Global Warming: Myth or Fact? PHI 103: Informal Logic October 25, 2009 Global Warming: Myth or Fact? Thesis: The Global Warming theory has become increasingly popular over the past few years. Citizens of the world are being encouraged to be more environmentally conscious by others including politicians, celebrities, and world organizations. The problem with the theory lies in the fact that it has become more and more controversial as it gains publicity and attention. The basic concept behind this theory is thatthe earth was made with a balance of “green house gasses” (AGU, 2003).
These gasses are naturally occurring within the atmosphere and they essentially make the planet habitable by keeping it warm. When the world became more industrialized, the amount of Carbon Dioxide that was being emitted into the atmosphere increased. In the past hundred years or so, that number has more or less skyrocketed when compared to the previous amount due to the invention and mass distribution of automobiles, aircraft, trains, and boats. The surplus of green house gasses are beyond what the earth can store and are creating a pseudo blanket around the world.
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The earth has thence become more and more hot, “…the globe has heated up by about one degree Fahrenheit over the past century???and it has heated up more intensely over the past two decades. ” (IPCC, 2001) To be able to correctly put that into perspective one must have the knowledge that the temperature difference between the ice age and current times is nine degrees. The potential repercussions of the increase in global temperature includemore intense storms, more severe droughts, and rising sea levels.
There are several ways to have a more positive impact on the environment. Everything from buying more energy efficient cars to helping control the population has the potential to help reduce the effects of global warming. One of the largest contributors to the increase in global temperature in the past century has been the ever expanding population. It is a simple math problem, if one person produces too many green house gasses and then proceeds to have seven children, the greenhouse emissions with increase even more so.
The more people habituating the planet, the more potential there is for emission of green house gasses. In short, the basis of this argument other than years of documented research and scientific discovery is what harm could we do by being more conservative in our use of energy and other entities that produce more than their share of green house gasses? The answer as it stands now is none. The harmful effects of ignoring this crisis are all but proven fact. Antithesis: The problem that the pro- global warming theorists have created is that of social standing and little else.
While there may be scientific backing to support some of the theory, the media presents the problem with great sensationalism. Global warming and energy conservation has thus become a trend and losses some of its validity through this. The scare tactics used by the media to “promote awareness” are just that, a linguistic ploy to gain favor. “Awareness of this global threat reinforced public concern and environmental problems and thereby provided environmental activists, scientists, and policy makers with new momentum in their efforts to promote environmental protection. (McCright, 2000) This statement draws line to the potential benefits that would be received if the pro-global warming theorists were to draw enough attention to the issue. Driven by social empowerment and conviction to environmental protection, these activists misrepresent the actual threat and paint it as being much more intense and imminent than the scientific evidence concludes. The fact that the planet’s temperature is ever changing is solid, however there is no solid proof that humans are responsible for this rise.
The earth’s temperature has experienced extreme highs and lows throughout its millions of years in existence and we as humans understand little about what has caused those fluctuation. If humans did not exist billions of years ago, yet the temperature still changed dramatically, then why is it that scientists’ claim that humans are the cause for this current phenomena? The answer to that question is unknown however one could make the assumption that it may be due to our lack of understanding about the way in which carbon dioxide exists in the atmosphere. The temperature of the atmosphere fluctuates over a wide range, the result of solar activity and other influences. During the past 3,000 years, there have been five extended periods when it was distinctly warmer than today. One of the two coldest periods, known as the Little Ice Age, occurred 300 years ago. Atmospheric temperatures have been rising from that low for the past 300 years, but remain below the 3,000-year average. ” (Robinson, 1997) This excerpt from an article in the Wall Street Journal sheds light on the facts that have been overlooked by the pro-global warming theorists.
The public has no easy access to this information therefore it is easily forgotten or removed from the argument. Global warming is a theory that has been wildly blown out of proportion. Media backing and celebrity endorsements combined with political scare tactics have been used to create the sense of responsibility in this matter. The true concern is being masked by the “solution” that is being presented to the world. The supposed solution to the global warming theorists is to conserve. The real issue at hand is discovery. Science must be perfected or at least further tested before conclusions can be drawn.
Synthesis: While evidence exists on both sides, the side that acknowledges the existence of globalwarming at least has the appearance of more science on its side. The publicity brought to global warming can have the ability to cause people to accept it as fact rather than simply a theory. That being said, it is the belief of this writer that the pro-global warming theory is more valid than the anti-global warming theory. This conclusion was made mostly due to the distrust that this student grew for the anti-global warming supporters.
The anti side invalidates their own arguments by using some basic fallacious thinking and aggressive tactics. Many of the websites and other sources to gain knowledge about the potential non-threat of global warming are extremist and use many common fallacies. For example, here is an excerpt from just one of the many anti-global warming websites available to all on the World Wide Web, “We all know that the artificial construct known as “cap and trade” is nothing more than a fraud to get companies to pay more taxes.
It will have very little, to no, impact on CO2 levels, much less global warming. ” (Casey, 2009). The author assumes that the “cap and trade” issue is universally known and understood which is a fallacy of hasty generalization. The second flaw in that particular argument is that it appears to be an argument of outrage in the sense that it degrades the government and paints them to be money hungry and unconcerned with the well being of its peoples. Websites against global warming take personal attacks at the politicians or celebrities who endorse he idea of global warming. While these personal attacks may hold some general truth, they do not address that person’s ability to become involved with an organization to create awareness for global warming. Personal attacks are used to dissuade the American public from siding with the pro-global warming theory. Celebrities are often used as spokespeople for different causes and charities, but they do not embody what they are speaking for. They are solely a resource to raise awareness to the general population.
While it may be true that some scientific evidence has been withheld or not made as accessibleto the general population due to its potential harm to the pro-global warming theory, this writer has not been dissuaded from her former school of thought. It is very true that there are more humans on the planet than there were many years ago. It is also true that humans now use more advanced technology that have the tendency to produce a lot of carbon dioxide. The link between what we understand about humans and their production habits and the atmosphere may be blurry, but the question remains, why not conserve?
In conclusion, the moral of the global warming story is moderation. Little personal changes may affect the way in which the world climate is changing but if they do not, what harm would we have done? Riding a bike to work or walking to school not only reduces the amount of carbon dioxide being produced, it saves that person money. Global warming may not be as big a threat as the media makes it out to be, but there is scientific evidence supporting the fact that it just may be a threat. References: Casey, J. L. (2009, June 15). Reviewing climate change and cap and trade programs to insure investor protection.
Retrieved from http://www. globalwarminghoax. com Essex, C. & McKitrick, R. (2002). Taken by storm: the troubled science, policy and politics of global warming. Torono: Key Porter Books. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). Climate Change 2001: Working Group I: The Scientific Basis. Retrieved from www. grida. no McCright, Aaron. (2000). Challenging global warming as a social problem: an analysis of the conservative movement’s counter-claims. Social Problems, 47(4), 499-522. Robinson, Arthur B. & Robinson, Zachary W. (1997, December 4). Science has spoken: global warming is a myth. The Wall Street Journal