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Global Warming

Essay by   •  November 28, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,505 Words (7 Pages)  •  1,021 Views

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In March of 1992, Dr. Richard Sanford wrote an outspoken paper opposing the claims of the global warming hysteria of recent time. Sanford discusses how people accept global warming theories as scientific fact without questioning their validity. I can honestly say that I was one of these people who agreed with the media's interpretation of these theories. After reviewing the pro global warming material in the course text, Environmental Science, written by G. Tyler Miller, and reading several articles on the opposition of global warming, I find myself becoming not a hardcore skeptic, but someone that will no longer take information at face value without reviewing as many of the particulars as possible.

In his essay, Sanford does state relevant, indisputable facts about the greenhouse effect and the increase in greenhouse gases that have occurred over the last century. These are the only areas that Sanford is in agreement with the text. There is enough evidence showing that there is a definitive increase in CO2, one of the major contributors to greenhouse gases, since the industrial revolution began. Scientists have monitored increasing levels of CO2 from the top of Mauna Loa, Hawaii, since 1958 to present. This is the first time that CO2 data has been recorded for this length of time and should prove useful for future global warming analyses. This is where Sanford departs from the global warming, drum banging text material. If I were to read through the text without reviewing opposing views, I might have my cars for sale on e-bay while looking to purchase a rickshaw so my children could pull me to work.

Sanford provides an in-depth discussion on four major global warming claims. The first claim is that global warming due to increased CO2 levels has already begun. In order to analyze global warming, temperature data must be gathered to search for trends over a period of time. The collection of temperature data is relatively brand new compared to the periods of climate changes that are discussed in the global warming debate. Mankind has only been accurately measuring temperature for approximately one and a half centuries. Although millions of data points have been collected, there is little relevance of 150 years worth of data when speaking of periods of over 400,000 years. Even within the last one hundred years, the earth's temperature has fluctuated up and down without known cause. Temperatures have increased and decreased during extended periods when CO2 was increasing. Scientists have theories of why this happened but they are only theories. The temperature variation argument is Sanford's most compelling argument when he opposes claims that the warming process has already begun.

Sanford delves into areas that are probably less known than global warming itself. He talks about two other natural factors that could be cause for temperature fluctuations: changes in solar radiation and heat from the earth's interior. In the solar radiation discussion, he briefly discusses how two scientists used a new method to calculate how the sun's radiation can be directly related to sunspot activity. A global warming advocate can have a great time tearing this view apart but just like the views of global warming, it should be objectively discussed within the scientific community. His also confidently discusses a process in which the earth's temperature is increasing from the inside out. The claim is that heat escapes during eruptions of the ocean floors. Another theory very hard to prove but why should this not be discussed when talking about global warming.

The second global warming claim that Sanford discusses is that temperatures will rise between three and nine degrees Fahrenheit over the next century. Environmentalists base this claim on processed data from computer-based models that are crunching temperature and CO2 data to arrive at a predicted temperature of the future. Sanford's opposition to this claim is compelling. The idea of taking only one factor such as CO2 and putting it into a climate-predicting model without using other known factors is quite illogical. As Sanford states, this does not represent dynamics of the real world. Using an analogy, one can say that water is what causes a plant to grow without taking into consideration other factors such as sunlight, soil nutrients and CO2. These other factors are critical to a plant's growth and cannot be ignored.

The third global warming claim that Sanford discusses is that CO2 increases are causing glaciers to melt and sea levels to rise. He points out that glaciers are constantly melting, regardless of CO2 levels, and at the same time, new glaciers are growing. An environmentalist may tend to run with the claim that glaciers are melting without looking at the big picture of the continuous balance in nature. He also points out that sea levels have been naturally rising since the last ice age. A theory not discussed in the essay is that if the earth's temperature does increase, so too will the evaporation rate of earth's water, ultimately leading to the buildup of ice sheets in the polar regions. This is a theory worthy of discussion in the environmental forum just as much as the global warming theory but global warming alarmists do not typically discuss theories negating their focus.

The fourth global warming claim discussed is that major crop disasters will occur if CO2 emissions are not curbed. Sanford points out that there is evidence showing that an increase in CO2 will result in an increase in plant growth throughout

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