Global warming: the two sides seen through a logical perspective

Global warming is defined as the constant increase of the earth’s temperature which causes rapid climate changes, and is one of the main issues of our time. This subject is an issue since the specialists such as climatologists and scientists do not agree on the causes of the climate change: either humans are to blame or it is a natural process. Both sides of the argument believe that the other is applying the fallacies of false cause and suppressed evidence In the article „Humans blamed for climate change“ written by Richard Black, it is stated that the IPCC believes that humans are „likely“ to be the cause for global warming and that the warming period we are facing is seen as being a threat to the living beings on the planet. They claim the surplus of CO2 in the atmosphere is what is causing the earth’s surface to heat up and that because of this the sea levels are rising.They also argue that human activity, in other words, our constant emission of greenhouse gasses is what is causing global warming and tropical storms. Lastly, they claim that the predictions they made on the climate change we were going to experience are getting worse and the process is faster than expected.  I believe that both sides the study of global warming have good and bad arguments, the second opinion being that climate change is a natural process and that there is no reason to fear this change; and I feel that this is a positive way to conduct the study because science should always be open to different possibilities. The scientists with a different point of view on the subject state firstly that climate change has been occurring through history and the supposedly threatening patterns that the researchers have been seeing in glaciers are simply a natural process. The „global warming“ is due to the increase in the sun’s temperature which has not only been seen on planet earth but also on the other planets in our solar system. Lastly, the temperature has been rising but not as dramatically as predicted, the rise and fall of sea-levels is determined by more complicated theories than the melting of ice and global warming is not necessarily a catastrophic event.

First of all, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that temperatures were probably going to increase by 1.8-4C (3.2-7.2F) by the end of the century and that global warming was likely to influence the intensity of tropical storms(Black). It may be possible that the temperature is actually increasing but other sources claim otherwise. For example, one scientist from the IPCC does not agree with the many others on the claim that global warming is manmade. UN IPCC Japanese Scientist Dr. Kiminori Itoh, an award-winning PhD environmental physical chemist, states that warming fears are the „worst scientific scandal in the history…When people come to know what the truth is, they will feel deceived by science and scientists“(Morano). On the other hand, let’s assume that the IPCC is right about the temperatures getting warmer. In that case, logically the intensity of the heat will indeed have an influence on the intensity and frequency of tropical storms. I believe that the fact that some leading scientists that are part of the IPCC do not agree with the claims that the organization defends proves that this study remains an inductive argument and that science should never stick to one conclusion without exploring others. In the article, Dr Susan Soloman claims that „we can be very confident that the net effect of human activity since 1750 has been one of warming“ (Black). The IPCC now concludes that it is „90 % certain that human emissions of greenhouse gases rather than natural variations are warming the planet’s surface“ (Black). For the scientists that believe the other side of the argument, this would seem to them like the fallacy of false cause. They claim that other scientists and climatologists compared the temperatures in the past and related them to the emission of greenhouse gasses and their conclusion was completely opposite to the one of the IPCC. They state that „‘warmer periods of the Earth’s history came around 800 years before rises in carbon dioxide levels‘, meaning that a rise in Carbon Dioxide follows a rise in temperature, rather than increasing temperature following rising CO2 emissions“ (Marshall). They also mention that there was a huge surge in CO2 after the Second World War, yet the global temperatures fell for four decades after 1940 (Marshall). Due to this information, it is possible that global warming may not be mainly caused by the human emissions of CO2 since apparently the CO2 did not have that much effect on the temperature in the past. On the other hand, it is more than likely that the emissions of CO2 in the past were smaller than in our present time which suggests that humans may have an effect on the changing temperature. Once again, both sides of the argument are possible which proves that this scientific study remains an inductive argument.

On the subject of rising sea-levels, „computer models of climate generally include water coming into the oceans as ice caps and glaciers melt“ (Black). The IPCC also states that the sea-levels are likely to rise by 28 to 43 centimetres (Black). This means that the glaciers are moving, breaking off from one another and melting, and this causes the sea-levels to rise. It is said that this will be a threat to humanity yet in the opinions of scientists that support a different argument, the people who affirm this point ignore stronger evidence that sustain a different conclusion. In other words, both sides of the argument believe that the other is committing the fallacy of suppressed evidence. The study contradicting the IPCC claims that glaciers have always been moving and breaking off since it is a part of their natural process. Thousands of years ago, there was not a great deal of discharges of greenhouse gasses and the glaciers were still going through the same process; therefore, humans have no effect on the movement and breaking of glaciers. „Dr Boris Winterhalter, a professor on marine geology and former marine researcher at the Geological Survey of Finland, said that, „The breaking glacier wall is a normally occurring phenomenon which is due to the normal advance of a glacier““ (Marshall). As for the melting of the glaciers and this affecting the sea-levels, Professor Philip Stott from the Department of Biogeography at the University of London, claims that the rise of sea-levels is an enormously slow and long process (The Great Global Warming Swindle). They believe that the constant threat of rising sea-levels is in fact not such a big menace since it would probably take another ten thousand years before we see any significant difference. Both arguments seem very solid; therefore, it is important to keep an open mind when dealing with scientific studies.

Second of all, the IPCC concluded that there is a greater probability than 66% that rising temperatures were a factor in influencing the intensity of tropical storms (Black). Anybody could understand this to be true. Tropical storms are caused by the heat; therefore, if the world’s temperature goes up, the tropical storms will be more frequent and more intense. This is a very strong argument, claiming that if the temperature goes up so will the tropical storms, but other scientists make an equally strong point in stating that this should not be blamed on human activity. Climate change has always been a natural process and Timothy Ball, one of the first Canadian doctors in climatology, explains that the changes of temperature are always related to the sun: „climate change is occurring, but that is because it is always occurring, it is a natural change that is a result of the changes in the Sun’s temperature. He explains that we are currently leaving what was known as a Little Ice Age and that the history of Earth is riddled with changes in the climate“(Marshall). Therefore, the intensity and frequency of the tropical storms would more likely be caused by the changes of temperature of the sun than human activity. The IPCC chairman then states „if you see the extent to which human activities are influencing the climate system, the options for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions appear in a different light, because you can see what the costs of inaction are“ ( Black). So again the humans are to blame for the discharges of greenhouse gasses and the warming of the planet. Yet the other scientists would believe that this argument is a fallacy of suppressed evidence. The IPCC convincingly points out that we do have a lot of polluting industries and cars and that this is affecting our planet in a very negative way.

On the other hand, other scientists believe that this can only be a little factor in the warming of the planet. They state that the sun controls our season and dominates our solar system. For them, it would be more likely that the sun, with a diameter of approximately 1, 4 kilometres, would be the cause of the heating of the planet. However, if the sun is getting warmer and it is affecting the Earth, it should also effect the other planets in our solar system. NASA made a report that showed that Mars is also experiencing climate change: „Mars‘ carbon dioxide ice caps have been melting for a few years now […] An astronomical observatory in Russia declared that, „the Mars data is evidence that the current global warming on Earth is being caused by changes in the sun.“ They further point out that both Mars and Earth have, throughout their histories, experienced periodic ice ages as climate changes in a continuous fashion“ (Marshall). This statement strongly and considerably argues that the climate change is not mainly caused by humans but that the sun is getting warmer and that this is affecting our whole solar system. On the other hand, logically it would be positive for us to lower our use of CO2 simply because it would be better for the health of our peers and the planet. We constantly breathe the polluting fumes of industries, cars and machines; therefore, is it not a surprise that the number of human illnesses are multiplying and that our planet is heating up? Achim Steiner, an executive director of the United Nations Environment Programme claims that “ It is an unequivocal series of evidence [showing that] fossil fuel burning and land use change are affecting the climate on our planet“ (Black). It is very obvious to what extent the burning of fossil fuels could have an effect on our health and the health of the animals and plants, but the scientists arguing the other side of the argument have trouble believing that humans have so much control over the temperature. Once again, both sides of the argument would think that the other is applying the fallacy of suppressed evidence. The opposing scientists believe that if the sun is affecting other planets, the same way that it is affecting Earth, they do not see how it is possible that humans are the main cause of the Earth’s global warming. The first point they state is that carbon dioxide has so little place in the Earth’s atmosphere that it makes it impossible to have such a big effect on the planet.  Geoffrey G. Duffy, a professor in the Department of Chemical and Material Engineering of the University of Auckland states that „even doubling or tripling the amount of carbon dioxide will virtually have little impact, as water vapour and water condensed on particles as clouds dominate the worldwide scene and always will“ (Morano). So this suggests that human activity is not the main cause of the global warming if the carbon dioxide is indeed a very minimal part of our atmosphere.

The second point is once again that the sun is what is causing the warming of the planet. Some scientists and satellites have measured the heat of the sunlight and they have all come to the same conclusion: „satellites that measure the temperature of sunlight have been recording an increase in the sun’s temperature“ and „German and Swiss scientists […] claim that it is increasing radiation from the sun that is resulting in our current climate change“ (Marshall). This reminds us that science should keep an open mind to different interpretations because both of these arguments offer us different possibilities on the subject which is what science is all about.

Third of all, the IPCC conducted a study that proposed that their previous study was too moderate. „Writing in the journal Science, an international group of scientists concluded that temperatures and sea levels had been rising at or above the maximum rates proposed in the last report, which was published in 2001“ (Black). This means that the heating of the planet and the rising sea levels are to a degree that is more extreme than the scientists predicted. This seems threatening since the heating process of the planet is climbing rapidly and it suggests that humans are going to feel the effects of this sooner than predicted. On the part of the IPCC, this is a very strong argument, that global warming is happening faster than predicted, but other scientists believe that since it is a natural process there should be nothing threatening about it. They state that there have been many different climate periods throughout the history of the Earth and people still survived through it without many significant damages. For example, the medieval warm period, 800-1200, and the little Ice age, 1560 to 1850, were both different climatic periods when the weather was either exceptionally warm or exceptionally cold (Scott). Yet this was not considered threatening at the time and the people survived without any difficulty. As for the melting of glaciers that is causing the sea-levels to rise, some scientists state that there were cases where the Earth was much warmer than today and such events did not occur. Professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Centre, John Christy says that „we happen to have temperature records of Greenland that go back thousands of years. Greenland has been much warmer. Just a thousand years ago Greenland was warmer than it is today yet it didn’t have a dramatic melting event“ (TGGWS).  Since both of these arguments are backed by significantly impressive evidence, I believe that science is indeed a study that explores different theories and that it should not be limited to a one-sided opinion.

The study that the IPCC conducted compared the 2001 projections to the present day and the models concluded „a temperature rise between about 0.15C-0.35C over this period. The actual rise of 0.33C was very close to the top of the IPCC’s range“ (Black). This argument makes a very strong point and I believe that there is nothing that any specialist can say that can oppose this. You do not have to be a scientist or a professor to see that the temperatures are going up. Whoever would try to contradict this fact would be politically incorrect since it is very obvious that the temperatures are changing. Yet some scientists claim that the temperature rise is not the cause of human activity, and that this rise should not be threatening at all because once more they believe that it is a purely natural process. This climate change, in their view, could actually be a positive thing. For example, Philip Stott, a professor in the Department of Biogeography at the University of London, says that „it’s important people know that climate enabled a different lifestyle in the medieval period. We have this view today that warming is going to have apocalyptic outcomes. In fact, wherever you describe this warm period [medieval warm period], it appears to be associated with riches“ (TGGWS). Professor Stott continues by saying that „according to Chaucer, vineyards flourished even in the northern part of England and in London there are many memorials of this time period“ (TGGWS). Therefore, if the medieval warm period was a positive outcome for the world and the people, they believe that the global warming period we are experiencing today may not be as devastating as predicted.

Other scientists do not agree with this claim yet their argument holds as strongly as the opposite. In the study of sea level comparisons, „the actual average level, measured by tide gauges and satellites, had risen faster than the intergovernmental panel of scientists predicted it would“(Black).  Their argument is that the human emission of CO2 is what is causing the heat on the Earth to rise, and that this is what is making the glaciers to melt. Also, because these glaciers melt, the sea-levels are rising. But other scientists believe that if there were hotter time periods on Earth, as mentioned previously, and this did not make the glaciers melt or the sea-levels rise, they assume that either this argument is completely false or the melting is caused by something other than the rising heat. Both views once again believe that the other is committing the fallacy of suppressed evidence. Professor Philip Stott explains that the sea level changes are governed by two factors: „Local factors: the relationship of the sea to the land which often has to do with the land rising and falling then anything to do with the sea. But if you’re talking about what we call eustatic changes of sea, world-wide changes that are through the formal expansion of the ocean, they have nothing to do with the melting ice. And that’s an enormously slow and long process“ (Durkin). Once more, both sides of the argument make strong claims that are supported with strong evidence which shows that science offers different possibilities for the same study and that this should be understood as an important aspect of scientific disciplines.

In conclusion, I still believe that both sides of the global warming argument make strong claims and that this is the proper way to conduct a scientific study, by offering different possibilities. The IPCC was created „by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Programme“ (Oreskes), and most Environmental organizations agree with the arguments that it defends: „all major scientific bodies in the United States whose members‘ expertise bears directly on the matter have issued similar statements“ (Oreskes). On the other hand, some scientists like Morano have been rumoured to have links to the gas company that would influence their protest against manmade global warming: „Public tax filings for 2003-7[…]show that the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow [the organization financing Morano’s Web site] received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the ExxonMobil Foundation and from foundations associated with the billionaire Richard Mellon Scaife, a longtime financer of conservative causes best known for its efforts to have President Bill Clinton impeached“ (Kaufman). Yet this is no reason to make scientific research a one sided study since not all scientists are like Morano. Some might have an interesting scientific point of view on the subject which should encourage us to keep an open mind while discussing science.

  • Black, Richard. „Humans Blamed for Climate Change.“ BBC News Website. 2nd February 2007. 15th February 2007.
  • Kaufman, Leslie. „Dissenter on Warming Expands His Campaign.“ Climate Ark. 10th of April 2009. 28th of April 2009. < aspx? linkid=124139>
  • Marshall, Andrew G. „Global Warming: A Conventional Lie.“Global Research. 2007. 15th February 2009.
  • Morano, Marc. „UN Blowback: More Than 650 International Scientists Dissent over Man-Made Global Warming Claims.“ U.S Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works. 10th December 2008. 14th March 2009.
  • Oreskes, Naomi. „The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change.“ Science Magazine. 3rd of December 2004. 28th of April 2009.
  • Scott, Mandia.“The little Ice Age in Europe.“ Influence of Dramatic Climate Shifts on EuropeCivilization. 14th of March 2009.
  • The Great Global Warming Swindle. Dir. Martin Durkin. Wag TV production. 8th March 2007

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Source by Anja Mileusnic-Plecas