Global Warming Debate Gets Heated August 1st, 2010
You might want to recheck your ticket before jumping on that “green technology” train. According to some scientists, the public needs to take a step back and look at the anthropogenic global warming (AGW) threat under a different light before taking it at face value. For many corporations and organizations, the green movement is a welcome change, providing a wealth of lucrative business opportunities. In fact, certain leading advocates of the AGW theory have stumbled upon substantial profits from the transition to green technology, including Al Gore, which is disconcerting to many. A number of companies focusing on green products have also entered the market recently due to the upsurge of consumers joining the green movement. However, the reality of effectively mitigating global warming, as pressured by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climate researchers, may be economically overwhelming and unwise. Though these claims are broadcasted by a comparatively small number of scientists, their findings cannot be easily dismissed.
Opponents of the human global warming threat cite major anomalies within the IPCC’s research methods and measurement systems. According to broadcast meteorologist, Anthony Watts, data found by weather stations are often found through incompetent resources and strewed systems. The IPCC has projected a global temperature rise of one degree Celsius by 2030, yet a number of their reporting stations have been contaminated by the “urban heat island effect,” close-capacity heat sources, or relocation. In contrast to IPCC results, satellite data has shown almost no warming since 1979. The IPCC has not responded to this discrepancy in findings, yet refute that their studies may be taken out of context. Skeptics also point out that a number of scientists have falsified or exaggerated reports, and are appealing to the Justice Department to investigate the matter further.
Given that there is a consensus among the scientific community about the legitimacy of human-induced global warming, critics argue that a biased scientific agenda is being engaged by the media. Organizations such as the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the IPCC are claimed to have “cherry-picked” data to support their original hypotheses of impending AGW. The WWF has stated that the negative effects of climate change will lead to the destruction of the Amazon rain forest, yet only cited one study that, in actuality, more heavily blamed logging and burning.
Unfortunately, there have been other prominent scientists who have skewed their analysis, inevitably tainting the reports of the IPCC, which relies on the honesty of its contributing researchers. Specifically, Saudi Arabia attempted to alter its findings in order to promote their preconceived ideas about climate change, leading to a retroactive statement by the IPCC in 2001. To add to the growing controversy over the validity of AGW warnings, the House of Lords Economics Committee in Britain wrote in 2005 that they expressed concern “with some of its emissions scenarios and summary documentation apparently influenced by political considerations.”
The objectivity of the scientific community with respect to the AGW theory has come into question not only due to the inaccuracy of certain studies and reporting methods, but also because of the political influences within the green movement. Often, it is a debate between two approaches, one stressing mitigation and the other favoring adaptation, which would help prepare the country for the effects of global warming rather than prevent it.
Undeniably, business interests and political ambitions have come into play, determining the success of multi-trillion dollar efforts against AGW. Now, some in the scientific community are fighting back and establishing avenues to debunk critics of the threat. According to the Washington Times article, “Climate Scientists to Fight Back at Skeptics,” a group of advocates plan to establish an organization to place newspaper advertisements to bring awareness to the impending environmental threat. Because of the political back-and-forth, many are considering whether or not the AGW movement is a “manufactured crisis.”
From an economics standpoint, another factor in the AGW debate is the cost-benefits analysis of mitigation efforts. Creating technology to reduce CO2 and implementing that technology will, indisputably, be a costly endeavor, and skeptics wonder if it is all even necessary. In a post-recession economy, environmental legislation has taken a back-burner to issues such as healthcare and job creation, so special attention will be paid to careful government spending.
In the coming 3-5 years, both advocates and opponents will struggle more intensely to win over the population and keep their agendas on the radar. The health of the global economy may have a larger effect than expected on the sway of legislation in the AGW debate, and there will only be a growing number of politicians, celebrities, and companies throwing in their views on the green issue.
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