Effects to Date
Is it Our Fault?
Facts & Figures
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:
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.
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.