Global Warming Controversy Essay

1230 words - 5 pages

Global Warming ControversyThe global warming controversy is a long-running dispute about human effects - past, present and future - on climate. The starting point is whether there has been significant global warming caused by industrial emissions of carbon dioxide. But this alone would be a scientific argument confined to the scientific press. The point that leads to major controversy - because it could have significant economic impacts - is whether action (usually, restrictions on the use of fossil fuels to reduce CO2 emmissions) should be taken now or in the near future.The science of global warming is spread over several articles:The basic science is covered in greenhouse effectRecent ...view middle of the document...

Optionally, supporters may go on to point out that there is a good chance that the future changes may be undesirable, and that planning to avoid or mitigate them would be a good idea.Participation in the IPCC process does not imply endorsement of it. However, only 2 of the 120 contributing authors to the IPCC TAR are known to have voiced any complaintOpponents' positionThere are many reasons for opposition to the global warming beliefs, and these major positions are independent of each other. Some items in this list may contradict others.IPCC reports do not reflect the science or reality.Using "consensus" as evidence is an appeal to the majority argument rather than scientific discussion.Earth's climate has been both colder and warmer than today, and these changes are adequately explained by mechanisms that do not involve human greenhouse gas emissions.There is no significant global warming relative to the expected natural trends.A small amount of global warming would be benign or even beneficial.There is a distinct correlation between GDP growth and greenhouse gas emissions. A cutback in emissions would lead to a decrease in the rate of GDP growthClimate science can not make definitive predictions yet, since the computer models used to make these predictions are still evolving and do not yet take into account recently discovered feedback mechanisms.Global warming studies have errors or have not been reproduced.Members of this faction give more weight to data such as paleoclimatic studies, temperature measurements made from weather balloons, and satellites which they claim show less warming than surface land and sea records."Opponents" tend to define themselves in terms of opposition to the IPCC position. They generally believe that climate science is not yet able to provide us with solid answers to all the major questions about the global climate.Scope of the controversyThe controversy occurs almost entirely within the press and political arenas. In the scientific press and amongst climate researchers, there is little "controversy" about global warming, only a desire to investigate a scientific problem and determine its consequences. As Kevin E. Trenberth writes:In 1995 the IPCC assessment concluded that "the balance of evidence suggests that there is a discernible human influence on global climate". Since then the evidence has become much stronger ... Thus the headline in IPCC (2001) is "There is new...

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