Global warming 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.
Also known as: climate change
- If humans are at all responsible for global warming (a point currently under debate, as described here), then by definition global warming is a sustainability issue.
- James Hansen, "NASA's top climatologist", has claimed in writing and on TV that the Bush Administration has tried to restrict and suppress discussion of global warming
- Prominent deniers of global warming include Bjorn Lomborg
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 warmining 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:
- 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 to deny that there is a dangerous warming trend.
Difficulty of Resolution
Part of the problem is that 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.
Another part of the problem is that determining 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.
Although the majority of scientists agree that global warming is occurring and is caused by humanity, a few disagree; each of these few generally express one of the following positions:
- The Earth is not warming: surface records seem to show a warming trend, but satellite and weather balloon records do not.
- The Earth is warming but the cause is unknown
- The Earth is warming but mostly due to natural processes
- Global warming is occurring but not as much as feared
Arguments against global warming:
- Global warming is junk science: There are claims that scientists "proving" global warming are purposefully lying and modifying data or at least using questionable analytical methods.
Scientists are divided on the issue: although there are a few dissenters, the scientific consensus agrees that global warming is happening and that it is anthropogenic; see The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change Global warming is self-correcting: possibly, but the corrections may take some time
- At least one group has argued that the Earth is actually cooling:
- 2007-10-17 Global Warming Delusions by Daniel R. Botkin:
wikipage=Issuepedia:Debaticons tooltip=claim that is the main subject of a debate img_src=Image:Arrow-button-rt-20px.png img_alt=right arrow debaticon </linkedimage> (premise) The only reason global warming matters is how it affects life, and the evidence that global warming will have serious effects on life is thin. Most evidence suggests the contrary.
wikipage=Issuepedia:Debaticons tooltip=claim that is the main subject of a debate img_src=Image:Arrow-button-rt-20px.png img_alt=right arrow debaticon </linkedimage> (evidence) During the past 2.5 million years, a period that scientists now know experienced climatic changes as rapid and as warm as modern climatological models suggest will happen to us, almost none of the millions of species on Earth went extinct.
- "The exceptions were about 20 species of large mammals (the famous megafauna of the last ice age -- saber-tooth tigers, hairy mammoths and the like), which went extinct about 10,000 to 5,000 years ago at the end of the last ice age, and many dominant trees and shrubs of northwestern Europe. But elsewhere, including North America, few plant species went extinct, and few mammals."
wikipage=Issuepedia:Debaticons tooltip=claim that is the main subject of a debate img_src=Image:Arrow-button-rt-20px.png img_alt=right arrow debaticon </linkedimage> (evidence) Also, scientific papers by Prof. Sarah Randolph of Oxford University show that temperature changes do not correlate well with changes in the distribution or frequency of [certain dangerous] diseases; warming has not broadened their distribution and is highly unlikely to do so in the future, global warming or not.
- The article also argues that exaggerating the truth in order to get a sluggish, complacent public to react is not justified
- I have to agree with this completely. The truth must be protected from political abuse; that is part of the purpose of Issuepedia. --W.
- 2007-10-03 Stop the Global Warming Campaign: We Have the Power to Win This Fight by Phil Brennan: argues that global warming is a fiction which the government as using as an excuse to enact new laws which will gradually restrict our freedoms. Sounds like a twisted version of the reality that the War on Terror is being used for that same end -- is this a partial truth (our freedoms are in danger) concealing a lie (the claim that GW is a fraud), or is there some truth to it (that GW, fraud or real, is being used as an excuse to curtail freedoms)? The only GW measures even being considered, as far as I am aware, do not in any way restrict personal freedom, but only the "freedoms" of giant corporations which emit environmentally-significant amounts of waste.
- 2007-05-02 From Papal Indulgences to Carbon Credits Is Global Warming a Sin? by Alexander Cockburn
- 2007-03-04 All in a Good Cause by Orson Scott Card: see global warming is junk science for details
- 2006-07-02 Don't Believe the Hype: "Al Gore is wrong. There's no 'consensus' on global warming." Umm... yes, there is? (need article about scientific consensus on global warming, I guess...)
- 2006-06-12 Scientists respond to Gore's warnings of climate catastrophe by Tom Harris (warning: popups)
- 2006-04-12 Climate of Fear by Richard Lindzen: "Global-warming alarmists intimidate dissenting scientists into silence" Yeah, right. It's those darn fascistic GW people trying to intimidate poor helpless oil and chemical companies into not polluting the atmosphere, for their own selfish purposes...
Links (other than Against)
- Wikipedia: | Global warming | Global warming controversy | 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
- OneWorldWiki: mostly a duplicate of Wikipedia, as of 2007-03-21
- Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
- 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
- How to Talk to a Global Warming Sceptic: an excellent collection of skeptical arguments-and-responses
- Scientific Reports on Climate
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.
- Was an imminent Ice Age predicted in the '70s? No "If you can find me a reference saying otherwise, I'll put it here."
- 2007-04-15 Freeman Dyson on Global Warming 2of2 Stratospheric Cooling: "A prominent scientist who's followed the science of global warming from the beginning, Dyson explains why climate models have no scientific merit, why average global ground temperature is a great fiction, and what he believes the real dangers of increased CO2 in the atmosphere are. He suggests that the relatively simple solution of land use management could potentially give us the ability to control the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere at any level we'd like, and there's no need to stop burning coal and oil."
- User:Woozle/Freeman Dyson on Global Warming: Dyson isn't saying that it's not real, but that the term "global warming" is misleading
- Chaos Manor Special Report: collection of short & long pieces, some very detailed; does not seem to be parroting anyone's party line
- Al Gore at the TED 2006 conference has some good overviews on the Global Warming situation: "There's no real disagreement about global warming – a survery of peer reviewed papers showed 928 supporting a theory of global warming and 0 opposing it. But there's a powerful lobby that is producing doubt, and suceeding – a survey ... reveals that 53% of popular press articles have some doubt about global warming."
- 2005-05-04 ExxonMobil Spends Millions Funding Global Warming Skeptics: doesn't automatically invalidate global warming skepticism, but any argument which starts with "many authorities seem to agree that it's not happening" should be aware that the balance may have been tilted a bit.
- "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."
- 2007-04-17 cold outside: cartoon by D.C. Simpson, I Drew This
- 2006-08-24 grant money: cartoon by D.C. Simpson, I Drew This
- 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."
- 2007-09-18 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."
- 2007-03-04 All in a Good Cause by Orson Scott Card: the story of the hoaxing of global warming, with links to a couple of books for supporting evidence (but nothing online).
- 2007-02-28 Mars Melt Hints at Solar, Not Human, Cause for Warming, Scientist Says
- 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
- 2007-01-11 Federal Way schools restrict Gore film: 'Inconvenient Truth' called too controversial
- 2006-12-29 Ice shelf breaks free in Canadian arctic (also MSNBC)
- 2006-12-24 Inhabited tropical island lost to rising seas
- 2006-11-01 Scientists say White House muzzled them (alt)
- 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
- 2006-07-20 The Heat Is On by Peggy Noonan seems to be blaming scientists for not having a firm consensus on the issue. Is this the signaling shot for a conservative attempt to shift the blame as the reality becomes inescapable?
- A response from Stefan Jones on Contrary Brin:
|For twenty years you and the other faithful lapdogs of industry have dutifully parroted the sophistry fed to you by the fossil fuel crowd and by free-market ideologues. As the evidence mounted, you moved on to the next set of bogus arguments... and you blame scientists for being dishonest?|
- Also, the claim that there is no scientific consensus on global warming is a myth; see The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
- 2006-07-14 First half of 2006 is warmest on record
- 2006-04-02 Cooler Heads Needed on Warming By George Will
- 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
- 2006-01-30 Top climatologist accuses US of trying to gag him: James Hansen, NASA's top climate scientist, has accused the Bush administration of trying to stop him from speaking out after he called for swift cuts in emissions of the greenhouse gases linked to global warming...
- 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
- 2006-01 Decoder: "How the White House edits out global warming" by Paul Rauber
- 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'
- 2005-05-10 The (UK) Guardian: "David Bellamy's inaccurate and selective figures on glacier shrinkage are a boon to climate change deniers"
- 2004-12-03 The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change
- 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.