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1 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE

Is Climate Change A Product Of Man? Brittany Garcia HSCI 120 Spring Quarter 2011

2 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE Abstract The release of greenhouse gases is said to be the number one contributing factor to climate change and these emissions are believed by many to have resulted from human actions. Liberals feel that this climate change is indeed a result of human behavior such as the great amount of fossil fuels that are being burned. Extremists of this side feel that this and nothing else is the absolute top concern and priority for the public health of the globe. However, conservatives believe that this climate change comes from a naturally heating and cooling process of the earth. Extremists on this side argue that there is no such thing as global warming and that it was created as a way for political machines to make it seem as though they are taking a stand for their people on an important issue and to collect government funding.

3 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE Is Climate Change A Product Of Man? Introduction Human activities release many greenhouse gases including carbondioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide. These chemicals trap heat in the Earths atmosphere which contribute to global warming, loss of sea ice, glacier retreat, more intense heat waves, stronger hurricanes, and more droughts (procon.org). According to NASA, average temperatures have increased 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit around the globe since 1880. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on climate change also states that 11 of the last 12 years are among the warmest years since 1850. This warming has lead to glacier and mountain snow to melt more rapidly. An example of this can be seen in Montanas Glacier National Park which had 27 glaciers as opposed to the 150 that it once had in 1910 (National Geographic). On the Left Liberals believe that climate change is a direct result of the actions of humans in that 75% of the 20th century increases in green house gas comes from our burning of fossil fuels (NASA, 2010). They say that these green house gases will only continue to pile up because they cannot be absorbed properly, and this has been shown in a study done in 2009 showing that 50% of the CO2 that is produced by humans is still in the atmosphere. They argue that climate change has been researched and confirmed through a number of accredited organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), the European Science Foundation (ESF), the European Space Agency (ESA), and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Liberals also state that any studies that say humans are not responsible for the cause of climate change are organizations that are funded by petroleum companies. One such example of this was in

4 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE 2004 when ExxonMobil gave $2.2 million to organizations that agreed to deny human impact of the climate change. There have also been studies that suggest that climate change is not due to the increase of radiation waves from the sun since the lower atmosphere is the layer that is warming up and the upper atmosphere is cooling down. On the more extreme approach from this side, Liberals have began to spread a panic or exaggerate climate change results by saying that the end of the world is near due to the drastic weather changes and increase in natural disasters such as the earthquakes and tsunamis in Japan. One California congresswoman believes that global warming is the greatest health threat of the 21st century and even went as far to say that makes climate change a bigger public health problem than AIDS, than malaria, than pandemic flu. On the Right Conservatives on the other side believe that this climate change is due to a natural change. Just as there were fossil fuel emissions that caused the earth to freeze, the same thing is happening now except the earth is heating up. They argue that the increase in temperature is still within the range of +/- 5 degrees F that has been seen through fluctuations over the past 3,000 years. They also state that the increase of the presence of CO2 levels is not a cause of global warming but a result of it. Conservatives also counter stating that the warming and cooling of the earth is due to changes is the suns heat; that minor green house gases cannot have that drastic of an impact on the planet. They also feel that proposals of ideas that suggest that climate change may be something that occurs naturally are rejected in order to keep the incoming flow of federal grant money. Researchers who hope to explain this phenomenon

5 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE based on natural causation do not receive much money as opposed to those who attribute it to human behavior. Since 1998-2009, $25 billion have been given to organizations that base their research on explaining climate change from human actions (procon.org). On the more extreme side, conservatives have said that global warming does not exist, stating that instead of reaching for a fan, the hippies reach for an argument, coming up with a bogus terms called global warming (Frank, 2008). These people believe that the melting of glaciers is much like leaving a cube out in the openeventually it melts. People who share these views also attribute peoples growing concern of global warming to Al Gores film, saying that only movies capture peoples attention since the concept of global warming has been around for a long time. Other extremists believe that the concept of global warming is just a hoax. One major spokesperson who felt this way was John Coleman, who is the founder of the weather channel. He stated that Global warming; it is a SCAM. Some dastardly scientists with environmental and political motives manipulated long term scientific data to create an illusion of rapid global warming (DAleo, 2007). Following his statements, emails began to come in which revealed that 90% of those who responded favored his opinion on the subject. Center After reading both sides of the argument, I believe that it is a combination of the two. The earth probably does go through some sort of cycle that we are unaware of and the presence of our new technologies and pollutants have started to impact this process as well. However, the fact is evident: there has been a drastic change in the climate. It is not so much important as to what actually caused this change but how we must handle it. Pointing fingers

6 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE and blame will not be beneficial to any given party or to society as a whole. In recent years there have been a number of initiatives set by government organizations such as the Environmental Protection Agency that attempt to raise awareness of this issue and minimize the effects of greenhouse gases. One of these initiatives is called Climate Leaders which is an industry-government partnership that works with companies to reduce their impact on the environment by setting recordable accomplishments and receiving recognition from the EPA. Another program that was created is called ENERGY STAR which is a labeling program meant to promote the use of energy-efficient products such as household appliances. Today more than 1,400 manufacturers use these products and have saved an estimated $10 billion in 2004 (EPA). A more recent group was created in February 2010 by President Obama called the Carbon Capture and Storage Integrating Task Force. Their mission is to develop a means of quick and effective deployment of clean coal technology. This plan is to be created in the next 10 years with a goal of bringing 5 to 10 commercial demonstration projects online by 2016 (EPA). The means to combat this issue are out there, now it is just a matter of regulating and enforcing these measures to allow these positive changes to emerge effectively. Many people forget that these types of programs already exist and that they do have a positive impact because all they hear are the negative effects of climate change, so that any good news is overshadowed. Like any new behavior or change, in order to see the benefits it takes time patience. Now what must be done is for more people to engage in these beneficial programs as they continue to be available.

7 Running head: CLIMATE CHANGE References DAleo, Joe (2007). Weather Channel Founder: Global Warming Greatest Scam in History. http://icecap.us/index.php/go/joes-blog/comments_about_global_warming/National Frank, Paul (2008). Global Warming Does Not Exist. Retrieved May 12, 2011. http://www.pointsincase.com/articles/global_warming_does_not_exist.htm Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), "Global Climate Change: Evidence -How Do We Know," www.climate.nasa.gov (accessed Apr. 26, 2010) Climate Change. Is human activity a substantial cause of global climate change? http://climatechange.procon.org/#background Environmental Protection Agency. Current and Near-Term Greenhouse Gas Reduction Initiatives. http://www.epa.gov/climatechange/policy/neartermghgreduction.html Global Warming Fast Facts (2007). National Geographic. Retrieved May 12, 2011. http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2004/12/1206_041206_global_warming.ht ml