Global Warnings Controversy over global warming exists as a dispute regarding the nature and consequences of global warming. The theory of global warning as presented in the mainstream media currently assumes that carbon dioxide is an atmospheric greenhouse gas and since humans are producing more carbon dioxide than previously, the temperature must therefore rise. The cause of global warming is not actually known, but in it’s simplest terms the debate boils down to whether or not global warming is caused by human interference or part of a naturally occurring cycle.
The debate has recently become one-sided in favor of human interference due mostly to three factors: political pressure on scientists to produce research that supports the global warming theory, public misconception of what scientific consensus is, and an irresponsible that media promotes sensationalized viewpoints to sell advertising. Al Gore ‘s film “An Inconvenient Truth” warns the public about global warming, but scientists who are skeptical of climate change have the most to fear — from politicians. Richard Lindzen, a Harvard trained atmospheric physicist and the Alfred P.
Sloan Professor of Meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says that the science of climate has become a “climate of intimidation. ” He explains that “in 1992, Senator Al Gore ran two Ayala 2 congressional hearings during which he tried to bully dissenting scientists, including myself, into changing our views and supporting his climate alarmism” (Fear). Lindzen further drives his point home by sharing what has happened to fellow colleagues who have expressed similar viewpoints in opposition to the scientific consensus on global warming. Sadly, this is only the tip of a non-melting iceberg.
In Europe, Henk Tennekes was dismissed as research director of the Royal Dutch Meteorological Society after questioning the scientific underpinnings of global warming. Aksel Winn-Nielsen, former director of the U. N. ‘s World Meteorological Organization, was tarred by Bert Bolin, first head of the IPCC, as a tool of the coal industry for questioning climate alarmism. Respected Italian professors Alfonso Sutera and Antonio Speranza disappeared from the debate in 1991, apparently losing climate-research funding for raising questions (Fear). Timothy Francis Ball, Ph. D. is a former climatology professor at the University of Winnipeg, Manitoba with a doctorate in climatology from the University of London, Queen Mary College, England. Dr. Ball’s extensive background includes a strong focus on the reconstruction of past climates. As a leader in the current global warming debate, he sheds further light on the difficulties in remaining an open and objective scientist under the current political climate. I once received a three page letter that my lawyer defined as libelous, from an academic colleague, saying I had no right to say what I was saying, especially in public lectures.
Sadly, my experience is that universities are the most dogmatic and oppressive places in our society. This becomes progressively worse as they Ayala 3 receive more and more funding from governments that demand a particular viewpoint (Ball). At one point during the documentary ”An Inconvenient Truth”, the term scientific consensus is used as a means to defend the position of greenhouse gases being the cause of global warming, “Isn’t there a disagreement among scientists about whether the problem is real or not? is asked, and the reply is, “Actually, not really” (Inconvenient). Given the number of scientists that disagree with global warming theory, the following quotation from the film is a rather surprising statement. There was a massive study of every scientific article in a peer reviewed article written on global warming in the last ten years. They took a big sample of 10 percent, 928 articles. And you know the number of those that disagreed with the scientific consensus that we’re causing global warming and that is a serious problem out of the 928: Zero.
The misconception that there is disagreement about the science has been deliberately created by a relatively small number of people. (Inconvenient) This previous statement is severely flawed on two levels. The first is that it tries to use scientific consensus to justify it’s position. Scientific consensus is defined in it’s simplest terms as a collective opinion, but it is not a scientific argument, and is not part of the scientific method. The film’s logic perpetuates the notion that if an opinion is popular enough, it is probably true, however there was a time when the scientific consensus was that the world was flat. As Lindzen said many years ago: ‘the consensus was reached before the research had even begun. ‘ Now, any s Ayala 4 scientist who dares to question the prevailing wisdom is marginalized and called a skeptic, when in fact they are simply being good scientists” (Ball). The second flaw is that the whole statement is more or less a convenient untruth. The film would have viewers believe only a “relatively small number of people” (Inconvenient) disagree with scientific consensus on global warming.
Four prominent efforts exist that show such a consensus does not exist: The Oregon Petition, which has approximately 19,000 signatures; the Heidelberg Declaration, which is signed by over 4000 scientists including 72 Nobel Prize winners; and the “Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming,” is signed by 47 scientists. The media’s attempt to scare us into a belief of global warming was attempted thirty years ago, but instead of a global warming the term was global cooling. In the 1970’s, scientists were scared that the earth would recess into another Ice Age.
In an article titled, “Another Ice Age? ”, printed in Time Magazine, University of Toronto Climatologist Kenneth Hare, a former president of the Royal Meteorological Society states, “I don’t believe that the world’s present population is sustainable if there are more than three years like 1972 in a row” (Another). Daniel Glick offers up a theory in this National Geographic article that states that every 100,000 years the Earth completes a cycle from ice age to a more temperate age called an interglacial period comparable to today.
Along with this pattern of change is a similar trend of carbon dioxide levels that increase with the temperature (Glick 64). This doesn’t seem to account for the Little Ice Age, which began in 1650 and ended in 1850, separated by slight warming intervals. If the Earth is four billion years old, as many scientists would have us believe, common sense suggests that man Ayala 5 isn’t capable of determining what a normal temperature for the Earth should be. While these are just theories, they do point cooling and warming trends hat have nothing to do with human interference in climate change. Timothy Ball puts the previous cooling trend of the 1970s into perspective with the following statement. Temperatures declined from 1940 to 1980 and in the early 1970’s global cooling became the consensus. This proves that consensus is not a scientific fact. By the 1990’s temperatures appeared to have reversed and Global Warming became the consensus. It appears I’ll witness another cycle before retiring, as the major mechanisms and the global temperature trends now indicate a cooling” (Ball).
From an ethical stand point it is vital for the media to remain unbiased and to report each side of the story, especially when it comes to topics like global warming and it is equally as important for scientists to be able work and think freely without the looming fear of losing funding if their outcomes don’t meet the requirements of preconceived political agendas. Lindzen sums this up best when he states, “Alarm rather than genuine scientific curiosity, it appears, is essential to maintaining funding.
And only the most senior scientists today can stand up against this alarmist gale, and defy the iron triangle of climate scientists, advocates and policymakers”(Fear). The media and politicians are easy scapegoats, it is easier to point the blame than to accept personal responsibility. Equal blame lies with individuals who have become too trusting and accept the word of others and incorporate that into their own belief systems. Instead of worrying about global warming, the world could benefit greatly from honest global warnings.
Ayala 6 Works Cited “Another Ice Age? ” Time Magazine 24 June 1974. 2 http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00. html “An Inconvenient Truth. ” Dir. Davis Gruggenhim. Perf. Al Gore. DVD. Amazon. 2006. Ball, Timothy. “Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts? “. Canada Free Press. February 5, 2007. October 2, 2007. Glick, Daniel, Montaigne, Fen, and Morell, Virginia. “Signs from Earth. ” National Geographic. Sep. 2004: 2-75 “Global Warming ‘The Greenhouse Effect. ‘” Lindzen, Richard. Free Inquiry Climate of Fear. ” Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2006. October 2, 2007. “Another Ice Age? ” Time Magazine 24 June 1974. 2 http://www. time. com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,944914,00. html “An Inconvenient Truth. ” Dir. Davis Gruggenhim. Perf. Al Gore. DVD. Amazon. 2006. Ball, Timothy. “Global Warming: The Cold, Hard Facts? “. Canada Free Press. February 5, 2007. October 2, 2007. < http://www. canadafreepress. com/2007/globalwarming020507. tm> Glick, Daniel, Montaigne, Fen, and Morell, Virginia. “Signs from Earth. ” National Geographic. Sep. 2004: 2-75 “Global Warming ‘The Greenhouse Effect. ‘” Lindzen, Richard S. “There is No ‘Consensus’ on Global Warming. ” The Examiner. 12 July 2006 11 Sept. 2006. Lindzen, Richard. “No Global Warming. ” Environmental News. The Heartland Institute. Aug. 1, 2006. Lindzen, Richard. “Free Inquiry Climate of Fear. ” Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal. April 12, 2006. October 2, 2007.