One of the most controversial and contested area of science in today’s society is that of global warming. Its effects upon the earth and the question of whether or not humans are having an impact upon climate change. It has been discussed, analyzed and debated by scientists from many different fields of research. The purpose of this essay is twofold; firstly, to discuss the arguments for the existence of global warming and secondly, illustrates the fallacies in the arguments against global warming. This will be achieved by the exploration of several key articles related to the topic of global warming. In order to prove the existence of global warming the main arguments that will be used are, the effects of carbon emissions on the atmosphere, the clearing of land causing climate change and the changing land use patterns of Kenyan monkeys.
Firstly, the article “Carbon pollution accelerates” overviews a report which clearly proves that carbon dioxide levels are increasing by unexpectedly high rates and that the effect of this rapid increase is a warming of global temperatures over the next century above and beyond what was previously forecasted by the UN International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). “Professor Nicholas Owens of the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) was quoted as saying the findings were so worrying that they made previous widely accepted forecasts of climate change seem unduly optimistic” (“Carbon pollution accelerates” 2007). The BAS also found, that since 2000 carbon dioxide had increased thirty-five percent faster than the IPCC had predicted due to a combination of both inefficient use of fuels (17%) and a decline in natural “sinks” (18%) (“Carbon pollution accelerates” 2007). These increases will make the predictions that the IPCC made about world temperatures increasing look very optimistic indeed.
The next article on the agenda is “State’s land clearing concern” which highlights research found in land clearing has a direct link to climate change. State Minister for Natural Resources and Water Craig Wallace reported that, “The scientists found that past clearing of native vegetation in Queensland and other states has contributed to higher temperatures, decreased rainfall and more intense droughts during El Nino periods” (Giles, 2007).
The finding of the report also showed that temperatures had risen by an average of 2C in areas of southern Queensland during the 2002/03 El Nino drought due to vegetation clearing. Furthermore, the report also included research showing how “native vegetation moderates the intensity of climate fluctuations and reflects more solar radiation back to space than broad acre crops, keeping the temperature lower” (Giles, 2007). The report clearly shows how global warming is effected by a lack of vegetation management and how important keeping and protecting our native vegetation is in the fight against global warming.
The Article “Monkeys stir climate fears in Kenya” demonstrates a result of climate change. Monkeys in Kenya have migrated from their normal habitat to a drier, more arid part of the forest causing concern between conservationists. This discovery is a sign of change in Africa’s ecology due to carbon dioxide emissions. Richard Leakey (a Kenyan credited with ending the slaughter of the nations elephants) reported that “Africa is expected to be hit hardest by global warming blamed on carbon dioxide emissions from industry, transport and modern lifestyles in rich countries” (“Monkeys stir climate fears in Kenya, 2007).
Another article that demonstrates a result of climate change is “Climate change ’causes big health risks'”. This article disscusses The Healthy Planet, Places and People Report, released by the Research of Australia in October 2007. The report establishes how climate change contribues to a larger health risk of respitory and infectious diseases. It also shows that the “increased frequency heat waves would see up to three times more deaths from heart attacks, strokes and respiratory disease by 2050” (Climate Change Causes big health risks, 2007). Furthermore, the article also states that as a result of the heat waves, there would be an increase in people affected by asthma; there will be a higher risk of mosquito-borne infectious diseases as well as a higher risk of food poisioning and viral infections.
Not all people believe in climate change. Scientists like Dr William Grey believe that it is a step towards the world’s period of global cooling (“Gore’s climate theory savaged”, 2007). However, Dr Grey also stated that “It bothers me that my fellow scientists are not speaking out against something they know is wrong. But they also know that they’d never get any grants if they spoke out. I don’t care about grants.” (“Gore’s climate theory savaged”, 2007) This shows that he is an outsider to popular science; therefore, to get his sixty seconds of fame, he caused controversy amongst other scientists, challenged their beliefs and dismissed scientific evidence.
Another group of people who want to believe that climate change is a myth is the NSW Farmers Association (NFA). An article which supports this is “Climate change is not man-made: farmers”. This article goes against the IPCC’s prediction and states that humans are not responsible for climate change rather; it is a natural cycle process. The NFA president Jock Laurie said, “One of our concerns is that the cost will be landed back in the agricultural sector and we are certainly not happy with that idea – that’s one of the biggest issues.” (Climate change is not man-made: farmers, 2007) This clearly shows that the farmers know that the agricultural sector is one of the main implications of climate change and they are afraid of what will happen to their farm if major action is put forward.
In conclusion, climate change is very real, and is caused by an increase in carbon dioxide emissions. A decline in natural ‘sinks’ and inefficient use of fuels both contribute very highly to global warming. The clearing of natural vegetation and land clearing causes natural ‘sinks’. “Native vegetation moderates the intensity of climate fluctuations and reflects more solar radiation back to space than broad acre crops, keeping the temperature lower” (Giles, 2007). Rising carbon dioxide emissions lead to an increase of temperature, as seen from the El Nino drought in 2002/3 in east Australia.