CLIMATE CHANGE
Are YOU concerned?

 

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updated
22/Nov/04
 


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Is it Our Fault?

 

Some people say that climate cycles have always existed, that the climate may be changing anyway and that there is no proof that our greenhouse gas emissions contribute to this. Some arguments against this are: 

  • Not only has the consensus of climate researchers been consistently building, but the seriousness of the future effects due to greenhouse gases have kept being revised in an upwards direction.
     

  • Our fuel burning, industrial and deforestation activities during the last 100 years have increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by around 30% and methane by 100%. We are adding CO2 at 6-7bn tonnes per year. We know that greenhouse gases insulate heat like a blanket – it is reasonable to believe that this rapid addition is likely to have a substantial effect – we should expect consequences!

    The potential changes are on a much greater scale than, for example, the "medieval warm period" or the "mini-ice age" in the seventeenth century – we just haven’t seen all the effects feed through yet.
     

  • There are now 12 times as many people in the world than 300 years ago. On top of that, each of us in industrialised countries is consuming vastly more energy and therefore creating many times the greenhouse gas than an individual alive at that time. We shouldn't expect to be able to seriously modify the Earth's systems to this extent without something having to give.
     

  • Another cause of warming is variations in the "solar wind" from the sun; however researchers have concluded that the amount of warming seen in recent decades cannot be accounted for by solar activity alone - greenhouse gas emissions fit the pattern.
     

  • The lack of cause-and-effect proof is no reason not to strive to reduce emissions. To fail to act is to take an enormous gamble with the wellbeing of others and of future generations, or at worst, with life on Earth. It is too convenient to deny the problem so that we can continue our current lifestyles involving un-moderated energy consumption. There may never be proof.