The environmental phenomenon known as global warming has been around for two decades now. Global warming is still referred to as a “theory” of human-caused climate change and there are many voices crying that the theory is bogus.
The scientific community has long been reported to be in world-wide unanimous agreement that climate change and global warming are not “scare terms” or bogus theories. Scientists trained specifically to recognize the differences between scientific fact and fiction agree that climate change is underway and global warming is occurring on our planet.
The Environmental Protection Agency of the USA states that “climate change is real, is occurring due to emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities and threatens human health and environment.”
Scientists have every reason to tell the truth on this issue and no reason to lie. Yet these specialists are shouted down by several factions including industry and individuals.
The Nay-Sayers Lobby.
Industries have been tied to the production of green house gases and are therefore implicated in the process of climate change. Individuals have also been implicated in the process of global warming through our choices as consumers and our wide-spread reliance on automobiles.
The arguments that industry makes regarding the presumed inaccuracy of the global warming theory are in defense of profit.
If global warming were fully accepted as fact among the members of congress and the public, these industries would be forced to find new, environmentally cleaner modes of production. Profit margins might shrink. They may lose some of the money that now pays for their lobbyists in Washington to argue about how climate change is a myth.
At least industry can make these arguments with a clear purpose. Though an underhanded and tactical disagreement with science is certainly reprehensible, it is understandable. There is logic to industry’s position. There is self-interest.
The arguments that individuals are making, however, follow no organizing logic and are motivated by feelings that are difficult to explain. Businesses have monetary concerns to motivate a public campaign against global warming. What makes the man on the street take a position refuting years of research and the expertise of scientists world-wide?
The Individual Nay-Sayer.
We’ve all encountered the individual who points out a record low temperature in November as proof that global warming is a “false theory”. What is his logic?
What motivates him to take this position? Is it about guilt and implication of responsibility for rising sea-levels? Is it so that he can maintain some sense of superiority over the “tree-hugging,” “Oxford-trained,” “Nobel-Prize-Winning,” “hippy” advocates of climate change policy?
Or is it so that he doesn’t need to feel afraid that it may be too late to take action? Is it so that he doesn’t need to feel compelled to take action?
The individual does not have a bottom line to protect as industry does. That much is clear. So why fling mud in the face of a data-driven theory that has been proven to be accurate again and again?
What does the individual stand to gain in this opposition?
Two Holes: One in the Ozone. One in the Argument.
When a hole was discovered in the ozone layer of earth’s atmosphere, scientists began taking serious notice of the effects of human activity on atmospheric conditions. Greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide, hydrofluorocarbons, etc.) were identified as potential culprits, rising into the earth’s upper atmosphere and taking up residence.
These chemical elements in our atmosphere have caused global temperatures to rise, melting ice caps at the north and south poles which in turn causes a rise in the sea level of our oceans around the world.
The effect on temperatures is an upward trend. There are more record high temperatures in this period of climate change than there are record lows.
Global warming does not imply an end to all cold days. Global warming implies that we will have more warm days than cold days, that seasons and decades will tend to be warmer on the whole, and that droughts, hurricanes and extreme weather conditions may be exacerbated by warmer weather systems and higher global temperatures.
Those who would point to a single low temperature November day and pretend that it is proof against global warming should look at the scientific data showing average global temperature increases for the last three decades.
These one-day pickinannies might also be interested to know that global climate change theory predicts the growing intensity of extreme weather (hurricanes) that we have witnessed recently. Look at Haiti. Look at New Orleans.
“The strongest hurricanes in the present climate may be upstaged by even more intense hurricanes over the next century” states research group NOAA, “as the earth’s climate is warmed by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere.”
Of course, there is a chance that global warming will stop. There is a chance that climate change is completely natural and not driven by human production and waste.
But data suggests that humans are at least partly responsible for climate change.
We don’t need to despair. We shouldn’t despair. And fear of doom should not stop us from believing what the scientific consensus believes.
What we ought to do is agree that we have the power to reduce our own input of chemical agents into the upper atmosphere by making choices in travel, in consumption, and in conversation too.
Sources & Related Articles
The Truth About Global Warming (Washington Post)
No, the Snow Does Not Disprove Global Warming (Washington Post)
Global Warming & Hurricans (NOAA)
Big Oil Companies vs. Global Warming Law (LA Times)