Ignoring the Global Warming Debate

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.

I’m getting a little sick of hearing all these differing viewpoints on global warming. For as many people as say that it’s a real phenomenon that we have to deal with immediately, there are just as many people who claim that there’s nothing to worry about.

I recently watched two documentaries about global warming: An Inconvenient Truth and The Great Global Warming Swindle. In case you haven’t seen them, let me sum them up for you:

An Inconvenient Truth: Global warming is real and humans are to blame! We’re pumping way too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and it’s causing the temperature to rise, which is causing weather abnormalities, and if left unchecked, will eventually kill us all!

The Great Global Warming Swindle: Al Gore is a liar! Global warming has been blown way out of proportion. Yes, carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but there isn’t very much of it in the atmosphere, and the percentage of it caused by humans is very small. The temperature of the planet has always fluctuated. It’s been much hotter and much colder than it is now.

AIT: You slanderous liar! Humans are to blame for everything that’s wrong with this planet! My really big graph shows that as the level of carbon dioxide rises, the temperature also rises!

TGGWS: You dolt, you’re looking at the data the wrong way. Rises in temperature cause the rise in carbon dioxide, not the other way around.

AIT: What about the melting glaciers? Have you seen how much ice is falling off of Greenland?

TGGWS: That much ice always falls off of Greenland. The only difference is that now, we have camera crews there to video tape it. Besides, humans don’t affect the climate, magic space rays do!

AIT: What? Magic space rays? What the hell are you talking about?

TGGWS: You know, magic space rays from super novae. They cause clouds, but sometimes the solar winds from the sun push them away from Earth and clouds don’t form. That’s the real cause of global warming. By the way, that big graph was pretty cool, how did you make it?

AIT: Oh, I did the whole thing in Keynote on my Mac.

TGGWS: Wait, by yourself?

AIT: Yeah, Keynote is really easy to use. You should get a Mac.

TGGWS: Okay, I’ll look into it. Thanks!

Anyway, you get the idea.

So here we have two films that present completely opposing viewpoints and support those viewpoints with what appears to be credible evidence. Both films are strongly supported by reliable sources, many of whom are climate scientists. But when the foremost experts on climate change don’t agree, what is the public supposed to think?

Both films made one point that was exactly the same: If someone is paid to reach a particular conclusion, he’ll reach that conclusion.

Personally, my beliefs about global warming are somewhere in the middle. I believe that our climate is changing, but I’m not convinced that carbon dioxide is responsible, and I’m not convinced that humans are directly responsible. That having been said, I do think that we should attempt to reduce our carbon emissions — because there’s an awful lot of carbon dioxide in the air without us adding more — and we should attempt to limit the amount of waste we create.

People will always disagree on pretty much every topic, but here’s something we should all be able to agree on: pollution is bad. Period. Even if it isn’t affecting the planet in as dramatic a way as global warming proponents claim it is, we can all agree that pumping toxins into the environment is not a good idea, right?

That’s really the message that both sides need to send. Life will exist on this planet for a long time to come, and it’s our responsibility to ensure that we don’t pollute the planet to a point where it negatively impacts future life. Even if we aren’t the cause of global warming, we are polluting the planet and (literally) burning through all of our non-renewable resources. Is it a bad idea to research and utilize renewable resources? No, of course not. Doing so ensures that, 100 trillion barrels of oil from now, we’ll still be able to drive our cars, fly our airplanes, and power our cities. And the beneficial side-effect is that we pump fewer toxins into the environment in the mean time.

Living green isn’t as hard as people think. It also costs a lot less than people think (in most cases, you can actually save money with green alternatives). In an effort to inspire people to pursue green living, I’m going to post some ideas and articles from time to time that deal with environmental issues. As I mentioned before, I’ll have an entry outlining ten easy things you can do to save the Earth. And yes, they’re all easy and inexpensive. Keep an eye out for it next week!

So what’s your stance on global warming?

0 People like this. Be the first!

6 Comments

  1. 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. Every time I see them on TV, I’m reminded of Fox’s UFO specials, where they give people titles like “UFO Specialist” in the lower-third text overlay. Uh-huh. And what school did you go to for that? Surprisingly enough, ITT-Tech. Who knew?! πŸ™‚

    But anyway. What I really wanted to say.

    “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).

    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.”

    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. πŸ™‚

  2. I used to be skeptical about global warming. Then I read J.R. McNeill’s Something New Under the Sun: An Environmental History of the Twentieth-Century World.

    My stance on whether or not we should take steps to turn back global warming even though it may not be happening is: why not? What would the harm be? From what I can tell, none. In my view, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

  3. In The Great Global Warming Swindle, the experts are definitely credible scientists (although one of them claims his statements were misconstrued through editing).

    Wikipedia defines global warming as, “the increase in the average temperature of the Earth’s near-surface air and oceans in recent decades and its projected continuation.” That the average temperature of the Earth is rising is an undeniable fact, so if that’s the basic tenet of global warming, then of course you’ve never heard a respectable climate scientist disagree with it. The main argument is whether or not humans are to blame for the rise in temperature.

    I think in most situations, skepticism is important. 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.

    Whatever the case may be, as all three of us have pointed out, why wouldn’t you try to live green? It’s better for everyone, and if humans really are responsible, then you can feel better knowing that you’re actually making a difference.

  4. hey. i don’t have trackbacks, but this inspired two entire posts outta me. here’s the main one:

    http://jamidwyer.blogspot.com/2007/08/is-exxon-ahead-of-nasa-on-climate.html

  5. 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. 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.” Just another $0.02 in the pot. πŸ™‚

  6. The Global Warming Debate Cannot be Ignored

    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…

Leave a Reply