PolitiFact counters GOP claim, says ‘little dispute’ on science of climate change

There “is very little dispute” among scientists that human beings are the main cause of climate change, PolitiFact said Sunday.

“Based on our research, there is very little dispute in the scientific community, especially among climate specialists, on whether climate change is primarily caused by natural or man-made forces,” the website, which specializes in fact-checking the statements of politicians, said.

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PolitiFact, which is run by the St. Petersburg Times, came to the conclusion after fact-checking a statement from former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R), who abandoned his presidential ambitions this weekend. Pawlenty told the Miami Herald in an interview last week that climate science is “in dispute.”

PolitiFact dismissed Pawlenty’s statement as “false.”

“The overwhelming majority of scientists polled feel that human activity is the primary driver of climate change. Also, based on scientific studies by the IPCC and others, global warming over the past 50 years has been primarily driven by human activity,” the website said.

While Pawlenty dropped out of the presidential race, he is not the only Republican candidate who has raised questions about climate science. Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently announced his intentions to run for president, has called climate change a “phony mess.” Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn.) has questioned whether human beings are responsible for climate change.

Others, like former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R), say humans contribute to climate change, but oppose policies like cap-and-trade.

PolitiFact notes that political rhetoric on climate change is often far removed from the actual science.

“It is not fair to say the science is in dispute," as if there are good arguments on both sides, PolitiFact says. "Rather, there is significant scientific consensus that human beings are contributing to global warming."

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