The information found in this paper is designed to raise awareness of the ongoing debate surrounding global warming. The paper will provide readers with a clear description of global warming and signs recognized by those that believe it exist. It will address the same description and signs from the viewpoint of those that state global warming is a myth. Additional arguments will be presented from both believers and non-believers with regard to contributing factors.
Many people believe global warming exists and many believe it is all hysterical hype. Arguments for and against the phenomena thrive in the media, government venues, the workplace and around dinner tables. The one thing that proponents and detractors agree on is that the debate is ongoing and that there is no single fact that will decide the outcome.
Explanation of Global Warming Everyday there are changes in the earth’s atmosphere that affect the climate. They can include precipitation, oceanic movement or human inhabitation. These everyday occurrences are known as climate change (epa. gov, 2010). Global warming falls under the umbrella of climate change. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) global warming is described as: “… an average increase in the temperature of the atmosphere near the Earth’s surface and in the troposphere, which can contribute to changes in global climate patterns.
Global warming can occur from a variety of causes, both natural and human induced. In common usage, “global warming” often refers to the warming that can occur as a result of increased emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities (2010). ” The EPA’s description lends credence to arguments for and against the threat of global warming and supports the purpose of this paper. Signs of global warming The greenhouse gas effect is the term used for specific gases that enter the earth’s atmosphere and lock in heat.
It is similar to sunlight hitting glass in an airtight room ultimately causing the room temperature to rise at an escalated pace (national geographic, 2010). Using the EPA’s “common usage” definition as it applies to human activity, signs that indicate global warming is a valid threat includes rapidly rising sea levels, extended periods of heat waves and the melting of polar ice caps (national geographic, 2010). Supporting Evidence Some of the most striking evidence presented to support the argument that global warming exists can be found on the EPA’s website.
The site reports that greenhouse gas emissions in the U. S. have increased by 14% from 1990 to 2008 and by 26%, globally, from 1990 to 2005. The report also states that acidity in our oceans, which have an effect on some sea life, has risen in the last 20 years (2010). In addition, the EPA’s report provides statistical data on the signs of global warming as it relates to the shrinking of polar ice caps in arctic regions and warming of our eco-system (2010).
Skepticism Just as supporters of global warming as fact can point to arguments made by former Vice President Al Gore, skeptics can refer to facts in opposing rguments presented by Senator James Inhofe in 2006. According to Sen. Inhofe, the hockey stick, a graph developed by scientist Michael Mann to demonstrate a verifiable increase in global warming, was proved unreliable by two Canadian researchers and then refuted by the National Academy of Science in 2006 (epwsenate. gov, 2009).
Effects of global warming Scientists call the trends observed in global warming “fingerprints”. The effects of global warming are referred to as harbingers (warnings of future events) indicative of future impact to earth and humanity (national geographic, 2010). The harbingers of global warming have been noted as: growths in disease rates; changes in animal’s migration and habitats; frequent and strengthening storm activity and increased wild fires related to decreased precipitation (2010).
Greenhouse gases and the earth’s temperature have fluctuated at a steady pace throughout scientific history, except in recent decades. Many believe that the advances of the industrial age contributed to the greenhouse effect (national geographic, 2010). This argument is rooted in the belief that global warming is man-made and caused by such things as air pollution and industrial waste (2010).
What has humanity done to pollute the air and our eco-system? Humans use coal, oil, gas and other organic compounds to produce energy. Burning these resources, called fossil fuels, increase the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere. This is what makes them contributors to global warming (national geographic, 2010).
Natural The detractors of global warming as a fact can also provide reasons to support their belief that global warming is a natural event. Using historical trending data, provided by scientists throughout the years, they note natural happenings that contribute to heat increases in the earth’s atmosphere. These events include sun spots, massive volcanoes, meteors and changes in the earth’s rotation (Peer Curriculum, 2003).
When viewed without bias, and given equal weight, the arguments from both sides of the global warming issue have validity. Each camp, proponents and debunkers, provide scientific evidence that support their claims and give opponents positions to dispute. The purpose of this research is to drive home the current state of the global warming issue. Therefore, it is safe to state that the debate has merit and will continue for the foreseeable future.
- epa. gov ( 2010) Climate Change. Retrieved July 1, 2010 from http://www. epa. gov/climatechange/ epwsenate. gov
- (2009) U. S. Senate Minority Report: More Than 700 International Scientists Dissent Over Man-Made Global Warming Claims Scientists Continue to Debunk “Consensus” in 2008 & 2009. Retrieved July 2, 2009 from http://epw. senate. gov/public/index. cfm? FuseAction=Files. View=83947f5d-d84a-4a84-ad5d-6e2d71db52d9
- National Geographic (2010) What is Global Warming. Retrieved July 2, 2010 from http://environment. nationalgeographic. com/environment/global-warming/gw-overview. html