|Global Warming portal|
- 1 About
- 2 Related Articles
- 3 Debate
- 4 Links
Also known as: climate change
Global warming (GW) refers to the idea that the Earth's average temperature could significantly increase to the point where it will have noticeable (and probably detrimental) effects on how people live ("concept GW").
It also can refer to the following claims, which reflect the various aspects of GW as an issue:
- imminent GW: there is currently a huge increase in GW underway which threatens to cause serious problems within the foreseeable future (20-100 years)
- anthro GW (AGW): Human activity (especially industrial) is largely or solely responsible for the current ongoing "spike" (although "cliff face" might be a more accurate term, if higher temperatures are expected to be sustained).
- fixable GW: There are actions we can take which would reduce the seriousness of the eventual problem.
- active GW: We should work towards taking those actions.
- urgent GW: We need to act quickly towards taking those actions in order to prevent irreversible harm.
Within the United States (excluding the scientific establishment) and slowly spreading to Europe, the debate about the existence and nature of this phenomenon has grown increasingly impassioned in recent years, apparently fueled by fossil-fuel industry propaganda. Despite having been refuted, many of the same anti-GW arguments surface repeatedly, and thus are more an attempt to stifle discussion of GW (or muddy the waters) than they are honest skepticism.
- /claims: denialist claims
- /consensus: the scientific consensus on global warming
- /debate: points and counterpoints
- /drivers: the various drivers contributing to overall global warming
- /humor: because we need it
- /skepticism: the GW skepticism movement, and counters
- /effects: includes regional information
- /predictions: changes we expect to see as a result
These pages need to be merged into the above subpages:
- arguments against global warming – for legitimate arguments against the various aspects of GW
- global warming denial – for the more blatant attempts to confuse the issue.
- global warming denial refutation – answers to the denial arguments which are brought up again and again
- global warming hysteria – for overstatements of the problem (often used as a straw man for GW denial to attack)
GW activists apparently argue the following:
- The effects of a severe global temperature rise (anthropogenic or otherwise) are likely to have a much greater impact on our high-density, coast-hugging non-foraging society than on previous societies. We've been living in a temperate bubble, and we're not prepared to deal with major climate change. Therefore, we need to do something to prevent such change.
- To whatever extent GW is anthropogenic, a (relatively) simple solution is to stop doing whatever it is we've been doing to cause it. (Personally, I think this one is a little short-sighted; there may be better ways to counteract the trend which don't depend on knowing how much of it we're responsible for.)
- Assuming AGW, there is an outside chance, however unlikely, that what we are doing to the climate is severe enough to be beyond the Earth's normal self-regulatory mechanism and send the planet either into a "runaway greenhouse effect", resulting in something like Venus (far hotter than it should be at its distance from the sun), or else start some kind of catastrophic oscillating which ends up in a "Snowball Earth" scenario, with ice down to the equator. There's no geological evidence of past runaway greenhouse effects, but there is evidence for past Snowball Earth events lasting longer than our species has been around. Whether or not the entire earth is covered, even a minor ice age would be pretty disastrous.
- Reduction of activities believed to lead to global warming is a sustainability issue.
- /debate/position quiz: a quiz to establish an individual's position on the various sub-issues -- a tool for use in debate
The following points of debate have pretty much been resolved (see #News for details regarding the answers):
- whether or not the Earth is currently on a general warming trend – yes
- whether or not this will have significant effects on anyone – yes
- whether or not those effects will be bad – in the short term, yes; beyond that depends on a lot of unknown factors
There continues to be debate on the following points:
This page is in need of updating. There seems to have been some progress in the general consensus since this list was last updated.
- whether or not this trend, if it is real, will continue
- whether or not the warming is being caused by humanity (strong circumstantial evidence that it is)
- Could be caused by random climatic drift
- Could be caused by changes in any of countless variables, e.g. the sun's energy output
- whether it is in humanity's best interest to attempt countermeasures (as opposed to "letting nature take its course")
- what sorts of countermeasures should be taken (e.g. should we try to counteract the warming trend itself, or just be prepared to deal with the changing climate and rising sea levels as they happen?)
There appears to be some considerable political pressure within the United States to deny that there is a dangerous warming trend, that we are causing it if it exists, and that we should do anything about it if we are causing it.
Difficulty of Resolution
Obstacles to resolving the debate include:
- The issue has become heavily politicized, largely because direct countermeasures (attempts to counteract the warming trend) tend to be unpopular amongst those who would need to implement them, and those who would need to implement them are generally large businesses with significant amounts of political clout and ability to drive the discussion in directions favorable to them.
- Determination of whether or not the phenomenon is of genuine concern requires the integration of large amounts of data – over long timespans and a large number of different geographical locations – in order to notice subtle real effects without raising false alarms due to temporary or local effects.
- Attempted solutions have global effects, which are the sum total of all countermeasures plus any net increase in GW (or in whatever factors we believe may be contributing to GW, e.g. atmospheric CO2); there is no way to determine the effect of a single, isolated experiment. In other words, there is no direct way to be sure "what works"; we have to rely on atmospheric models and simulations of proposed changes.
- Wikipedia: | Global warming | Sea level rise |
- Conservapedia (as of 2007-08-04) frames the debate as largely political, with the data not supporting the idea that there's anything to worry about
- Global Warming Art: a wiki dedicated to GW-related graphics
- OneWorldWiki: mostly a duplicate of Wikipedia, as of 2007-03-21
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- 2013: Fifth Assessment Report
- US Climate Change Science Program
- Washington Summit on Climate Stabilization, September 18-21, 2006
- Conflicting Claims on Global Warming and Why It's All Moot at LiveScience
- Friends Committee on National Legislation
- Sustainable Community Action - sca21:category:Climate change
- Green Knowledge Wiki
- Common Questions about Climate Change by United Nations Environment Programme - World Meteorological commOrganization
- The Royal Society (UK) index of articles and statements on climate change
- Scientific Reports on Climate
- Global Warming FAQs at The University Corporation for Atmospheric Research includes responses to some of the common denialist claims
- BBC - Climate Change
- Global Sea Level Rise Map: interactive map showing estimates of inundation at various levels of sea-rise
some of these links are more expository than reference, and should probably be given a separate section
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Articles & Blog Entries
- 2007-04-22 Karl Rove Gets Thrown Under the Stop Global Warming Bus by Laurie David and Sheryl Crow (related: Karl Rove)
- Global Warming: Mankind's Greatest Threat by Phil B.
- "stabilization wedges": No single solution will be efficient enough fast enough, but in combination they may be enough
- 2006-09-01 A Road Map to U.S. Decarbonization by Reuel Shinnar and Francesco Citro, Science magazine: "Alternative energy sources could replace 70% of fossil fuels in America within 30 years at a cost of $200 billion per year."
- 2012-02-08 2011 Updates to model-data comparisons
- 2011-06-17 IPCC Predictions (2007 report) compared to data by Clive Best
- 2008-02-29 James Lovelock: 'enjoy life while you can: in 20 years global warming will hit the fan'
- 2007-10-02 Arctic Melt Unnerves the Experts: "Over all, the floating ice dwindled to an extent unparalleled in a century or more, by several estimates."
- Working Group II of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report finds, among many other things, "that the agreement between observed and projected changes" is "sufficient to conclude with high confidence that anthropogenic warming over the last three decades has had a discernible influence on many physical and biological systems." The full report gives a detailed scientific consensus on the situation, including possible countermeasures.
- Arctic ice levels at record low opening Northwest Passage: satellite images indicate that the Arctic ice levels are at an all time low since the first images taken in 1978 and as a result the Northwest Passage has completely opened up for the first time in recorded history.
- 2007-09 Why Climate Change Can't Be Stopped by Paul J. Saunders and Vaughan Turekian
- 2007-05-15 World faces 5-year deadline for decisions on climate change, says World Wildlife Federation: "Governments need to take key decisions within five years on how to tackle climate change to cope with an expected doubling of energy demand over the next 50 years, the environmental group WWF said Tuesday."
- 2007-02-02 IPCC Fourth Assessment Report is released, concluding that global warming is happening, and is very likely caused by human emissions of greenhouse gases
- 2006-12-29 Ice shelf breaks free in Canadian arctic (also MSNBC)
- 2006-12-24 Inhabited tropical island lost to rising seas
- 2006-10-16 Antarctic Ice Collapse Linked To Man-Made Greenhouse Gases: Scientist Claim Study of Larson Ice Shelf Provides First Direct Link Between Global Warming And Human Activity
- 2006-10-04 Scientists Issue Global Warming Report
- 2006-09-25 Global warming nears ‘dangerous’ level "Researchers say average temperatures are close to a million-year high" ... "In a 2003 study, scientists showed that 1,700 plant and animal species migrated toward the poles at about 4 miles (6.4 kilometers) per decade in the last 50 years. That migration rate is not fast enough to keep up with the current rate of movement of a given temperature zone, which has reached about 25 miles (40 kilometers) per decade in the period 1975 to 2005..."
- 2006-09-21 Richard Branson pledges $3B to fight climate change
- 2006-07-14 First half of 2006 is warmest on record
- 2006-03-17 Statistical Analysis Bolsters Theory Linking Warmer Oceans to Stronger Hurricanes (slashdot)
- 2006-03-02 NASA Mission Detects Significant Antarctic Ice Mass Loss
- 2006-02-16 Greenland Ice-Loss Doubles in Past Decade, Raising Sea Level Faster
- Greenland's glaciers are speeding to the ocean: different article on same study; glaciers moving faster than expected
- 2006-02-13 Snows of Kilimanjaro disappearing, glacial ice loss increasing
- 2006-01-25 2005 was the warmest year on record
- 2006-01-18 the blame is not with the plants (in case anyone was confused about that)
- 2006-01-09 Tiny Ocean Creatures Tell of Global Warming
- 2005-12-19 Most of Arctic's near-surface permafrost to thaw by 2100
- 2005-12-07 Global Warming Could Halt Ocean Circulation, With Harmful Results: "[This] has been characterized as a high-consequence, low-probability event. Our analysis [...] indicates it is a high-consequence, high-probability event."
- 2005-12-02 Atlantic currents show signs of weakening
- 2005-11-28 Close Coupling Of Climate With Green House Gases In The Past
- New ice cores expand view of climate history: climate of the past 200 years clearly an anomaly; "There is now no question this is due to human influence."
- Global Warming Doubles Rate Of Ocean Rise (alt): improved historical data show increase since Industrial Revolution started
- Ice cores and climate change: more links and analysis
- 2005-11-24 New evidence; Today's atmospheric carbon dioxide levels are highest in 650,000 years
- 2005-11-11 Impact of regional climate change on human health (news brief)
- 2005-11-03 Study Shows Escalating Climate Change Impacts...
- 2005-11-02 Modeling Of Long-term Fossil Fuel Consumption Shows 14.5 Degree Hike In Temperature
- 2005-10-13 World Temperatures Keep Rising With a Hot 2005 By Juliet Eilperin, Washington Post Staff Writer
- 2005-09-23 CNN: New era of hurricanes "But don't rush to blame it on global warming, experts warn."
- 2005-09-16 Global warming 'past the point of no return'
- 2004-12-03 The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
- 2007-03-12 Steve Koonin - Chief Scientist BP (1 hr 25 min) speaks about energy issues; he discusses climate change starting at about 22:15
- The 2006-10-27 report that the Atlantic current came to a halt for 10 days in 2004 was a severe misrepresentation of what actually happened, as explained here: a new monitoring array is recording more precise data on the current than has previously available, and one of the things it noted was a "very weak" flow during those 10 days in 2004. However, due to the newness of the data set, scientists don't yet know if this is unusual, part of an accelerating trend, or perfectly normal. As yet, it has no known implications for the climate of Britain or Europe.