tea in one minute. My oven draws 2.5kW when it's heating, but once it's hot it spends most of its time off, just topping off the temperature when necessary. You're right in that heating is the big-ticket item for single appliances, but when you've got 400W of lights on for 6 hours a day in your living room, that's enough to roast a pretty big bird in the oven. And many people draw more than 400W in a room for lighting.

          Don't just think about the peak load (850W for my microwave). Think about how long it stays on (5 minutes and your Tesco Jalfrezi is done).

          I think my telly is my biggest drain now, for example, but I've been a right nazi on the lights already!

  7. Paul 87

    Ok, so another study shows that there's been a gradual change in average temperate over a period of time, but have reached no firm conclusions as to the cause of the problem.

    My pet theory has always be simple thermodynamics, more people, all burning off more energy to run all the myriad of gadgets, machines etc that form part of modern life, means a higher average temperate.

    1. mr.K

      Fair theory.

      It is a nice theory, but I did the math on this once and net contribution* by human energy consumption is negligible. Somewhere in the vicinity of 0.01 degrees Kelvin.

      *Net contribution is basically the sum of non renewable energy sources. It should add up to about thirteen terrawatts if I recall correctly.

      1. mr.K

        Really? Downvotes?

        I like the fact that I have received two downvotes on this (so far). What are you giving me the thumbs down for, that I did math?

    2. Bullseyed

      Re: Paul

      "Ok, so another study shows that there's been a gradual change in average temperate over a period of time, but have reached no firm conclusions as to the cause of the problem."

      There is actually no proof that this is a problem at all. The Earth was far "healthier" by ecoterrorist standards when dinosaurs roamed the Earth, and it was far warmer then.

  8. albaleo

    Where did that 1998 peak go?

    Looking at the chart, I wondered where the 1998 peak had gone. I think this is a ten-year moving average version of the data. The BEST site shows both this and a 12-month moving average version. The 12-month version is probably less suggestive of temperatures continuing to rise. Might have been better to publish both, or at least indicate what was being displayed.

  9. Andy Enderby 1

    Be honest, now......

    The hard core deniers are not scientists or indeed anything but paid shills for the petro industry. Unless a polar bear steals their lunch, on snow drifts overlooking Miami beach, or the dollars dry up, there is no such thing as global warming. I mean, these folks are rich, so they know this to be true.......

    1. goats in pajamas

      Biased crap

      The hard core deniers are not scientists or indeed anything but paid shills for the petro industry.

      Another stupid blanket condemnation of everyone with a questioning mind.

      I have a suggestion for you - get a job involving sex and travel.

    2. Msnthrp
      Thumb Down

      Ad fontem arguments never add to the information of an argument, only to the heat. I don't believe anything in this post.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That's what they all say

    I'm not disputing the fact that global warming is or isn't happening but when people tell me it is purely man made I just hear FUD.

    The earth has been going through warm and cold cycles for millions of years and even if the entire worlds population stopped producing any form of CO2 the earth would still be warming. The worlds population is contributing to this "global warming" but in such a low percentage that it won't make the end result any different.

    Regardless of this we should still drive for better efficiently and battery cars are not the way to go. (complete disaster)

    The only proper clean method of energy for the future is hydrogen (personal) and fusion (large scale) the main one being fusion that needs to be out asap then we can use it to produce tons of hydrogen.

    Anonymous obviously because I don't want a visit from the boys for my free speech

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      The issue is not that the climate has always changed, it's that it is now changing faster that it has ever done. There is also the issue of the vast majority of the world's population being in cities very near the sea. Changes in climate while the dinosaurs were roaming the world didn't really matter that much because they didn't tend to make cities.

      Hydrogen is only workable when the problem of storage has been cracked - currently the energy to get hydrogen compressed down to a usable density takes something like the high 80%s of the energy it actually contains. Then there is the issue of having to burn fossil fuels to make it, obviously this can be done by Nuclear.

      Fusion is not viable, it's been "going to be ready in 20 years or so" since just after world war two. We may be nearer at the moment than ever, but we've been nearer than ever since about the same time.

      Fission is probably the only way forward that's viable at the moment.

      1. PatientOne

        @AC 21:02

        "The issue is not that the climate has always changed, it's that it is now changing faster that it has ever done. "

        And how do you know this? How long have we been recording global temperatures? How often have we changed how we do this? And how significant do you think that period is when compared to the changing cycles this planet goes through? To put it simply: We do not KNOW how rapidly the planet temperature has changed in the past. We can surmise, based on evidence, but we didn't actually record it using the same methods we do now. Please do be careful, will you?

        "Changes in climate while the dinosaurs were roaming the world didn't really matter that much because they didn't tend to make cities."

        The changes in climate while the dinosaurs wandered the earth isn't important because they existed during a temperate age, and we're in an ice age. They would have been looking at the disaster of global cooling as the planet entered the current ice age because they were not suited to such climate. Plus, a city is a collection of buildings, much like nests. Dinosaurs may well have built nests, and a large collection might indeed have been a city. Again, we don't know: We're trying to guess on what it was like based on the equivalent of a couple of old cans and a crisp packet. That's why they still don't know what the T-Rex looks like. Seems they now think it has a feathered ruff...

        1. Bullseyed

          Re: PatientOne

          ""The issue is not that the climate has always changed, it's that it is now changing faster that it has ever done. "

          And how do you know this? How long have we been recording global temperatures?"

          While I agree with your sentiment, it is important to note that climate is not temperature. Climate may include temperature, but is not the same thing. This is a core flaw in the "global warming" argument.

          The leftist media has trained the population to think: "well, this summer felt hotter than last summer, therefore the globe is warming and climate change is real!" when there is actually no link between any of the sections of that statement.


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