Sometimes I blog about the infintely-hot Big Bang or the universe’s predicted demise, ‘The Big Freeze.’ Sometimes I wonder of the regional warming of our planet, which affects global average temperatures, is just balancing out some other forces. Actually, it is – and we are the additional input in this equation.
Our roots have been forged in fire since the dawn of humankind. We burn things for energy – it is in our nature. Until we transcend this behavior with smarter energy sources, we will continue burning the planet’s resources. And this does affect the planet: In 2007, the International Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) released their landmark findings that warming occurred regionally on the planet, in areas characterized with more industrial activity. It makes sense. More activity means more vehicles and machinery generating emissions. With the knowledge that certain gases in the emissions contribute to the greenhouse effect, more stringent emission control measures were implemented.
The media ran with ‘greenhouse gases,’ but this idea is flawed: Carbon dioxide, on a scale of 0 to 100, has a global contributing factor of just 1. In large amounts, it can contribute to the greenhouse effect. And we have isotopic fingerprints of atmospheric carbon that correlate to increased carbon dioxide, starting near the beginning of the industrial age in the 1850s. Its signature matched coal and oil. In short, we have enough evidence to conclude that human activity has contributed to average global rising temperatures (about 0.6 degrees).
Nevertheless, skeptics argue against ‘global warming.’ There are natural forces at play that contribute to cycles of global cooling and warming. These forces change the global temperatures by changing the Earth’s position to the Sun, and are attributed to the history of Earth’s ice ages and warming periods. We are currently in a natural warming period, as human civilization rose after the ice receded from the last ice age.
But skeptics can turn around. A true skeptic should analyze the data and make a conclusion rather than disregard data based on one’s bias from belief/disbelief systems. This is exactly why skeptic scientists at University of California Berkley did. In 2011, they did a comprehensive study, scrutinizing every data point to resolve problems from earlier studies. They also added more data points and showed that the correlation between global mean temperatures and rising carbon dioxide were statistically significant. This is the nail in the coffin for arguments against humanity’s contribution. They also warned not to misinterpret the data, because association does not prove a cause.
Skeptics still continue to this day, even though we can prove that carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect, increases from human activity, and correlates to the rising temperatures. In a report today (realnews24.com/who-are-the-deniers-now-record-ice-growth-in-2013/), a skeptical author feeling lambasted by the scientific community and media hits back. And asks why the media is so one-sided about it’s coverage. As it turns out, some ice sheets in 2013 are not melting at all – they’re gaining! A graph shows a year-to-year comparison of ice sheets melting and gaining (image credit: climatedepot.com/). The 2013 measurement set a record for gains.
In conclusion, it is ok to be skeptical in order to find new information. For example, we can not say that carbon dioxide causes global climate change. Yet, that’s exactly what everyone does. And it’s leading us down the wrong path. There’s a very basic chemistry equation that’s been ignored. In combustion, carbon dioxide, heat, and water are always produced, no matter what is burned. The part that we are ignoring is the heat of reaction. If the heat affects the regional warming that has been proven, we may have a cause. And that means curbing carbon emissions isn’t the answer – we would have to produce less heat (i.e. burn less fuel). Not an easy task. This is why it’s more convenient (and perhaps profitable) to use carbon as the scapegoat while we just keep prolonging the problem. Nevertheless, the Earth has it’s own regulating mechanisms which are poorly understood. The planet goes through its own cycles, and regionally may undergo further cycles as represented by the ice sheet fluctuations. Human activity has affected global patterns by regional warming, but don’t count out the skeptics. Look for them to help provide more useful information that might lead to a better understanding of the planet’s cycles. Please don’t let the media do the thinking for you!
– Change your perception, change your universe.