The title is one important policy question. The second is, in either case, should we attempt to change what we perceive the climate to be now and in the near future. There are multiple potential sources of both natural climate variability and human influence on the climate. The focus in recent decades has been on the supposed role of fossil fuel emissions, of which I am dubious. Researchers have difficulty agreeing on even such basic questions as when does weather become climate; that is, how long a stretch of time is needed for us to determine that meteorologic events reflect a change in climate versus just randomness in weather events. We all certainly should recognize that weather is highly variable on a season to season and year to year basis. There are long-standing natural phenomenon like El Nino and La Nina that can signficantly change weather on an annual basis. So teasing out whether changes in weather variables like temperature or rainfall are natural or human-caused is incredibly complex.
One critical natural variable is the sun itself, which provides almost all the external energy impact on earth. The amount of energy delivered by the sun varies due to both internal solar processes, but more importantly, due to the changing nature of the earth’s orbit and the orientation of the earth to the sun. Our orbit is not a perfect circle, the earth is tilted in regard to its orbit and the axis of tilt wobbles. So understanding how much the variation in the amount of solar energy reaching the earth impacts climate is important. This paper is worth a complete read to help understand the issues and what different studies may tell us. (Soon Paper)
Personally, I distrust many of the measurements of key weather variables; science has become too ideological. So I am also inclined to think that much of what we are experiencing reflects natural cycles, although I don’t doubt that the sheer scope of human activity on the planet could affect weather and climate.
On the second question, there is no doubt in my mind that we are absolute lunatics to change our energy policy as we are now for the goal of stopping supposed climate change. We are literally lowering the quality of people’s lives everywhere for a phantom menace. An ice age will be on us sooner rather than later, no matter what, and we would be far better off preparing for how we address that truly humanity-threatening event.