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Is Global Warming a Serious Threat?

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  Tags: environment   science   climate change   fossil fuels   global warming   greenhouse gases


Background

The subject of Global warming has become a prominent and sustained issue. The controversy revolves around the causes, nature, and consequences of this phenomenon. Since the mid-20th century, people have been concerned about the warming trend of the planets temperature. Is it unprecedented with the normal climatic variations? Within the last decade, questions surrounding its nature have been partially answered by science and technology. The questions now are more about prevention and consequence.

What is Global Warming?

Global warming is defined as the increase of the average temperature on Earth. As the Earth is getting hotter, disasters like hurricanes, droughts and floods are getting more frequent. Over the last 100 years the average temperature of the air near the Earth's surface has risen a little more than 1 degree Fahrenheit. While that number doesn't seem all that much, scientists believe it is responsible for the conspicuous increase in storms, floods, and raging forest fires we have seen in the last decade.[1]Any questions about global warming surround what is known as the greenhouse effect. As seen from space, our atmosphere is but a tiny layer of gas around the huge bulky planet. Just like the glass roof and walls of the greenhouse the sun enters through the glass and heats up the inside. In turn, the glass panels trap the warm here in this results in a surface temperature increase.

Scientists believe global warming is attributed to the rising levels of carbon dioxide and other gases from the use of non-environmental friendly energy sources like the burning of fossil fuels. Moreover, it is believed that this phenomenon is related to the way we are living.[2]

This debate is part of the Global Warming series. Other debate topics in this series include:

Is global warming real?
Is global warming caused primarily by human activity?
Can global warming be stopped?
Should the government be responsible for regulating emissions?
Is Al Gore biased when it comes to global warming?


 

Arguments For

Yes, global warming is a serious threat

Climate Change Exists

All European member states ratified the 1997 Kyoto protocol and many European countries had already been taking action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions prior to 1990.[2] A report from the intergovernmental panel on climate change (IP CC) revealed that leading climate scientists are now 90% sure that human activity is heating up the planet.

The finding that the climate has warmed in recent decades and that this warming is likely attributable to human influence has been endorsed by every national science Academy has issued a statement on climatic change, including the science academies of all the major industrialized countries. At present, no scientific body of national or international standing has issued a dissenting statement.[5]

Danger of Climate Change is Real and Devastating

Numerous long-term changes in climate have been observed. These include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and aspects of extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, he waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones[7]

These changes in weather patterns and changes in the balance of Earth's ecosystem can have a devastating effect on people's lives.

Action Required

Doing Nothing Is No Alternative. To Be Able to Make Investments in Clean and Low Carbon Technologies, We Need Stable Political and Regulatory Frameworks. These investments can not only come from the public sector; private investments have to play a role if we want to build a low carbon economy.[8]

Supporting Links

StopGlobalWarming.org

Arguments Against

No, global warming is not a serious threat

Skeptical Scientists Abound

The appearance of overlapping groups of skeptical scientists, commentators and think tanks in seemingly unrelated controversies results from an organized attempt replace scientific analysis with political ideology.[4]

No Proof that Climate Change is Devastating

There is no conclusive evidence that climate change is happening; the changes in measure temperatures are part of the natural cycle; even if the changes are human induced, the scale is not sufficiently large to make changes beyond sensible measures; the economic impact of making substantial cuts to greenhouse gas emissions on the scale suggested Is too large; the predictions of global warming are based on computer models, but those models don't include such highly correlated data as sunspots in global temperature changes.[6]

Natural Causes

Climate change may be caused by natural phenomena such as volcanoes and the reversal of Earth's magnetic field.

Sources


 1  What Is Global Warming? Allianz Knowledge PartnerSite September 6, 2009
 2  Greenhouse Gases Global Warming Controversy September 6, 2009 Wikipedia
 3  Public opinion History September 6, 2009 Wikipedia
 4  Related controversies Global Warming Controversy September 6, 2009 Wikipedia
 5  Consensus Global Warming Controversy September 6, 2009 Wikipedia
 6  Global Warming Skeptics September 6, 2009 SourceWatch.org
 7  The UN Global Warming Report Facts and Predictions Climate Change-Basics September 6, 2009 Allianz Knowledge PartnerSite
 8  Doing Nothing Is No Alternative Climate Change- Politics September 6, 2009 Allianz Knowledge PartnerSite
 9  Manure, HD TVs Among Greenhouse Gas Sources to Watch Sept 8, 2009 Roach, John (National Geographic News)

Need to be added:
NY Times
Troubling Bubbles
EPA attacked over clean air act
Climate-Change Study Cites Role of Ancient Farming
Relax CO2 is Good For You
Apple Quits Chamber of Commerce for Global Warming Denials

User Comments & Opinion

 
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9 Voted Yes

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I think it's a situation where better safe than sorry. I have to say that global warming is a real threat caused by humans. - jennyhooah (twitter) 0
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The ice caps are melting - mikeROD2020 (twitter) 0
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A real example of a global warming was the use of CFC's (chlorofluorocarbons). These were used in cooling devices, cleaning products, spray cans and other domestic uses. When released these molecules rise up to the ozone layer and are struck by UV light causing them to break apart to produce Chlorine gasses carbondioxide gasses (CO2) and other compounds. A "hole" in the ozone layer was appearing over Antarctica because of this, letting in more UV light increasing the rate of reaction and affecting the eco systems of Antarctica this extra CO2 also added to the amount of far-infrared being re-absorbed by the atmosphere after being emitted by Earth then re-radiated back into the Earth.

That is an example of a process of global warming, I am glad to say that CFC's have been banned except for special circumstances. The warming of the planets and oceans causes the polar ice-caps to melt giving us more sea and less ice. The ice reflects radiation straight back into space and water retains heat much better than eart - _fraz_ (twitter) +2
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Burning the witches started it all. - Sodenomae (twitter) 0

6 Voted No

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I THINK ITS POLITICAL NOT SCIENTIFIC - stonecoldvt (twitter) vote up image vote down image -1
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I think that volcanic eruptions and changing magnetic fields may be a far greater source of global warming than some smoke spewed by human cars and factories. I want to see more scientific evidence. I also hope that if this problem is real, it can be solved by people and not government/politics. - thorie (twitter) vote up image vote down image 0
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This is a hard one.

Humans have only been around for a very short amount of time in comparison to the life of our planet so it is difficult to grasp an understanding of the various cycles of Planet Earth. Global Warming cannot be blamed solely on humans' carbon emissions. This doesn't mean that we aren't part of the problem, as I still believe we are. Changes in the magnetic field of the Earth and Volcanic Eruptions (as thorie mentioned) are very important contributing factors to global warming. There are signs that climate changes have occurred on the Earth before so there is a very high chance that the events stated above could be part of the process of changing climates. Humans are such an insignificant species in the lifetime of Earth and also very vulnerable creatures. Look at the dinosaurs; they were much larger and were wiped out easily. - CodyyC (twitter) vote up image vote down image +2
 
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