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An increasing fear looms over the earth that our globe is catching a permanent fever that will result in environmental doom and human extinction. Man-made CO2 emissions and other human-induced, heat-trapping pollutants expelled into our global atmosphere are primarily believed to be to blame. However, while it is true that the globe is indeed warming, and has been for over half a century, it is fortunate for the citizens of this planet that this global warming issue is actually due to natural occurrences such as climate cycles and deforestation. The fact is that global warming is not a crisis, and the low amounts of warming that have occurred up to this point are primarily the result of the previously mentioned natural occurrences.
Political activists, environmental groups, the media and other vociferous organizations have failed to publicize the expectedness of this so-called crisis. Before jumping on the bandwagon to accompany many other unqualified cohorts within this nation, we ask you to reevaluate your outlook on this matter, and consider the other side of this debate.
Mastermind Center On Global Climate Exchange
Included in the following paper is a report compiled by four expert members of the Mastermind Center on Global Climate Exchange. Our team, comprised of one scientist, one economist, one business leader and one policy maker, has thoroughly analyzed the complex and controversial issue of climate change.
With our extensive research, it has been determined that the globe is, in fact, warming, however this incident is not primarily attributable to humankind but rather to a myriad of other factors which are, by nature, ordinary. The following disproves the misleading consensus that global warming is a human-induced crisis by positing the natural, scientifically proven, key drivers of global warming. Some of these are climate cycles, deforestation and radiation, among many others. The objective of the following report is to identify the facts underlying global warming and its impacts, because a misunderstanding of the facts may result in resplendently bad policy judgments. Our research team addresses the more imminent and real economic crisis that threatens our global society; namely, the trillions of dollars that could be wasted to significantly reduce the level of CO2 emitted by companies and individuals.
Did you know that the consensus has not always supported the belief that the planet is warming due to humankind's environmental negligence? It was only a few decades ago that major news media was using scare tactics to argue that the globe was experiencing a drastic decrease in temperature due to the carelessness of humankind.
Joseph Paul Watson, an eminent researcher whose particular interest is examining the media, mentions the fact that between the 1940's and 1980's, there was a good deal of hype in the media concerning global cooling, despite great amounts of CO2 emitted into the air as a result of the industrial revolution, and people were being unnecessarily terrified with the thought of a “meteorological apocalypse” and a new ice age. He made this interesting point by saying, “From the 1940's until the 1980's, the Earth experienced a significant cooling period, despite the fact that industrial production and release of CO2 vastly accelerated during this time. This led to political and media scaremongering about global cooling, the threat that the earth was in the midst of a new ice age” (Watson, 2007).
To further illustrate this, the April of 1975 edition of Newsweek, a major US publication, released the following information in an article entitled “The Cooling World”:
The central fact is that after three quarters of a century of extraordinarily mild conditions, the earth's climate seems to be cooling down. [Meteorologists] are almost unanimous in the view that the trend will reduce agricultural productivity for the rest of the country. The meteorologists begin forecasting the results of this decrease by noting the slight drop in overall temperatures that produces large numbers of pressure centers in the upper atmosphere. These break up the smooth flow of westerly winds over temperature areas. The stagnant air produced in this way causes an increase in extremes of weather such as droughts, floods, extended dry spells, long freezes, and delayed monsoons. (Gwynne, 1975)
To the layman, this article immediately achieves scientific credibility due to the seemingly large number of meteorologists who support the idea, and forces the reader to fear that perhaps their own life is threatened. Fortunately, this claim was eventually dismissed due to the nonfactual grounds upon which it was based. This Newsweek article simply illustrates why people need to be skeptical of “common knowledge” and reassess the reasons underlying their beliefs.
Similar to the growing consensus in the 70's, our team of analysts has concluded that the modern consensus has lead to an inaccurate hypothesis that global warming is a human-made crisis deserving drastic attention. A recent example of the media attempting to divert the audience's attention away from the hard facts is illustrated by Al Gore's movie, An Inconvenient Truth. The main thrust of the video is to prove that global warming is a man-made crisis. However, the information presented by the movie is in question. Dr. William Gray, a meteorologist renowned by Capitalism Magazine and the Washington Post for his accurate predictions and brilliant studies in weather patterns and hurricanes, analyzed Gore's film. Gray calls it “a slick movie.” He also says, “if I hadn't been 50 years down in the trenches doing meteorological research and climate studies I might be a bit taken by it too. I would say if I were to summarize the movie, half of his facts are inaccurate, and then the rest of it he exaggerated” (John Herron).
The fact is that Al Gore's movie is very inaccurate, as he has intentionally twisted many facts. Joseph Paul Watson points out that “antarctic ice core samples show that the rise in carbon dioxide levels lags behind temperature rise by 800 years, (and) therefore (CO2) cannot be the cause of it (temperature). …Al Gore, in his film An Inconvenient Truth, deliberately reverses these figures to claim CO2 causes temperature change, when in fact the opposite is the case” (Watson, 2007).
Al Gore's credentials are also not very convincing. Not only is he not a scientist, but while he was at Harvard, he received a D in his Natural Sciences 6 class during his sophomore year, followed by a C+ in Natural Sciences 118 during his senior year (Herron). It is also true that Gore's transcript was filled with C's (Braceras, 2000). Scientists like Dr. Gray are much more credible. For example, as the Washington Post states, he “is often called the World's Most Famous Hurricane Expert. He's the guy who, every year, predicts the number of hurricanes that will form during the coming tropical storm season” (Achenbach, 2006).
Capitalism Magazine also affirms that “Meteorologist Dr. William Gray may be the world's most famous hurricane expert. More than two decades ago, as professor of atmospheric science and head of the Tropical Meteorology Project at Colorado State University, he pioneered the science of hurricane forecasting” (Glassman, 2005). In speaking in reference to Gore's work, Gray said, “(h)e's one of these guys that preaches the end of the world type of things. I think he's doing a great disservice and he doesn't know what he's talking about” (Burdeau, 2007).
Of course, Dr. Gray is not the only scientist who opposes “An Inconvenient Truth”. The CFP came out with an interesting statement concerning Bob Carter and his opinion: “Professor Bob Carter of the Marine Geophysical Laboratory at James Cook University, in Australia gives what, for many Canadians, is a surprising assessment: ‘Gore's circumstantial arguments are so weak that they are pathetic. It is simply incredible that they, and his film, are commanding public attention.'” It seems, according to the scientists anyway, that Gore has deceived many people.
Another supported argument that invalidates the hypothesis that global warming is a human-made crisis involves the forecasting models used to quantify the drivers and effects of global warming. Scientists worldwide are questioning the assumptions necessary to project climate changes half a century or more in the future. An article written by a team of international scientists in BioScience, entitled “Forecasting the Effects of Global Warming,” focuses on the critical need to develop better forecasting methods to predict the effects of global warming. Matthew Sobel, a scientist and professor on this team stated, “The simultaneous widespread and justified alarm over global warming and changes in biodiversity has induced both outstanding scientific research and deplorable pseudoscientific work” (Sobel, 2007). Other scientists question the legitimacy of the models being used in today's research. Daniel Botkin, a proficient scientist, biologist, and ecologist, also attests that many global warming predictions are inaccurate due to their being based on old computer models that have not been updated (Botkin, 2007). Botkin states,
The climate modelers who developed the computer programs that are being used to forecast climate change used to readily admit that the models were crude and not very realistic, but were the best that could be done with available computers and programming methods. They said our options were to either believe those crude models or believe the opinions of experienced, data-focused scientists. Having done a great deal of computer modeling myself, I appreciated their acknowledgment of the limits of their methods. But I hear no such statements today. Oddly, the forecasts of computer models have become our new reality, while facts such as the few extinctions of the past 2.5 million years are pushed aside, as if they were not our reality. (Botkin, 2007)
There are many fallacies that are present in the contemporary media on global warming. Scare tactics, slippery slopes, exaggeration and appeals to sentimental emotions are all fallacies that can be easily identified in current publications on this issue. A current Newsweek article entitled “Global Warming Heats Up” stated the following, “Disasters have always been with us and surely always will be. But when they hit this hard and come this fast--when the emergency becomes commonplace--something has gone grievously wrong. That something is global warming!” (Kluger, 2006). This excerpt illustrates the common fallacy of incorporating scare tactics, which are often used by advocates of global warming, to convince their audience that if they do not act immediately, something will go fatally wrong. Extreme exaggerations are also being used to illuminate the severity of the consequences of global warming. Meteorologist Dr. Gray claimed that the hype concerning global warming is “ridiculous” and supported by “people who don't understand how the atmosphere works” (Herron). There are many other scientists who are opposed to the whole global warming consensus of today. (Al Gore Debates Global Warming). Dr. Syun-Ichi Akasofu, the director of the International Arctic Research Center of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, is one. Dr. Tim Ball, a former professor of Climatology at the University of Winnipeg, is another. Both these scientists point out how rises in the temperature and CO2 levels are often reversed. Audiences need to analyze the contemporary literature on global warming more critically to verify that they do not become merely a product of the fickle media.
Does CO2 Cause Global Warming?
Although it is true that levels of carbon dioxide and surface temperatures are correlated, it is not true that CO2 is the major cause of this rise in temperature. In fact, many respected scientists such as Ian Clark, Syun-Ichi Akasofu, and Tim Ball claim that temperature fluctuation actually precedes changes in carbon dioxide levels. The fact that temperature changes precede changes in carbon dioxide levels demonstrates that temperature affects the CO2 level, and not the other way around. Scientists such as Ian Clark and Nir Shaviv have both affirmed that according to analyses of the past, CO2 has a very minimal effect on temperature change.
For example, Ian Clark, an Earth Science professor at the University of Ottawa, mentioned that if “we look at climate through the geological time frame, we would never suspect CO2 as a major climate driver. We can't say that CO2 will drive climate. It certainly never did in the past.” Piers Corbyn, a weather Forecaster who works with Weather Action, affirmed that “(n)one of the major climate changes in the last thousand years can be explained by CO2.”. University of Virgina Patrick J. Michaels, who is also a member of the IPCC and the Department of Environmental Science, claims that “(a)nyone who goes around and says that carbon dioxide is responsible for most of the warming of the 20th century hasn't looked at the basic numbers.” According to Associate Professor of Physics Nir Shaviv from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, “(t)here were periods… in earth's history when we had 3 times as much CO2 as we have today, or periods when we had ten times as much CO2 as we have today, and if CO2 has a large effect on climate, then you should see it in the temperature reconstruction.” (“Al Gore Debates Global Warming”).
Further, contrary to popular belief, there is no real scientific proof that increased CO2 levels are actually causing global warming. In science, to even attempt to prove a particular theory, it is required that as many possible confounding variables, that is, variables that might have an alternative impact on the data, be eliminated (“Man Caused Global Warming Scientific Fact?”). There are many confounding variables related to global warming for which there is no account, such as irrigation, the ground ozone layer, changes in volcanic emissions, changes in methane emissions by plants due to genetic evolutionary driven changes, and changes in plant coverage, otherwise known as deforestation (“Man Caused Global Warming Scientific Fact?”, 2006).
Because of the lack of proven facts to support the idea that CO2 causes global warming, it can only technically be classified as a theory, but certainly not as a scientific fact. Since the theory of global warming is primarily based on assumptions, we propose that CO2 produced global warming is merely a belief.
An analysis of the earth's atmosphere reveals that estimates of the materials released by the earth are highly speculative. The earth's atmosphere is an open system which means that no one has any certain idea how many different materials are released by the earth. As there is no control over the confounding variables in an open system, all conclusions to experiments should be viewed skeptically. There are many confounding variables related to global warming for which there is no account, such as irrigation, the ground ozone layer, changes in volcanic emissions, changes in methane emissions by plants due to genetic evolutionary driven changes, and changes in plant coverage, or deforestation (“Man Caused Global Warming Scientific Fact?”, 2006). An example of a confounding variable is illustrated by a quote from Reid Bryson, Emeritus Professor, “In the first 30 feet of the atmosphere, on the average, outward radiation from the Earth, which is what CO2 is supposed to affect, how much [of the reflected energy] is absorbed by water vapor? In the first 30 feet, 80 percent, okay? ...: And how much is absorbed by carbon dioxide? Eight hundredths of one percent. One one-thousandth as important as water vapor,” (“Man Caused Global Warming Scientific Threat”). Carbon dioxide is only a drop of water in the whole bucket of confounding variables.
Another drop of water in that bucket is the fact that the sun's radiation has much to do with the earth's temperature changes. The following graph, from the Marshall Institute and Astrophyscial Journal, juxtaposes the relationship between solar activity and the temperature and the relationship between carbon dioxide levels and the temperature.
You can see that solar activity is correlating very well with temperature, meaning that both are rising and falling simultaneously. The graph also illustrates that over the last few years, temperatures have begun to decrease. Does this mean that we will have another Ice Age scare? No. The magnetic cycles of the sun actually help regulate the temperature on the earth. It is not just human-made CO2.
There are other points to consider about the correlation between carbon dioxide and global warming. Because of natural incidents such as volcanoes and geysers, it is impossible to even try to demonstrate that changes in CO2 levels are human-made because these two natural occurrences emit water vapor, another greenhouse gas. The evolution of rises in carbon dioxide must be shown to be historically true and accurate. This cannot be accomplished due to the fact that there were no accurate tools for even crude temperature analysis thousands of years ago. There is no model that can make accurate predictions of the past, including predictions regarding atmospheric upper-level temperatures. Any model that is unable to match past data must be labeled as incorrect (“Man Caused Global Warming Scientific Fact?”, 2006).
These are a few, of many, reasons as to why we cannot truly say with any certainty that man-made CO2 has any serious effect on the climate. The earth's atmosphere is an open system with many confounding variables impacting the data. The only true fact that can be deduced is that the variables of temperature and carbon dioxide levels share a correlation, not causation, relationship.
Causes Of Global Warming
If man-made CO2 emissions are not responsible for the gradual, and relatively minuscule, increase in the world's temperature, then what is? It seems few people take into account three very essential factors; deforestation, climate cycles, and radiation, all of which are imperative when analyzing the theory of warming. For example, when studying climate change, it is evident that thousands of factors beyond CO2 must be considered. Also, we must consider where CO2 comes from, such as from the increases of deforestation. Furthermore, radiation is just one more factor that scientists consider when analyzing climate change.
Climate cycles are largely responsible for the changes in the earth's temperature. The earth's climate has always moved in cycles, suggesting that at any point it is getting warmer or cooler with cyclical changes (Botkin, 2007). We are indeed going through a warming period at present, but this has happened before. During the High Middle Ages, from roughly 850-1250 A.D., there was a major increase in global temperature, where it was actually warmer then than it is now (Watson, 2007). The evidence for this is obvious. For one thing, Iceland and Greenland were both inhabited by Vikings. In fact, not only were these Norsemen able to live on these islands, but they were also able to farm and raise livestock, as recent archeological studies show (Mandia, 2000). Also, obviously due to more temperate weather, England could at that time efficiently grow wine grapes, which could not pragmatically be done either before that period or even today (Gardiner, 2007). The Arctic Sea Ice shows very obvious signs of having melted during that period. Geologist Kristina Brady affirms this through studies of the ice cores (Brady, 2007). Finally, the line of trees in the Alps, due to the warmth at higher altitudes, was much higher at that time than it was before that period or even is today (Gardiner, 2007). The question is, why did this happen? The answer is that we don't really know, simply because there are so many thousands of variables to consider when measuring climate. We can, however, safely say that it was not the result of man-made CO2. As Philip Stott, a professor at the University of London, pointed out, “we know very little about 80% of the factors behind climate change” (Lehrer, 2007). Hence, we must try to go beyond the natural instinct of blaming CO2 and judge other causes as well.
But speaking of CO2, a question that should be asked is, how much of it is really caused by man-made accessories? A part of the answer can be found in deforestation. Known as the rapid removal of indigenous plant-life and trees from forests and woodlands, deforestation is supposed to attribute to one third of the recent increases in CO2 levels (Matthews, 2006). This is not to say that CO2 is a major problem with climate, but it is to say that at most only 2/3 of it can be attributed to carbon-emitting, man-made machinery, and the rest goes to deforestation.
This is mainly because trees are actually composed of 50% carbon, which is expelled into the air when they decompose. According to Christopher Matthews, “Trees are 50 percent carbon. When they are felled or burned, the C02 they store escapes back into the air. According to FAO figures, some 13 million ha of forests worldwide are lost every year, almost entirely in the tropics. Deforestation remains high in Africa, Latin America and Southeast Asia” (Matthews, 2006). While it is true that most deforested trees are not left to rot, and thus realistically, little carbon is expelled due to trees, this is not the real problem. What is most important is that trees are in fact major consumers of carbon, for, just as a human breathes oxygen, so too do trees breathe carbon dioxide. Thus, when trees die, they are no longer present to consume the excess carbon in the atmosphere (Matthews, 2006). So the question with CO2 is not always that of emission, but we must also consider the lack of consumption by trees.
Trees also, due to their immense amount of water consumption and emissions of water into the air, are very important to the water cycle. When trees are present, there is more moisture released into the air, which accumulates into rain and in turn cleans polluted air. As Jocelyn Stock affirms, “The forests have global implications not just on life but on the quality of it. Trees improve the quality of the air that species breath by trapping carbon and other particles produced by pollution. Trees determine rainfall and replenish the atmosphere.” Fewer trees mean less evaporation, which inevitably leads to warm, dirty air. While it is true that temperatures can be warmer due to cloud-cover, which tends to trap heat, it is also true that, in the long run, the natural cleansing of the air produced by rain will result in fewer pollutants and a cooler climate. Finally, trees provide shade. With more trees, areas of earth will be cooler. When there are fewer trees, the earth itself gets warmer (Stock, 2007).
Now, to quite simply address the important point, it is true that indigenous forests and woodlands have been reduced by at least one-fifth of their former size in the last several years. Forests presently occupy only 21% of global land mass and are continually being removed at a rate of about 12 million hectares (10,000 meters squared) per year (Collins, 2001). Trees have never before been reduced by this high amount. Back in the days of the Roman Empire, the estimated forest area was 90% of global mass (Stock, 2007). This is a major decrease in climate-regulating, carbon-reducing machinery. Is there any wonder why the earth might be slightly warmer now than before? If you have a problem with excess CO2, blame the lack of trees, not man-made machinery.
This problem of deforestation can be reduced. In third world countries, thousands of acres of forests and tropical woodlands are destroyed for the sake of farmland. This land has poor crop yields, leading to more forest destruction. It would be a better alternative to leave the forests alone and trade other goods for food from other countries more well-endowed with farmland (Stock, 2007).
Of course, this nevertheless brings up an interesting point. As already implied, during the times of the Medieval Warm period, there were more trees on the globe, and less CO2 in the atmosphere. Today, there are less trees and more CO2. The strange thing is that the facts demonstrated above by Gardiner, Brady, and Mandia show that the earth was warmer during the Medieval Warm Period than it is today. So how much is CO2 really to blame? According to the data, it has a very slight effect indeed!
The last cause of global warming to be discussed is radiation. It is interesting to note that, according to University of London's Phillip Stott, many eminent scientists are now giving radiation more emphasis than ever before. “There are a whole range of scientists who are working on this particular topic and they say it is one of the big unknowns (and a lot of) regular research has been done on it” (Lehrer, 2007). Daniel Botkin, scientist and biologist, discusses an exemplary illustration of radiation. He agrees with the current observation that the glacier on Mt. Kilimanjaro is melting, although it is amidst below-freezing temperatures (Botkin, 2007). What must be considered, however, is that the temperatures are not always below freezing, since the temperature of this mountain is affected by “freezing cold nights and burning sun during the day” (“Kilimanjaro”, 2007). If this ice is melting due to an excess of CO2, the temperature would have to gradually rise in a continuous trend, since it is trapping heat from the sun which also does not escape. However, this is not the case. The ice melts during the day, freezes during the night, and melts again during the day, simply due to the heat from the sun. It is also not uncommon for ice to melt when in direct contact with radiation from the sun, even when the air temperature is below freezing. Therefore, the obvious conclusion is that natural radiation, not CO2, causes this melting to occur (Botkin, 2007).
This all goes to show that there are many, many different ways of analyzing the issue of global warming far beyond the scope of CO2. We must consider that the climate moves in cooling and warming cycles, and that it always has. We must consider that the past evidence shows that CO2 has little to do with the increase in temperatures, and we must also realize that the CO2 present in the atmosphere is the result not only of emission, but also lack of consumption. Finally, other variables such radiation must be considered. When all variables are considered, it is actually very ridiculous to blame man-made CO2 as being the primary driver of climate changes.
What About The Animals?
Recently, the United Nations published an article stating that twenty to thirty percent of all species on the earth will become extinct due to global warming. In the article “German Biologist: Global Warming is Good for Us,” respected German biologist Josef Reichholf, this is nothing “but fear-mongering, for which there is no concrete evidence” (Spiegel, 2006). Reichholf goes on to explain that, when the temperature rises, there are more species that flourish during warm weather than in colder temperatures. Scientific studies suggest that animals will not become extinct due to changing global temperatures. In the past 2.5 million years, which is a time period that experienced extreme weather fluctuations (i.e. ice age), almost none of the millions of species have gone extinct (Botkin, 2007).
Contrary to popular belief, many species actually flourish in warmer temperatures. This is shown in Rieccholf's example of tropical rainforests and the extreme diversity of them. Many plants and animals thrive in milder climates, including the Baldcypress tree and the Oleander flower (Dirr, 2007). The P. erionerus, a crab off of the Oregon coast is another example. An experiment performed by Jonathan Stillman, a current professor of biology at San Francisco State University, proved that in an observation of crabs from differing temperature habitats, those crabs who originated in the coldest temperatures (47 °F), were able to withstand the greatest temperature change (83°F) (Shwartz, 2003). This is just one example among many, of the animals and plants which flourish under warmer living conditions.
Another point to consider is the fact that living organisms depend on a variety of factors, not just temperature. When analyzing the overall welfare of plants and animals, additional factors that must be taken into consideration include food and habitat. An example is the amount of mockingbirds populating Manhattan. A recent query by The New York Times shows that, even though Mockingbirds are not native to Manhattan, they are beginning to populate it. Many people speculate that this mass migration is the result of a rise in temperatures, when actually studies show that it is due to the fact that a tropical plant species considered to be delectable by the birds has spread to the Manhattan area and not by new temperatures, but by tourists and owners who liked the plant. (Botkin, 2007). The migration of mockingbirds to Manhattan apparently has little to do with temperature change.
The adaptability of animals is one reason animals can live in many climates worldwide. In general, animals have the incredible capability to adapt rapidly in response to their changing environment. In discussing global warming, many people target the polar bear as a species which is highly threatened under warmer temperatures. To prove the adaptability of polar bears, they actually evolved from the grizzly bear about 250,000 years ago in response to the drastic climate changes of the ice age (“Bad News Bears”, 2006). Global warming advocates maintain that polar bears are being threatened with extinction due to the changing temperatures of global warming. This, however, is just another fallacy. In reality, polar bears are increasing in number. Polar bear biologist Mitch Taylor states, "Of the 13 populations of polar bears in Canada, 11 are stable or are increasing in number. They are not going extinct, or even appear to be affected at present." (“Bad News Bears”, 2006). Science writer Theo Richel adds to this idea. He says that although statistics show that the current population of polar bears has recently decreased, and their number is between 22,000 and 25,000, it is also true that 500 years ago, there were only between 8,000 and 10,000 polar bears (“Bad News Bears”, 2006). Also, if we must really look at polar bears as a threatened species, we must consider all factors; not just ones that look nice on paper. One that does not commonly arise in the global warming debates is how their food supply is diminishing, not because of global warming, but because of another predator: humans. Riechholf explains that the most dangerous threat to polar bears is the fact that their main food supply, seals, are being slaughtered by the thousands by Canadians each year.
Economic Assessment Of Climate Policy
Often coupled with the debate of whether or not global warming is a crisis is the debate regarding the appropriate actions required to mitigate any negative effects of global warming. From the side that argues global warming is a precursor to environmental doom, immediate action in the form of public policy and environmental reform is demanded. From the side positing that global warming is not a crisis, no extreme action is necessary to sustain the welfare of our planet.
From an economic standpoint, it has been proven that the costs associated with attempting to reverse global warming supersede the benefits of any solution (Bast, 2007). Most of the proponents of the implementation of public policy propose more stringent standards on CO2 emissions. The Environmental Advocates of New York say the following on their webpage, “While the United States refuses to participate in international initiatives to address global warming, like the Kyoto Protocol on climate change that took effect February 16, New York is one of nine northeast states that are working together to place limits on the emissions of C02 from power plants”. As earlier discussed, reducing CO2 may have a very minor impact, if any at all, on the warming on the globe, thus suggesting that money allocated towards reducing CO2 emissions is an inefficient use of resources. Ultimately, environmental action must be balanced with economic costs and, in this predicament, there is no cost effective way to stop global warming.
Efforts to reduce CO2 emissions are largely a waste of time, energy and money. Pete Altman, who studies global warming issues at the National Environmental Trust, states “global warming could cost the work economy up to 1 to 5 percent of its total economic output per year, or $500 billion to $3 trillion, using 2006 figures” (Hargreaves, 2007). Unfortunately for the economy, people continue to irrationally focus on ways to reduce CO2. A recent report from a UK economist states that the financial cost of attempting to prevent CO2-produced global warming could reduce the word's economic growth by 20% and would cost around 9 trillion dollars (Clark, 2006). Thomas Schelling, a renowned economist and expert on this issue of global warming, stated in the American Economic Review that “proposals to hold emissions of carbon dioxide constant (with a linear increase of concentration in perpetuity) or to reduce emissions by 50 percent below what they would otherwise be, beginning perhaps in 2010, are expected to cost in the hundreds of billions in perpetuity” (Schelling, 1992). Obviously the costs to reduce C02 would be justified if C02 was the primary driver of global warming, but as previously discussed, there is no current need for climate policy that restricts C02 emissions because C02 is not causing the global warming the earth is experiencing.
Of course discussing the economics of this issue is not beneficial if the majority of the planet's inhabitants die from increased heat temperatures, which is a prominent argument from the opposing side. Fortunately, this is not a result of increased temperatures. According to Bjorn Lomberg, author of Cool It, the direct impact of climate change will not cause massive disruptions or huge death tolls. Lomberg states, “the direct impact of climate change in 2050 will mean fewer dead, and not by a small amount. In total, about 1.4 million people will be saved each year, due to more than 1.7 million fewer deaths from cardiovascular diseases and 365,000 more deaths from respiratory disorders. Even China and India will see more than 720,000 saved each year, with deaths avoided outweighing extra deaths nine to one” (Lomberg, 38, 2007). It is important to realize that global warming has been based on dramatic stories that use scare tactics as their primary appeal. A more thorough analysis reveals that the net benefits of global warming exceed the net costs.
Economists have been able to estimate the total costs and benefits of cutting CO2 levels since the early 1990's using quantitative forecasting models, and according to the International Panel on Climate Exchange, the various models produce similar results (Lomberg, 32, 2007). According to Lomberg, these models include all the costs of different effects from climate exchange, including the costs of agriculture, forestry, fisheries, energy, water supplies, infrastructure, hurricanes, drought damage, coastal protection, land loss, human and animal survival, pollution and migration. These costs are than weighed against the benefits, in terms of avoided damage from lower temperatures on the previously mentioned variables. The US used this model to assist in their decision to not participate in the Kyoto Protocol. The costs of being involved in Kyoto would have cost the US over $5 trillion in the coming century while the environmental benefit would have been a decrease in temperature of about three tenths of a degree Fahrenheit.
Society needs to understand the importance of prioritizing disasters and allocating resources accordingly. There are clearly many other worldwide, proven crises that are far more imminent and catastrophic than this speculative crisis of global warming, which is proven to be largely attributable to changes in nature. The World Health Organization found that one billion children are living in poverty worldwide (Lomberg, 43, 2007). 30,000 of these children die every day from famine, disease or inadequate resources to survive. That is over 10 million deaths a year from poverty. Another crisis is reflected in the 16 million children that are orphaned a year due to HIV/AIDS (similar to the total child population in Germany or the United Kingdom). 1.4 million children die each year from a lack of access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation (Shah, 2006). These global crises illustrate conundrums far more deserving of immediate political attention. Assuming that our concern is how to advance human and environmental wellbeing, society needs to regain their perspective of the most effective ways to make the world a better place.
In the article “Global Warming Delusions”, biologist Daniel Botkin investigates many of the myths of the global warming debate. In this article, Botkin discusses many scientists with the similar belief that global warming is not a crisis. The only problem is that some of these scientists say “that the only way to get our society to change is frighten people with the possibility of a catastrophe, and therefore it is all right and even necessary for scientists to exaggerate” (Botkin, 2007). Exaggerate. Some scientists are not bothered when they exaggerate to us. One of these scientists said that “Wolves deceive their prey, don't they?” as a description of this form of embellishing the facts. It is disturbing to think that these scientists believe that it is morally acceptable to deceive and to exaggerate the facts in order to excite a majority of the public.
Real crises, such as poverty, need to be addressed before we implement any drastic policy that would cost trillions of dollars concerning a theory that has not yet been scientifically proven. At the end of the day, the science and the fears just do not add up. Therefore, due to a great deal of evidence disproving the global warming crisis, and the abysmal lack of evidence supporting it, we strongly insist that global warming is not a crisis.
Global Warming Is A Man-Made Crisis
Global environmental disaster lies in the near future of this planet and nearly every citizen of the globe is at fault. As humans emit substantially more CO2 into the atmosphere, the CO2 and other gasses compile to form a thick barrier between the earth and space, trapping in heat and causing the temperature of the earth to increase. This explains the uncontroversial, fundamental principle of the greenhouse effect. The pressing issue today is that people continue to substantially increase the amount of C02 emitted, mainly from burning fossil fuels, such as gas, oil and coal. Our annual emissions have increased the total atmospheric CO2 content to the point that today it is 36% higher than in pre-industrial times (Lomberg, 11, 2007). The product of this disaster can be seen today in the increased intensity of storms like Hurricane Katrina, decreased ski seasons and the endangerment of polar bears and many other species. The objectives of the following report are as follows, 1) to provide evidence that global warming exists, 2) offer reasons that identify humans and the emission of CO2 as the predominant cause of global warming and 3) discuss the negative implications of global warming to suggest immediate climate action is needed. With this crisis becoming realized by people worldwide, the debate has become less focused on whether or not global warming is occurring and more centered on identifying solutions for this increasingly imminent crisis.
Proof Of Global Warming
Some prevalent signs today that provide evidence that the globe is indeed warming include prolonged periods of unusually warm weather, which include drastic heat waves. These heat waves have been some of the warmest and most frequent in the history of the planet. Additionally, there are signs that the ocean is warming, the water levels are rising, and there has been flooding in various coastal areas. Glaciers are melting, and the Arctic and Antarctic ices are warming as well (“GLOBAL WARMING: Early Warning Signs”, 1999).
There are also many predictions that have become more commonly true that are attributed to driving global warming. The world has experienced an increase in the spread of diseases, such as malaria and dengue fever, carried by mosquitoes, an insect which thrives in warm temperatures. Spring weather as of recent years has been arriving much sooner than normal, decreasing the duration of winter, as can be seen through the leafing of trees and shorter hibernation of certain animals. There have been many plant and animal changes across the globe, illustrated by the movement to different habitats, and is something expected to continue. Coral reefs have been bleaching, a sign of a rise in ocean temperature. Also the signs of increased droughts, fires, floods, and large amounts of precipitation point to a rapid shift in global temperature (“GLOBAL WARMING: Early Warning Signs”, 1999). The list continues, but what is apparent is that all of these changes are directly related to a rise in temperature across the globe.
Actually, one disconcerting point to consider is that present day climate change is occurring even faster than the United Nations has predicted. John Connor, a member of Climate Institute in Australia, observed that the soon-expected three-degree rise in temperature will have tragic effects on Australia in particular, but also of the whole world. He claims that we will soon be witnessing an especial increase in the melting of the Greenland and Arctic ice, which will cause a great deal of flooding (“Climate Change ‘worse than thought'”, 2007).
Humans Cause Global Warming
People need to begin to realize that human activity is the culprit of these catastrophic events and anticipated disasters in the future. As of the second of February, 2007, the United Nations World Meteorological Organization (parent company of the IPCC) released some well-researched information concerning global warming. Their report affirmed that, “the evidence of a warming trend is ‘unequivocal,' and that human activity has ‘very likely' been the driving force in that change over the last 50 years. The last report by the group, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, in 2001, had found that humanity had ‘likely' played a role” (Science, 2007). It is an undeniable fact that humans are putting forth a great deal of CO2, whether it be from exhaust pipes in their cars or heaters in their homes. In An Inconvenient Truth, a documentary that won an Oscar Academy Award, Al Gore demonstrates the negative impacts of CO2 emission with solid facts (“Science: Global Warming”, 2007). An example of this is Gore's use of graphs to illustrate how CO2 drives temperature throughout the history of time.
Examples of human-caused global warming are not only seen in the quality of the air, but also in the ocean. Recent studies released by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration show that, not only is the air warming, but so are the oceans. The leader of this team, Dr. Tim Barnett of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, says that the “models (of global warming) got it right. If a politician stands up and says the uncertainty is too great to believe these models, which are no longer tenable” (Henderson, 2007). Over the last forty years, the temperature in the ocean has rapidly increased. It has gone up at least 0.9 degrees Celsius during that time span. This explosion of heat can only be explained by the graphs with man-made global warming in it. When looking at the models which provide alternative explanations to global warming caused by humans, such as solar activity or volcanic eruptions, none of these explanations matched up with the new temperature recordings. “What absolutely nailed it was the greenhouse model…two models, one designed in Britain and one here in the US, got it almost exactly. We were stunned they (matched up) so well it was almost unbelievable” (Henderson). The testing, which has taken more than seven million samples, has shown a definite heating, especially in the Atlantic Ocean, which has shown increased heat temperatures as far down as seven hundred meters below sea level. If we do not try and stop the man-made effects that are happening to warm our ocean, global disaster is upon us. The increased temperature will melt much of the polar ice caps, destroying currents, such as the Gulf Stream, that helps warm many cold weather areas, such as Britain.
The effect of global warming on animals is also disastrous. Recently, an international report was released saying that, by the year 2050, almost one million species of plants and animals will become extinct. According to respected biologist Chris Thomas, this widespread eco-system meltdown is due to the increasing temperature caused by global warming. Thomas, also a major writer for the science journal Nature, has said that “emissions from cars and factories could push temperatures up to levels not seen for 1 million to 30 million years by the end of the century, threatening many habits” (MSNBC Staff, 2004). This suggests that this conundrum has been caused by humans and our latest industrialism. In order to help our society alter the effects of greenhouse gasses, everyone must become involved and be willing to make the necessary changes to reverse the negative effects of our human activity. In An Inconvenient Truth, Gore shows two graphs, one of carbon dioxide production on the earth, the other of temperature. It shows how both have replicated each other over the last six hundred thousand years. Gore continues to show the graph until the end. There, he shows the explosion of CO2 over the last few decades along with an explosion of heat that many scientific computers have predicted will continue for years to come. This means that in order to stop global warming, humanity must help to curb the CO2 intake unless we want an increase of “2.5 degrees to 10.4 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100” (MSNBC Staff, 2004). Such a temperature increase would change our plains into deserts and out lakes into dried out mud holes.
Melting Of Polar Ice Caps
The melting of the polar ice caps is the huge concern for global warming advocates. According to NASA, the ice caps are melting at a rate of nine percent every decade and that since the 1960s; the thickness of the Arctic ice has decreased 40 percent. This is an astounding rate that has shocked nations worldwide. Between January 2002 and March 2002, a giant section of the Larson B ice shelf in Antarctica collapsed, after centuries of existence. Since 1995, approximately 40 percent of the ice shelf has melted (“Consequences of Global Warming”, 2007). This increased melting pattern has caused a problem with the rise of sea-levels.
With the ice caps melting at a rate of 40 percent, it's no wonder that the sea level is rising globally. In the past 100 years, the global sea level has risen between four and eight inches with the rise accelerating at an incredible pace. The IPCC predicts that by 2100, the sea level could rise between 10 and 23 inches (“Consequences of Global Warming”, 2007). A main focus of concern is the ice masses of Greenland, which holds about 10 percent of the ice accumulation globally (“Consequences of Global Warming”, 2007). If this 10 percent melts, it means that the global sea level could rise 21 feet (“Consequences of Global Warming”, 2007).
The evidence that the globe is indeed warmer is undeniable and points in a very certain direction. The fact that both temperature and CO2 levels are rising is a frightening reality that has concerned many scientists. The increase in animal migration, rise in water levels due to melting ice, and strange weather patterns across the globe are all facts that demand our attention. The globe is warming, and the models and predictions made by scientists demonstrate that this warming will continue. As American citizens and members of this global sphere, we need to take immediate steps to prevent this looming and impending global holocaust from destroying our world as we know it.
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