UPDATE: Okay, so climate change is a huge issue to tackle for an amateur factologist such as myself. I have decided that my original article was poorly informed. Originally written in 2009, over the past seven years I’ve changed my opinion on the matter, and much of this article is no longer valid.
I’ll come right out and say it:
I am not at all worried about global warming. I don’t believe it’s a crisis, or even a concern. The current state of fear and sense of impending doom has been nurtured by the media, who are just trying to sell newspapers. I don’t deny that the global temperatures are rising, but it’s not a problem. Here’s some hype-free facts about climate change…
The leading cause of global warming is the sun. The giver of all life. Obviously, it has the biggest impact on everything here on earth. Like most humongous balls of burning gas, it’s not a static thing. It moves, it changes. A scientific paper form March 2008 determined that 62% of temperature change has been the result of the sun, caused by short-term fluctuations and long-term solar cycles.
The earth also has its cycles. In the time of the dinosaurs, carbon dioxide levels were 2 to 4 times higher than they are now, but things have cooled off a few times since then. About 125,000 years ago, at the peak before the most recent ice age, global temperatures were much higher, and the sea level was 20 feet above current levels. Still, things froze up yet again.
We only really started keeping track of temperatures around 1850. Studies of Greenland ice cores, which offer a timeline of weather going back a few millennia, indicate that the northern hemisphere circa mid 1800s was the coldest period in about 8,000 years. So the average temperatures would have nowhere to go but up. The point being, rising temperatures are not a crisis. We’re just on a natural upswing. (maybe true, but that upswing is slow and steady… unlike the dramatic change in temperatures since the 1940s)
In 2007 all the world heard reports about the University of Illinois study revealing that Arctic ice was at it’s lowest levels in 30 years. Nobody seemed to mention the bit in the same study that mentioned the Antarctic ice down south was at record highs.
I don’t understand why people love doom and gloom news stories so much, but I do hope I’ve encouraged you to take a peek beyond the hype. There are some serious environmental concerns we should be dealing with rather than fretting about the multi-millennial ebb and flow of climate cycles. (yes, such as the short term climate change on top of the long term cycles)
- Source: http://www.climatechangefacts.info/ (which does not reflect the scientific consensus)
For a complete visual summary of the long term temperature change, I suggest this chart from xckd.