One of the foremost political issues in the past few years has been the environment, and with it, the topic of global warming. A recent survey showed that 85% of Americans believe there is global warming, and 66% of respondents believe the government should be doing more to alter the current situation (Time/ABC). However, before we take action as a nation, it would be prudent to look at the issue from another angle. Is global warming really happening, is it man made, and can we fix it? If the answers are no, why is there such a panic over the situation?
The common answers to these questions are found most readily in surveys, studies, and news reports. According to the Time/ABC survey, not only does the vast majority believe global warming is a problem, but 88% believe that it threatens future generations. In addition to this, most people blame local weather irregularities on global warming, and nationwide weather services blame hurricanes and tropical storms on the global warm up. The dangers we are warned of are devastating, melting ice caps, rising sea levels, and a plague of malaria infested mosquitoes spreading throughout the earth. Going hand in hand with this is the accusation that you and I, the automobile drivers of America, are the source of the greenhouse emissions that are ruining the planet. In addition to the evils of the internal combustion engine, we burn coal and more oil to generate electricity for our computers, light bulbs and refrigerators. Because of our life of luxury, those in the third world are suffering mightily. Time sums up the situation nicely, saying “No one can say exactly what it looks like when a planet takes ill, but it probably looks a lot like Earth.” But, because we are creating this situation, we also have the power to return the ailing earth to full health, if we sharply curb the use of fossil fuels, return to a world without airplanes, limit the use of automobiles, and replant the forest. Long lost in this entire process are the real questions, considering the situation, and the pros and cons of changing our situation.
With this topic in mind I conducted a survey amongst high school students in my area. When asked if they believed the earth was undergoing a warming trend, 50% stated yes, and 50% stated they did not. 85% of the students did not believe that rising temperatures were the fault of mankind, with 15% saying they believed man was at fault. This survey contrasts sharply with the national survey conducted by Time/ABC, perhaps indicating the varying opinions between age groups. However, the common perception the global warming is happening is prevalent in both groups. This perception itself may be false. In reality, even in the scientific community, there is much debate over our climate situation.
A group of 60 scientists in Canada expressed their concern on the issue, writing to the prime minister (Mark Morano):
“Observational evidence does not support today's computer climate models, so there is little reason to trust model predictions of the future…Significant [scientific] advances have been made since the [Kyoto] protocol was created, many of which are taking us away from a concern about increasing greenhouse gases.”
From the other point of view, we look at the hurricanes, with there increasing strength and frequency, and along with high heat levels across the world, its easy to blame it on global warming. However, looking at the actual weather statistics presents a different picture. In the summer of 2006, we heard persistently about high temperatures and lack of rain, yet the data published by the National Climate Data Center shows differently.
“December 2005 - February 2006 temperatures were above average in North America, Scandinavia and parts of India. Colder-than-average conditions occurred in Europe, Russia and the western coast of Australia.”
In addition to this, scientists have not been observing the temperature of the earth in detail for any longer then 100 years, which is hardly long enough to detect significant trends, when man has been on earth for 6000 years. Just in the last century, we have seen fluctuations in the average temperature. In fact, in the 1970’s, people were warned of the impending ice age, that would turn most of North America, Europe, and Asia in to frozen tundra. Another knock to the global warming theory is the declining ocean temperatures, despite the climate models predicting otherwise.
“The former climatologist for the state of Colorado, Roger Pielke, Sr., noted that the sudden cooling of the oceans “certainly indicates that the multi-decadal global climate models have serious issues with their ability to accurately simulate the response of the climate system to human- and natural-climate forcings.”
Even in the past several decades, computer models have been proven wrong. If we can’t predict weather 2 weeks out, why would we place our trust in faulty computer models covering the next century? Covering the record of false predictions, US Senator Inhofe says it best.
“The history of the modern environmental movement is chock-full of predictions of doom that never came true. We have all heard the dire predictions about the threat of overpopulation, resource scarcity, mass starvation, and the projected death of our oceans. None of these predictions came true, yet it never stopped the doomsayers from continuing to predict a dire environmental future. The more the eco-doomsayers’ predictions fail, the more the eco-doomsayers predict,”
Our next question assumes the earth is in a warming trend, and may continue to be in one for a while. So, is it possible for mankind to be responsible for this trend? The most common scoundrel is the automobile, which is incessantly harassed by environmental groups, some going as far as to graffiti car dealerships in retaliation. While this is the extreme, fringe reaction, it still exists. The main reason for this hated is the green house gas emissions that cars produce, which it is theorized may drift into the atmosphere, and reflect back more heat into the earth then is needed. And yet, with the wide spread use of automobiles dating back to the 1950s, we have yet to see a large, devastating bump in temperatures. French scientist Claude Allegre states “By burning fossil fuels, man enhanced the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which has raised the global mean temperature by half a degree in the last century,” This raises the question, how much does man really contribute to green house gas emissions? The volcanoes world wide produce (Rowland, Scott)
“5X10^11 kg of CO2 per year; that production, along with oceanic and terrestrial biomass cycling maintained a carbon dioxide reservoir in the atmosphere of about 2.2X10^15 kg…Current fossil fuel and land use practices now…has resulted in a progressively increasing atmospheric reservoir of 2.69X10^15 kg of CO2” Despite the common conception of manmade greenhouse emissions ruining the planet, Natural sources are a very large contributor to the greenhouse effect. Today, the impending disaster of man made global warming is just as far away as it was 30 years ago.
So, if man is not causing global warming, could we then alter the course of the climate if we needed to? Looking at it from this angle presents a variety of problems, such as ‘how would we melt the polar ice caps?’ or ‘could we make a hole in the ozone layer?’ If we used nuclear weapons on the polar caps, each nuke would melt a circle with a 100 mile diameter. And yet, the polar regions of the earth cover thousands of square miles, and would refreeze to their former condition in a few short weeks. The ozone layer is in a constant state of flux, alternating between persistent coverage of the earth and a spotty, Swiss cheese blanket over mankind. If we took a bunch of cargo jets loaded with Chlorofluorocarbons, dumped them into the ozone layer, and watched from below (presumably with sunglasses on), we would see the ozone layer separate, and return in a few weeks to its former state of coverage. This is because ozone is made when the sunlight breaks apart water molecules in the upper atmosphere, separating the hydrogen from the oxygen. In some cases, the free floating oxygen molecules will bond together, creating O3, which is ozone.
If man couldn’t destroy the environment if we tried, how can we fix it or improve it? Well, the environment in the advanced nations of the world, such as the United States and the United Kingdom, are thriving. People who own their land take care of it, both for better resale value and general good stewardship of their property. Besides, no one wishes to put the environment into the rubbish heap. Where we find the worst environments in the world are places with very limited personal ownership of property, such as China, many African nations, and the Middle East. In addition, there are two forms of industry in the world, socialism and capitalism. The socialist economies, such as China, and formerly Russia, are home to some of the least clean industries in the world. In the United States and Japan however, the corporations realize people like to buy from clean companies, and leaving a negative impact on the environment creates bad publicity, alienating consumers. Because of this, capitalistic economies generally run much cleaner then comparable socialist economies.
Comparing the two surveys, the one conducted on the adults of the United States by Time/ABC and my own survey of high school students, we have a marked difference. The older generations, who for most of their life have received news from the large media outlets on TV and in the newspapers, believe global warming exists. This may be explained by ABC news reporter, Bill Blakemore
“The deep professional shame that I discovered two years ago,” regarding how he believes the media had been manipulated by skeptics of manmade catastrophic global warming. “Of course [skeptics] play on the idea that we have to be ‘balanced,’” he noted. “It was very lazy of us for 10 years when we were asked for balance from the [climate skeptic] spinners. We just gave up and said ‘Okay, okay – I will put the other side on, okay are you happy now?’” he said. “And it saves us from the trouble of having to check out the fact that these other sides were the proverbial flat earth society.”
The younger generation is more in tune with the internet and alternative news sources, which will make a more balanced view on the issue. In fact, the survey results were split 50-50 on the issue of global warming, and yet when it came to whether man was responsible or not, it was the exact opposite of the older generation, with 85% of respondents stating man was not responsible. This difference is even more interesting when looked in the light of who will be around to see the world 50 years down the road.
So, we have the answers to our initial questions. Global warming is not happening, or is happening in such a small amount as to not affect our lives, in this generation or the ones to follow. Mankind is not responsible for this situation, the earth is far to large for us to affect the equilibrium of. But this brings us to the last question, why is there such a panic over this? It boils down to money, and the amount that naive, concerned people will donate to the ‘cause’. Claude says it best, noting “the ecology of helpless protesting has become a very lucrative business for some people.”
The preceding was a paper I wrote for my english class this semester. I appoligize for the lack of pictures or other interesting visual stimulation, as Blogger and IE7 are not cooporating to put in pictures.
If you skipped reading it, no biggie. Its a reference to refer to if your in an arguement, or I'm in a fierce boarding action with the Pirate Armada, and need some heavy weapons to push back the moonbats of the left regarding 'Global Warming'. Happy new year, and I hope to see ya'll throughout the year.