Don't you just hate it when people reject settled science and mountains of evidence? Oh, wait, I know you do. You once decked a moon landing denialist who was pestering you to swear on a Bible that you really did go to the moon.
So isn't just a tad ironic that you cavalierly reject decades of scientific evidence and the hard work of thousands of your fellow scientists because your "first inclination is to be a bit skeptical about the claims that human-produced carbon dioxide is the direct contributor to climate change?" I mean, really, wouldn't you be a little cheesed off if a climate scientist said "my first inclination is to be a bit skeptical that man ever walked on the moon?"
When you climbed into Gemini 12 and Apollo 11, you were putting your life and the lives of your crew in the hands of hundreds of scientists and engineers who were, in turn, relying on decades of scientific discovery and engineering skill to build the Lunar Module you flew in. That brave and heroic act inspired millions of people, encouraged thousands of young people to study science, and provided all of us with images of our planet that continue to fill us with awe, humility, and a deep sense of shared responsibility to care for this magnificent "Blue Marble" we call home. Your career since returning to Earth has been distinguished by tireless advocacy for space exploration and science education.
So, please, don't throw your fellow scientists under the bus. The conclusions of climate science come from the same scientific process that put you on the moon. Turn that formidable brain of yours to a dispassionate consideration of the scientific evidence. Talk to some climate scientists. And then come back and tell us all that you're not a science denier after all. What we, as a society, do about our changing climate is a legitimate matter for debate. Whether we, as a society, are changing the climate, can no longer be credibly denied.
All of us here at the National Center for Science Education.