For well over fifteen years there has been a constant yet ever increasing drumbeat about this phenomenon called Global Warming. While planet Earth has experienced many such periods of warming (as well as some cooling periods) in the past, this time it is caused by us humans. Yes, it is our fault!
The burning of fossil fuels, gasoline for our cars, industrial use of fuel and coal for the production of electricity and many other products, is the identified main culprit in all this as it produces carbon dioxide (CO2) – one of many “greenhouse gases”. When released into the atmosphere, our planet gets wrapped in an invisible shroud that makes escape of heat into outer space more difficult than its initial absorption from sunlight. This is called the Greenhouse Effect and it is causing the warming of the planet. Over the years, warmer temperatures everywhere have caused natural catastrophes from hurricanes to melting glaciers and are therefore proof of the stated cause of global warming.
Without strong and valid arguments to the contrary by experts and scientists, this theory has become accepted fact. From kindergarten pupils, schoolchildren to politicians everywhere, everybody knows about and understands Global Warming! We are now working on remedies to avert even greater disasters in the future. We have to do something or else this world as we know it will come to an end. World leaders and prominent people warn us that global warming will be a greater threat to humanity than terrorism, famines, wars etc.
As a result, laws are being proposed in many places to curb global warming by simply changing and reducing emission standards for cars and industrial plants. This is nothing new since treaties have been made and Earth Summits have been held to address the many problems we have upon ourselves. The most widely known such treaty was the Kyoto Protocol in 1998. The details within required industrial nations to reduce emissions by about 35 percent within ten years. Then President Bill Clinton did not even send the treaty for ratification to the U.S. Senate, but the Senate voted in a resolution not to adopt the Kyoto Protocol by a vote of 98 to 0.
Two years later, President George W. Bush did not pursue the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, in fact, he openly denounced it in that it was in his opinion very detrimental and punishing to American industrial output and he feared an economic depression in the United States. He recognized the inadequacy of the treaty in that countries with large populations such as China, India, Indonesia and others were excluded from it. He has since pursued another treaty where all nations are included. For his position on Kyoto though, he has been criticized worldwide and in many corners, especially in Europe, he is now considered the main culprit and therefore the cause for global warming. Yes, changes in weather patterns resulting in heat waves; floods and melting glaciers in the Alps in Europe are now blamed quite openly on President Bush. What an incredible development and easy excuse for his critics and political enemies.
All this should not be news for anybody who is reading this, we are hearing and reading this almost every day in the media. Anybody critical of those who now call if not demand action to stem global warming and the destruction of this planet of ours are ignored and lambasted for being ignorant. They even get compared to those individuals who believed years ago in the Flat-Earth theory. But does that mean that all the facts about global warming are really known by everybody? We do not think so! This is our attempt to bring a larger understanding of all issues on this subject into the open so that everybody can start thinking for him/herself.
Let us begin with some fundamentals:
- The atmosphere of planet Earth is a layer of gases surrounding it and retained by Earth’s gravity. We call it Air and it contains roughly 78 % nitrogen, 21 % oxygen, less then one percent of argon, 0.04 % carbon dioxide (CO2) and a few other gases in very small amounts. The atmosphere protects life on Earth by absorbing ultraviolet solar radiation and reducing temperatures between day and night. While the atmosphere has no abrupt cut-off, it becomes thinner and fades away into space.
- When it comes to the thickness of the atmosphere, it is a known fact that over 99% of the atmosphere by mass is below 100 kilometers. The dry composition of the atmosphere is 6780840 ppmv (parts per million of volume) Nitrogen, 209,460 ppmv Oxygen, 9340 ppmv Argon and 381 ppmv Carbon Dioxide. (source of this data comes from NASA).
- Carbon Dioxide is in itself a benign and essential substance on Earth, without it, plants would not grow and without plant-life animals could not live. Any increase of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere causes plants, trees, and forests to grow more abundantly.
- It is a recorded fact that the Earth’s average near surface atmospheric temperature rose 1.1 degree Fahrenheit in the 20th Century. What is interesting though is the fact that from the early 1940’s to about 1975, coal-fired plants emitted fumes with great abandon in many countries around the globe, yet during that time period Earth cooled slightly. In recent years, many of these plants have been modernized and are no longer emitting these huge volumes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
- Nobody will deny that the Sun plays a part in our temperatures on Earth. It is however a little known fact there is an eleven-year sunspot cycle. When the Sun is more active the Earth is warmer and vice versa. To suggest that changes in solar radiation could have a not insignificant effect on our planets climate appears therefore not unreasonable, if not even logical and obvious. Yet most scientists have dismissed any such evidence as coincidental and not contributory to climate changes.
- The atmosphere contains approximately 1,800 billion tons of carbon dioxide and by far the greatest contributor is water vapor from the oceans, lakes and rivers as well as output from volcanoes and the natural functioning of the biosphere. The human activity produced gases amount to less than 2% to the gases that nature puts out without human involvement.
The data above comes in part from a fascinating book authored by James P. Hogan in 2004 called ‘Kicking the Sacred Cow’. In Section Five, he addresses issues relating to Global Warming in great detail with charts and graphs and it can be highly recommended to all who would like to learn more about this and other topics.
So, what can we conclude from the above? Are we humans really the sole culprits when it comes to Climate Change and Global Warming? If we did away with automobiles and fossil fuel or coal fired power plants tomorrow, would the Earth cool and the threat of Global Warming thereby be averted?
Common Sense should tell us that that would NOT be the case but we can never prove it. Human caused Carbon Dioxide emissions into the atmosphere cannot reasonably be expected to be the sole culprit. There are so many things that we do not control on this planet no matter how hard we try. Weather patterns including hurricanes, earthquakes (some of them causing tsunamis) are still outside of our control as far as we are concerned.
Is it therefore fair for the environmental doomsayers, catastrophy forecasters and crisis developers to be the only ones correct or can they be challenged without facing being ridiculed and lambasted by them? We think not and would like to exercise our right to think for ourselves.
Before we, the people, take drastic steps through the passing of laws to enforce tough CO2 emission standards on industry and all of us automobile/truck owners, should there not be a serious attempt at disclosing and sharing the full truth when it comes to global warming with us all instead of coercion through fear mongering and imposition.
This article and others on Back to Common Sense are designed to provoke further thought and investigation. It is not the intent for the articles to be politically biased. Sources are referenced in each article to encourage readers to delve into the supporting material. We welcome all readers to participate with their point of view either in support or contrary with additional information sources.