This paper looks at the debate concerning global warming. At one extreme end is the camp that is convinced that human activities are responsible for global warming.
This is countered by another camp that argues that global warming can only be attributed to natural and not human causes. This paper provides an introduction to the topic through definitions and get to the background. After that, the two opposing views are critically analyzed before a conclusion is drawn regarding the two hardline positions adopted in the debate on global warming.
Climate can be described as the average of weather for a region. On the other hand, weather reveals the daily atmospheric condition (Gasaway, 2009). In his book, Gasaway (2009) observe that global warming and climate change are interrelated though they have different meanings as interpreted.
According to him, climate change incorporates warmth, as well as cooling changes and other variations like precipitation. On the other hand, global warming has been defined with assumptions as the literal increase in temperature (Gasaway, 2009). This paper will focus on the argument about global warming, thereby advancing two opposing positions as to whether it is a fact or fiction.
Background on Global Warming
Statistics and data dating from 1900 have shown a marked increase in global temperatures with 1.1 degrees Celsius with a concentration on North and South poles. This has consequently spanned the thawing of ice caps in the Polar Regions, which in turn has led to too much melting. This has resulted to rising sea levels which affects the salinity of oceans, in addition to acting as a potential cause for flooding.
The increasing sea levels may lead to drastic changes in ocean currents, and this is a potential danger in the formation of destructive hurricanes. The rise of temperatures on earth has also generated untold stories of heat waves, droughts, colder winters, and hot summers that have been the highest since the start of the industrial revolution. This paper aims at convincing Congress on the most controversial causes of global warming.
The greatest debate on the causes of global warming revolves around human and natural causes. According to Al Gore (2006), scientists all over the world are reading from the same script that global warming is real and an emerging threat to human life. In fact, in his book, Gore observes that it is an emerging emergency that should not be ignored by any nation.
Notwithstanding this observation, the greatest debate of all time is on whether humans or nature is the cause of global warming. To some extent, views have gone to the most unrealistic rationalization that there is no global warming.
One of the most conservative views is the belief that progressive rise in temperatures is not a result of human action, but rather that of a natural action. In dispute of this assertion, there is a strong conviction backed by science that anthropogenic causes are the first culprit. Therefore, these assertions set the tone of the paper centered on the two opposing factions presented in the arguments presented below.
Argument for Anthropogenic Causes of Global Warming
This argument is presented by those who believe that global warming is real and happening. To prove this point, it is important for facts to be laid bare for all to see and probably believe. The major contribution to the rise in temperature is the greenhouse gases (GHG).
The greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide gas, methane, and water vapor that have formed in the atmosphere. As the sunlight enters the earth’s atmosphere, is it in the form of short wavelengths; but when it is reflected, it attains long wavelengths. These reflections are trapped by these gases, thus leading to an increase in temperature (Gasaway, 2009).
The major culprit of these GHG is carbon dioxide gas that has the capability to linger in the atmosphere for almost a hundred years. There is no doubt that the increased level of carbon dioxide from the normal 0.036% has been caused by anthropogenic activities (Gasaway, 2009).
These activities include the use and burning of fuels to provide energy for various sectors that run the world like transport, mining, and oil production. On the other hand, activities like cutting down forests and burning of wood or other materials increase carbon dioxide and other pollutant gases that serve to increase global temperatures (Gray, 2001).
The proposition is that of assessing the impact of human economic activities to the environment in order to adopt renewable sources of energy and methods that reduce or contain the amount of GHG released into the atmosphere. Once this is done, other factors can be regulated by Mother Nature; and safely, this generation will have considered the safety of the future generations.
Argument against Human Causes: Natural Causes
On the other side, there are those with a conservative view who have been labeled skeptics. Arguments from this quarter assert that global warming is not happening, and even if it exists, then human activities are not to blame. In fact, the argument is that human activities are not substantial to cause global warming. The notion advanced by those lobbying for change in the way human activities cause global warming forget critical facts on the ground that the skeptics seem to acknowledge (Rohli & Vega, 2011).
Firstly, the observation that global warming has been on the rise since the years of the industrial revolution is flawed. The argument presented is that humans have lived on earth and have engaged in activities that have polluted the earth for long. However, the effects have been balanced by Mother Nature. The years of industrial might are too negligible to form a background case for such a crisis existed at all.
These proponents of nature believe that natural causes of global warming are to blame for the rise in temperatures. Therefore, there is no need to worry since the system is self-regulating. In the heart of its argument, the theory of global dimming explains that for real, pollution helps to cool the planet by the reflection of solar energy back to outer space. Therefore, the idea of GHG contributing to global warming should not be brought forward by the proponents of anthropogenic causes.
At most, it is suggested that global warming is a hoax that is meant to reduce the amount of profits and other benefits arising from the most successful companies using coal and other non-renewable sources of energy. Therefore, it is argued that nature should be left alone to determine the cause of action and resolve the obvious as it has done all through the past decades.
Rife among this group is the fact that the data and scientists’ observation are just a propaganda meant to enrich a few and make others seem irrational and immoral. They believe that changing human economic activities to reduce the impact of global warming is very expensive and is not feasible. This is due the fact that the data is not convincing (Houghton, 2004).
From these two assertions, each holding its ground with no apparent conviction, it is important for the Congress to be convinced that global warming is an issue that requires a better approach. Probably, the debate about the causes of global warming should be objectively approached.
If it is found that scientists are right about global warming, then foes and allies can work together to eliminate a common enemy as the adage goes. On the other hand, if the scientists’ information is not true, then the focus should be on how we can all engage in a fact finding mission to bring every debate on the same platform and form a formidable force aimed at saving the earth.
Although the question of urgency is rife, it is still worthwhile to embark on missions that short term, but characterized by a unity of purpose hence guaranteeing greater accuracy and efficiency. Therefore, it is paramount that the most developed nations like the US should take a leading role in devising a course towards great historical achievement in saving humankind.
Gasaway, R. (2009). An inconvenient purpose: linking godly stewardship and alternative energy. Enumclaw, WA: WinePress Publishing.
Gore, A. (2006). An inconvenient truth: the planetary emergency of global warming and what we can do about it, London: Bloomsbury Publishing.
Gray, V. (2001). The cause of Global warming. Frontier centre for Public Policy. Retrieved on 11th Feb. 2012 from: http://ag.ca.gov/globalwarming/ pdf/comments_SanBernardino_General_plan.pdf
Houghton, J. T. (2004). Global warming: the compete briefing (3rd ed.). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Rohli, R. V. & Vega, J. A. (2011). Climatology (2nd ed). Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.