WHY THE GLOBAL WARMING 'DEBATE' DOESN'T EXIST
BY STEVEN FRENCH
Global warming is caused when greenhouse gases escape into earth’s atmosphere and trap the heat from the sun which would otherwise be reflected back out into space. These greenhouses gases include carbon dioxide whose increased concentration in earth’s atmosphere is a result of burning fossil fuels.
NASA states that Carbon Dioxide levels are now at their highest level for 650,000 years.
That global temperatures have risen by 0.8 degrees centigrade since 1880.
That 9 of the 10 hottest years on record have occurred since the year 2000.
That in 2012 Arctic Ice (melting as global temperature has increased) reached its lowest ever recorded level.
That global sea levels have risen by 7 inches in the last 100 years (as ice melts and increases the amount of liquid water on the planet).
Future predictions for global warming are not optimistic.
Scientists have high confidence that global temperatures will continue to rise for decades to come, largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other state that:
Such sea level rises, caused by global warming, put much of the world’s population in danger of flooding, and the encroachment of the coast endangers important farmlands and industrial centres will in turn cause a knock on effect on the global economy. Global warming will also impact upon food production and access to clean drinking water as fresh waters dry up and temperature increases make food production more difficult, as many crops are not heat resistant. There is also significant evidence to suggest that extreme weather conditions are exacerbated by an increase in global temperature.
Yet in spite of all these claims there appears to be a common labelling of the issues surrounding global warming as a ‘debate’. Now this ‘debate’ does not always mean that debate exists as to how global warming is best challenged or the ways in which global warming may impact human populations. Rather by ‘debate’ what is meant is that debate exists as to whether global warming is happening at all or whether human action is responsible, at least in part, for global warming. Now while all issues should be open to debate there is a distinct difference between broad scientific consensus and those who hold scientific views wildly out with the mainstream. By labeling global warming as a ‘debate’ we imply that there is a strong scientific uncertainty as to whether global warming is or is not affected by human action. The evidence shows otherwise.
While there may be some scientists in existence who claim smoking does not cause health problems, that human evolution did not occur in the manner that is widely accepted, or that aliens may be visiting planet earth, we do not readily accept that there is real ‘debate’ on these issues. Now that is not to say individuals should not propose radical ideas and alternative positions, it is often what spurns forward progress, but we do not accept these positions as legitimate because one, the evidence is overwhelmingly on one side and two, those with expertise on the issue overwhelmingly defend one side of the ‘debate’. This is the case with global warming.
Between 1991 and 2011, of the academic scientific papers published that stated a belief as to whether human activity was responsible for increasing global warming, 97% agreed that human activity was indeed playing a leading role.
Peter Doran and Maggie Kendall Zimmerman At the University of Illinois found that 76 out of 79 climatologists who "listed climate science as their area of expertise and who also have published more than 50% of their recent peer-reviewed papers on the subject of climate change" believed that mean global temperatures had risen compared to pre-1800s levels. 75 of 77 respondents believed that human activity is a significant factor in changing mean global temperatures.
These academics are not the only ones to maintain this position.
US National Academy of Sciences: "In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. ... On climate change, [the National Academies’ reports] have assessed consensus findings on the science..."
Network of African Science Academies: “A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change.”
International Union for Quaternary Research, 2008: "INQUA recognizes the international scientific consensus of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)”
While there appears, particularly online and in print media, that there truly does exist a ‘debate’, it must be remembered that public relations, political lobbyists, and even members of the scientific community maintain vested interests in denying man-made climate change. Just as was the case when it was claimed that smoking affects human health: major corporations, billionaires, nations reliant on fossil fuels for income, some politicians funded by the fossil fuel lobby, and even certain workers organisations all have vested interests in maintaining the fossil fuel status-quo. Any attempt to tackle climate change will inevitably result in loss of profits for such firms and they see it in their best interest to muddy the wonders surrounding climate change and create a so-called ‘debate’.
The question is – will the public see through the spin and come to the aid of the broad scientific consensus, or continue to be fooled as to the serious nature and existential threat of global warming.