Global Warming Debate
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There is a natural greenhouse effect keeps the planet 33°C warmer than it would be otherwise, allowing the earth to sustain life. Over the last 200 years human activities have resulted in emissions of greenhouse gases, (primarily carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels), which have altered the composition of the atmosphere and strengthened the greenhouse effect. As a result the earth’s temperature is rising, which changes the climate.
The earth's atmosphere has actually cooled by 0.13 degrees Celsius since 1979 according to highly accurate satellite-based atmospheric temperature measurements. By contrast, computer models predict that the globe should have warmed by an easily detectable 0.4 degrees Celsius over the last 15 years. Temperature records reveal that predictive models are off by a factor of two when applied retroactively in projecting the change in global temperature for this century.
Temperature records show that the Arctic has actually cooled by 0.88 degrees Celsius over the past fifty years.
In the late 1980s and early 1990s, he growth rate and concentration of many greenhouse gases fell well below expected levels. Some, such as methane and carbon monoxide, have leveled off or even declined. Others, such as CO(2), have shown a substantial reduction in the rate of increase; and the rate of concentration is increasing, but at far below expected levels.
According to scientists, the retreat of glaciers and the warming of the tundra permafrost is clear evidence of climatic change.
The nine hottest years on record have all occurred since 1980, despite the 2-3 year cooling effect of the Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption in 1991. 1994 was the third or fourth hottest year on record.
The earth’s temperature now, far from being abnormally high, is below the global average of the last 3000 years. In fact, during the past 3,000 years, there have been five extended periods when the Earth was distinctly warmer than today.
if human interference continues to alter the composition of the atmosphere, average surface temperatures could rise between 2 and 3 °C globally over the next 100 years.
SCIENTIST SAY that to avoid dangerous climate change over the next 100 years, the total amount of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels that can be released is around 225 billion tonnes of carbon. If no action is taken on deforestation (which also releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere), the amount will be lower.
Reserves of oil, gas and coal identified as ‘economically recoverable’ currently stand at 1,053 billion tonnes. This would, if burnt, lead to a 5.0°C rise in temperature. SO THE SCIENTIST ARE SAYING WE CAN ONLY USE ABOUT 25% of what we could recover.
Is it true that the earth is warmer now then it has ever been before? Not hardly. Scientists know a lot about the historical climate record from analyzing fossils and deep ice layers. They know the earth’s climate is cyclical, going from ice-age to warming to ice age.
In most scientific circles the issue is no longer whether or not climate change is a potentially serious problem, but rather, how the problem will develop, what its effects will be, how these can be best detected, and what measures can be taken to reduce the damage. The media, at times, leaves the impression that scientists are still discussing whether or not the climate is really changing as a result of emissions of greenhouse gases. This is not the case. In actuality there is a broad agreement on this issue among scientists and experts, as represented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). No scientific material has ever been presented in scientific fora which challenges the main conclusions of the IPCC, in spite of the fact that the IPCC has an open process that invites critical views.
FOSSIL FUEL AND TRANSPORTATION INTEREST CONTRIBUTE MILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO POLITICIANS. THEY ALSO FUND A FEW SCIENTIST AND ORGANIZATIONS THAT WORK TO KEEP LEGISLATION THAT MIGHT HURT THEIR BOTTOM LINE, MUCH LIKE THE TOBACCO INDUSTRY.
JUNE 28,1998, A coalition of nearly 60 scientists on Monday told Congress to get serious about the global warming threat, saying even as industries admit the earth is warming many lawmakers deny the evidence. Speaking at a Capitol Hill press conference, the scientists said they were shocked that some in Congress continue to ignore the scientific community and object to global efforts for cutting carbon gas emissions, which enhance warming. ``For too long a vocal minority denying climate change has had the ear of Congress,'' said Dr. Richard Gammon, a professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. The coalition, which was sponsored by the Union of Concerned Scientists environmental group, noted that ``even General Motors, British Petroleum, Dupont, Boeing and other industry powerhouses now acknowledge climate change.''
PRO 7 12-2-99
The giant arctic ice cap may be melting as a result of global warming, according to a new paper by an international team of researchers. An analysis using complex computer programs that mimic the climate system indicates only a 2 percent chance that arctic melting over the last 19 years is a result of natural climate changes, according to the paper appearing in Friday's edition of the journal Science. Also, there only is a 0.1 percent chance that the melting over the last 46 years is natural, according to the team led by Konstantin Vinnikov of the University of Maryland. In recent years scientists increasingly have become concerned about the possibility that chemicals released into the atmosphere by industry are causing the climate to warm, though some contend that the changes are part of natural variability. Vinnikov's team concentrated on satellite measurements of sea ice in the Arctic taken since 1978, showing an overall decline in ice area larger than the state of Texas.
PRO 8 12-15-99
This has been Planet Earth's fifth warmest year since consistent global records began in 1860, British meteorologists said on Thursday. Seven of the world's 10 warmest recorded years have been in the 1990s, the Meteorological Office reported. ``The rapid cooling of temperatures in the equatorial Pacific, the so-called La Nina, has contributed to 1999 being significantly cooler than 1998, the hottest year on record,'' said the Met Office's David Parker. ``This large natural year-on-year variability is exactly what we expect to see superimposed on a long-term warming due to man-made greenhouse gas emissions. ``Our forecast for 2000 shows a high probability of it being warmer than 1999 as the cold Pacific warms again naturally, but only a low probability of beating the 1998 record,'' he added. The Met Office said it believed the 1990s were the warmest decade of the millennium.
PRO 9 01-04-00
The 1990s marked Australia's warmest decade since reliable records began 90 years ago, and weather experts said on Wednesday they expected the warming trend to continue. Kevin Hennessy, a climate researcher at Canberra's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization said warming was expected to accelerate. ``What we've got here is that by the year 2030, average temperatures will be between 0.3 and 1.4 degrees (Celsius) higher,'' he told Reuters. ``It's a very large (forecast) range because there is uncertainty regarding future emissions of greenhouse gases and because of the sensitivity of climate models to changes in greenhouse gas loading.'' Senior British and American scientists said last month that in the face of global warming humanity should brace itself for ''rising sea levels, changing precipitation patterns, ecological and agricultural dislocations, and the increased spread of human disease.''
Fact 10 01-13-00
Earth is warming and at a sharply faster rate in the last 20 years than in previous decades, according to a major study released Thursday by the National Academy of Science's National Research Council (NRC). The new evidence released by independent scientists for the NRC said Earth's surface temperature rose about 0.7 to 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. In the last 20 years, the earth's surface temperature was estimated to have risen by 0.5 to 0.7 degrees Fahrenheit. ``In the opinion of the panel, the warming trend in global-surface temperature observations during the past 20 years is undoubtedly real and is substantially greater than the average rate of warming during the 20th century'' as a whole, according to the report filed by an 11-member panel. Still, even with the new information, disparities exist between measurements of earth surface temperatures -- which are clearly rising -- and upper-air temperatures, which for some reason are not showing the same rise. ``Data collected by satellites and balloon-borne instruments since 1979 showed little warming of the low to mid-troposphere, the atmospheric layer extending to about 5 miles from Earth's surface,'' the NRC report said. Authors of the report, however, warned against making too much of the disparities, noting the contradictions do not damage the premise that Earth is increasingly warmer. ``The report itself does not call for energy-restricting international treaties, like the Kyoto Protocol. It calls for increased monitoring of everything from temperatures, to ozone levels, to water vapor, to aerosols in order to determine what is really going on with the climate,'' said Myron Ebell, global warming expert for the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Environmental group Ozone Action said the report was ``the nail in the coffin of doubt'' about the reality of a warming trend. It said environmental signs of warming are clear, noting that Boston broke its record for consecutive days without snowfall, and a recent report that sea ice in Arctic water is shrinking by 14,000 square miles per year.
Those who doubt the warming trend said the only thing rising over the past decade is the political spin on the issue, especially by the Clinton administration.
PRO 11AUCKLAND, Feb 16,200 (AFP) -Global warming and the associated sea-level rise will threaten residents of Tuvalu, with tides forecast to be higher than most of the islands they live on, a climate expert confirmed. Homes, offices and the airport could expect to be flooded, Hilia Vavae of the Tuvalu Meteorological Office told AFP. Tuvalus main island and capital, Funafuti, will Saturday and Sunday afternoon receive spring tides of 3.2 metres (11 feet). No point of land in Tuvalu is more than 4.5 metres (15 feet) above mean sea level. "The low lying areas of Funafuti will be flooded," Vavae said. She said spring tides have been steadily getting higher, causing serious problems, and this month they will be their highest ever. On overcrowed Funafuti, home to most of the 11,000 population, the groundwater has already become undrinkable thanks to sea-water intrusion, and often century-old pits used for growing the root crop taro are being flooded by sea-water.
PRO 12 3-23-00
The oceans have warmed significantly over the past four decades, providing new evidence that the Earth may be undergoing long-term climate change, a study by government scientists says. The broad study of temperature data from the oceans shows average temperatures have increased from one-tenth to one-half degree, depending on depth since the 1950s, an amount described as surprising. The findings were reported by scientists at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration,