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Global Warming: Man-Made or Not, Research Paper Example

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Research Paper

Scientific evidence clearly shows that the planet is getting warmer, but what exactly is the cause of this phenomenon is still controversial. Thus, whereas some scientists argue that global warming occurs as a direct effect of human activity, the newest research shows that it might be a natural phenomenon which takes place independently from humans’ actions.  The planet cyclically warmed up and cooled down in the past and the present climate change may only be the next cycle in this process. This new view, which comes to contradict the findings of many experts and even has the power to affect state policy in matter of climate change, is supported by strong scientific evidence and various researches has already been conducted to demonstrate it. There is no doubt that global warming could be a natural occurrence, though human activity on Earth and the pollution which increased dramatically in the past 150 years affects our lives as well.

While some skeptics believed for a long time that there is no global warming, scientists have been already able to demonstrate, without a doubt, that the torrid summers an mild winters from the past 15 years (Nordell 305), as well as the extreme weather which shocked humanity in the same period, are all undoubtedly caused by an ongoing process of climate change. As Bo Nordell argues, the planet has being warming up with approximately 0.4º C- 08º in the past century (305).  Also, in an Associated Press report on this issue, it is shown that scientists are very pessimistic regarding the development of the phenomenon in the future, saying that the global warming will continue regardless of humans’ efforts to  reduce pollution (The Associated Press).

Since global warming was first confirmed, many researchers have pointed the finger towards the rapid industrialization of the world and towards the lack of commitment of the states to an effective environmental policy.  In other words, many scientists argued and continued to do so, that global warming is man-made and urge countries to adopt strategies of reducing pollution in order to stop the greenhouse effect. For example, in a 1995 article from The Globe and Mail, it was clearly shown that global warming “is unlikely to be entirely due to natural causes” (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report, cited in the Globe and Mail). The article also shows that the Panel assembled to advise countries on climate change issues tried to establish strategies in order to decrease the greenhouse effect, which is most often cited as the main responsible for the increased temperatures and the consequential extreme weather.

Also, Nordell showed that thermal pollution might be causing global warming. He explained that thermal pollution is the “heat dissipation from the global use of nonrenewable energy” (306). The author further explained that through the global use of fossil energy and nuclear power, the Earth is receiving an additional heat of 0.02 W m-2. Another opinion, opposite to the first is that by reducing the fossil fuel emissions, the Earth would actually be warming up, instead of cooling down. T. Wigley tried to demonstrate this by showing that, when fossil fuel is burned, the atmosphere is enriched with carbon dioxide and sulphur dioxide and that the effect of the former of cooling down the atmosphere could offset the effect of the first (503).  However, the author also draws attention upon the fact that sulphur dioxide in itself is an added concern to the environmental well-being and that it should constitute a reason for controlling the use of fossil fuels (506). Even though, as shown above, there are major differences in these scientists’ findings concerning global warming, what should be noted is that they  have a similar opinion in this regard, namely, that man is able to influence the Earth’s climate and indeed, that they are doing so.

However, as it usually happens in scientific research, a growing number of researchers have begun to question the hypothesis of man-made global warming, thus giving birth to what has been called the global warming debate. For example, in an article, Fred Singer notes that, according to recent evidence, “human activities are not influencing the global climate in a perceptible way. Climate will continue to change, as it always has in the past, warming and cooling on different time scales and for different reasons, regardless of human action” (Singer 16).  Apparently, the Earth has been following a 1500 years cycle of warming and cooling down which might have taken place in the last 1,000, 0000 years, regardless of human activity.

The idea that the Earth might be following a natural cycle of warming is not new however. As early as 2001, researchers from the Ohio State University have tried to demonstrate that carbon dioxide released in the atmosphere, which is most often considered to be the sole responsible of global warming due to the greenhouse effect is not the cause of global warming, but on contrary, the rising temperatures may be the cause of the increasing levels of CO2 in the atmosphere (Ohio State University). These controversial results were obtained by the scientists by taking into consideration, as they claim, the huge quantity of carbon dioxide resulted in the atmosphere by natural processes, such as ocean water evaporation. This apparently causes much more carbon dioxide existent in nature to be released in nature than it is released due to human activities. In fact, researchers claim, 95% of the existing carbon dioxide is produced naturally, humans being responsible for 5% or less. In these conditions, humans cannot be responsible for global warming. Rather, Ohio State University claims, the global warming is a natural process and the rising levels of carbon dioxide is merely a sign that announcing that this process is taking place.

The fact that Earth might be warming up from natural causes is supported by scientific evidence. For example, studies were conducted to demonstrate that the global warming occurs due to natural processes such as variability related to ocean heat storage and internal energy exchange processes which are much mor likely to produce important effects than human activities(Kininnmonth 218). Also, another type of evidence is provided by Singer for example, claims that theoretically, if the greenhouse theory was true, the rate of warming should increase as the Tropics as one moves from rom the Earth surface higher in the atmosphere , which does not occur in reality (17). Actually, the opposite is true, with temperature recording a decrease in this region. The fact that the observed and predicted patterns of warming do not match indicates that the man-made greenhouse contribution to current temperature change is insignificant, the author says (Singer 17).

If this is true, it would mean that any policy that humans might apply in order to decrease the production of CO2 is irrelevant and would not have any impact on the ongoing global warming (Kininnmonth 231). However, Kininnmonth recommends that urgent measures should be taken so as to predict the future direction of climate change. Also, Singer claims that “natural causes of climate change, for their part, cannot be controlled by man. They are unstoppable”(17). He further states that global warming policies are not only pointless but also harmful due to the costs they imply.

The paper shows that there is an ongoing debate concerning global warming and that scientists have yet to come to a conclusion regarding this topic, even though climate change has been noticed since more than 20 years. Though scientists who believe in the theory that global warming is man-made come with strong evidence in their support, most recent research showed that climate change is most likely caused by natural processes and no human action could intensify or reduce the normal cycle of warming up and cooling down which is part of life on Earth.

Works Cited

Human Activity Indicated as Cause of Global Warming. Report Likely to Stimulate Debate on Extent of Environmental Change. The Globe and Mail. 1997, A9.1995. Web.

Kinninmonth, William. Climate Change- A Natural Hazard. Energy &Environment. 14.2. (2003):215-232.

Nordell, Bo. Thermal Pollution Causes Global Warming. Global and Planetary Change, 23, (2008):205-312.

Ohio State University. Global Warming Natural, May End Within 20 Years, Says Ohio State University Researcher. ScienceDaily, 15 Jun. 2001. Web. 25 Nov. 2012

Singer, Fred. Global Warming: Man-Made or Natural? USA Today. 136.2754. (2008):16-18.

Wigley, T. Could Reducing Fossil-Fuel Emissions Cause Global Warming? Nature, 349.(1991): 503-506.

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