The Global Warming Debate Cannot be Ignored

closePlease note: This post was published over a year ago, so please be aware that its content may not be quite so accurate anymore. Also, the format of the site has changed since it was published, so please excuse any formatting issues.

A small debate as to the validity of the claims that global warming makes has, unsurprisingly, broken out in the comments section of my post, Ignoring the Global Warming Debate. There’s some good stuff in there, so instead of letting it stay hidden in the comments, I’ve decided to post some of the comments here, along with some new comments.

Kris: This is not why I’m posting a comment, but I have never heard a respectable climate scientist disagree with the basic tenets of “Global Warming” – ever. I have heard people debate it, certainly, but they’ve never had any credentials to back it up.

Thomas: In The Great Global Warming Swindle, the experts are definitely credible scientists (although one of them claims his statements were misconstrued through editing). Yes, expert scientists are telling us that carbon dioxide is a problem and that humans are to blame for the excess. But don’t forget that they were paid to reach that conclusion.

Kris: I haven’t seen the film, so feel free to correct me, but I think it is far more likely that people were paid to reach the conclusion that global warming is not of human cause, then to say that it is.

Thomas: They could have been, but if you look through the list of experts in TGGWS, many of them are university professors; people whose jobs wouldn’t necessarily be dependent on reaching a certain conclusion. If anything, you would expect a university to want their research faculty to reach the right conclusion.

Kris: There is a lot more money to be in oil, fuel, deforestation and pollution (insofar as large corporations can save money by disposing of waste improperly) then there is off of the “green lifestyle.”

Thomas: True, there’s a lot of money in cutting corners, but the “green lifestyle” industry generates billions in consumer revenue every year. There are climate scientists whose jobs rely on being able to get funding to study climate change, so if there isn’t a problem, then they’re out of a job. Media outlets know that news about the entire human race being in peril gets higher ratings than unicorns and lollipops, and higher ratings directly translates into more money. More and more businesses (big and small) are learning that simple “green” changes can not only save the companies millions of dollars annually, but endear the companies to a global warming fearing public. So you can’t honestly tell me that the “green lifestyle” isn’t extremely profitable.

Kris: “Scientific American” put it best when they outlined what the effects of extreme climate change will look like in the next 10, 20, 50 years if the rate of carbon emissions continues unfettered; while there may not be enough physical evidence for some people right now, there most certainly will be within a few decades (but, of course, by that point attempting to undo what has happened will be exponentially more difficult).

Thomas: I’m not saying that carbon dioxide isn’t causing the global temperature to rise, or that humans aren’t to blame. I’m just saying that listening to what one group of people is saying without listening to what the other group is saying is a bad idea.

From one atheist to another, don’t be religious about this. Don’t have faith that what some experts tell you is correct, simply because they’re experts.

Watch The Great Global Warming Swindle (video link), watch the episode of Penn & Teller’s Bullshit that deals with Global Warming Hysteria, read articles that offer counter evidence, then decide for yourself what’s true.

Don’t forget that back in the 1970s, credible climate scientists (“the experts”) were predicting a global cooling trend that would plunge us into another ice age. They got it wrong then and they could be getting it wrong now. There’s still a lot we don’t know about our environment, and changing even one tiny variable can change the entire outcome of the computer models.

Kris: I got in an argument with my dad once, because he had just read some book that attempted to debunk global warming. I had to end the argument by simply saying, “there is no debate, Dad. You cannot show me an actual scientist who thinks there’s nothing wrong with our current level of pollution, climate change or toxic emissions into both the ground and atmosphere, because such a person does not exist.”

Thomas: Now you’re talking about two different things. Of course there is no scientist in the world who believes that there’s nothing wrong with our current level of pollution. You’d be hard pressed to find anyone who honestly thinks there’s nothing wrong with our current level of pollution. But you’re assuming that our carbon output is directly responsible for climate change, even though there are credible climate scientists saying it’s not (and they’re using the exact same data as the ones who are saying we’re to blame). So I disagree, I think there is a debate, and I think it’s a good one to have. As scientists, or at least, as people who believe in logic and reason, we should strive toward both the truth and the betterment of mankind. If it turns out that the truth is man isn’t to blame for climate change, that doesn’t mean that we should continue to pollute.

Kris: Like you alluded to, there’s more to this than the warming of our planet. Say what you will about naturally occurring fluctuations in the earth’s temperature, or the accuracy of measurement equipment a century ago; but that’s hardly the point. We need to correct our behavior. We need to be friendlier to this planet. We need to consume less and produce less pollution of every kind. Not because the poles are going to melt (although I subscribe to the belief that they are/will), but because it is simply not healthy for either the human population or the earth itself.

Everyone agrees that we need less chemical and artificial additives in our food, why not in our air, our water, our parks or our soil? So, long story short: yes! We can (or at least, we should) all agree that pumping toxins into the atmosphere is a bad idea, no matter what lobby group is paying you. 🙂

Thomas: I’m not saying we shouldn’t live green. You know as well as anyone else that I’m fanatical about taking care of our planet and reducing our consumption and waste (and that I have been for most of my life). I just don’t think anyone benefits from wide-spread panic and fear.

At this point, my mind is open to any possibility. If it turns out that carbon dioxide is the problem and humans are to blame, then I’ll feel good knowing that I’m already doing what I can to reduce my carbon footprint. If it turns out that carbon dioxide isn’t the problems and humans aren’t to blame, then I’ll still feel good knowing that I’m doing what I can to help protect the planet in other ways.

Most of all, no matter what the outcome of the global warming debate is, I don’t intend to stop living green. Like they say, do the right thing because it’s the right thing to do.

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