Global Warming–Truth or Myth: Two Sides to Every Story Summer 2010 Part I (Thesis): Global Warming: A Natural Occurrence There are always two sides to every story and every different point of view has a right to be heard. When it comes to the discussion of global warming—a gradual increase in the earth’s surface temperature—there are two very distinct and opposing points of view. The world seems to be split between global warming being caused by humans and it being a natural occurrence; the latter being the viewpoint that I strongly support due to the evidence I will present in detailin this paper.
In contrast, I will also discuss, in Part II, the “anti-thesis” or the opposing viewpoint that humans are actually the cause of thisglobal warming phenomenon. Finally, in Part III of my paper, I will synthesize both viewpoints and discuss in great depth through much evidence as to why I believe global warming to be a natural occurrence that has happened and will continue to happen at different periods of time until the end of days. The first reason is that global warming comes and goes. The earth naturally heats up and cools down. Thirty years ago, we thought the biggest threat was global cooling and now the biggest threat is global warming.
Throughout history, there have been numerous cooling and warming periods and we are now going through one of those natural warming periods, which have reached the warming levels of the Medieval Warming Period our ancestors experienced in the past, which I will explain in more detail later in this paper. The cycle of global warming and cooling has been happening long before humans have occupied the Earth and will continue to happen long after we are gone; it is a nature cycle that cannot be broken. The second reason why global warming is a natural occurrence is because the sun is what warms the earth.
When the sun gets hotter, it makes sense that we get hotter too and this goes vice versa. If the sun is cooler, we get cooler. The sun has several cycles and the main one we see is the 11-year cycle, which I will explain, in greater detail in the synthesis portion of this paper. When the sun gets hotter there are more rays heating the earth, so the earth gets hotter. If we are so positive that global warming is a man-made problem, explain why Mars is also warming at the same pace as the earth is. Like Earth, Mars has also experienced warming and cooling periods throughout its history.
The changes in the sun’s heat output can account for almost all the climate changes we see on Earth and Mars; manmade greenhouse warming has made only a small contribution to the warming happening on Earth. The third reason why global warming is a natural occurrence is that manmade CO2 is not the main source of CO2 in the atmosphere. Again, this very interesting and intriguing fact will be furtherexplained later in this paper. I believe this will surprise you, once you read the facts regarding the sources of CO2; these factors were a highly significant reason that led me to oppose humans being the actual cause of global warming.
In fact, the largest source of CO2 is the ocean (Broadgate, W. , et. al. , 2009). We only contribute 3. 5% of all CO2 in the atmosphere, while the other 96. 5% is released by natural sources. Therefore, as you see, the contribution of human made CO2 is very insignificant and has very little effect on global warming. In the end, you should be able to understand why global warming is not the result of mankind abusing the Earth, and that it is, in fact, a natural cycle that has been repeated throughout history. Global Warming comes and goes. The earth naturally heats up and cools down.
Right now, we are going through a natural warming cycle, which will soon befollowed by a cooling cycle. The sun is always going to control how hot and how cool it is on the earth. Scientists need to consider this; if the sun is hotter, we experience hotter temperatures; and when the sun is cooler, we experience cooler temperatures. Global warming is also not being sped up by the carbon dioxide burned into the atmosphere by humans. We only contribute 3. 5% of all CO2 in the atmosphere, while the other 96. 5% is released by natural sources.
There is no denying that global warming exists. Global warming is, unfortunately, a fact of our lives as humans, but humankind is simply not the cause. It is a natural occurrence and will continue to happen even after we are gone from the earth’s surface. Part II (Anti-Thesis): Global Warming: Caused By Humans Every year the average American produces over 22 metric tons of CO2 living a normal life (“What is Carbon Neutrality,” 2008); and the United States as a whole produces 6,049,435 metric tons of CO2 yearly (“List of Countries by CO2 Emissions,” 2010).
This disturbing figure is the main cause of global warming and we have yet to take responsibility for our actions. There are many different theories of what has caused global warming and the answer is mankind. Humans are the cause of global warming because of pollution, over population, and deforestation. The first reason humans are the cause of global warming is because of pollution. Pollution is one of the biggest manmade causes of global warming and it comes in many shapes and sizes. The burning fossil fuel is one thing that causes pollution.
Fossil fuels are a non-renewable source of energy, such as coal, oil and natural gas and when they are burned they give off a greenhouse gas called CO2 (Chughtai, 2008). We as humans release CO2 from power plants, cars, airplanes, and buildings. About 40% of U. S. CO2 emissions stem from the burning of fossil fuels for the purpose of electricity generation; about 33% of US CO2 emissions comes from the burning of gasoline in engines of cars; about 3. 5% of CO2 emissions comes from planes, and this figure could rise to 15% by 2050; while, buildings structure account for about 12% of carbon dioxide emissions (Chughtai, 2008).
While CO2 is the major greenhouse gas, methane is second most important; methane is more than 20 times as effective as CO2 at trapping heat in the atmosphere (“Methane,” 2008). Mining coal and oil allows methane to escape. Methane is naturally in the ground. When coal or oil is mined, it has to be dug up from earth and when this is process is completed, you release the methane letting it escape into the atmosphere. With the increasing amounts of CO2, methane and other greenhouse gases we emit into the atmosphere, humans are causing the intensification of the greenhouse effect known as global warming.
The second reason why humans are the cause of global warming is because of over population. More people meanmore food, more methods of transportation, more power plants, and more buildings. That means more methane and CO2 will be emitted into the atmosphere because there will be more burning of fossil fuels and more agriculture. Another source of methane is from manure. Since more food is needed to feed the rapidly growing population, we will have to raise food. Animals like cows are a good source of food, which means more manure and more methane emissions.
We will also have to plant more crops to grow more food and plants release CO2 into the atmosphere as well. Another problem with the increasing population is transportation; more people mean more cars and more cars means more pollution. Lastly, over population causes city growth, which also admits CO2 into the atmosphere adding to the pollution. The third reason why humans are the cause of global warming isdeforestation. Deforestation is the second principle cause of atrophic CO2 and is responsible for 25-30% of all CO2 — 1. 6 billion tons — emission into the atmosphere (“Deforestation Causes Global Warming,” 2006).
This is done by burning and cutting down 34 million arches of trees a year. Scientists are saying that one day of deforestation is equivalent to the carbon footprint of 8 million people flying to New York. Each year we are losing millions of acres of rainforests, the equivalent in area to the size of The United Kingdom (Specter, 2008). Trees are 50% carbon and when they are cut down or burned, the CO2they store escapes back into the air. The destroying of tropical forests alone is throwing hundreds of millions of tons of CO2 into the atmosphere every year.
Two billion tons of CO2 enters the atmosphere every year from deforestation and the remaining standing forests still emit a billion tons of CO2 a year (Specter, 2008). If we keep losing our forests at this rate, we will ultimately lose the battle against climate change. In conclusion, humans are the cause of global warming because of pollution, over population and deforestation. Global warming is a result of our human activity, not natural causes. Pollution, over population and deforestation all add to the large amounts of CO2 being emitted into the atmosphere, which is increasing the rate of global warming.
If we want to put an end to this global problem, we as a human race must limit our pollution, gain control of our population, and stop deforestation. If these three factors do not change, we will ultimately loose the battle of climate change. Part III: Synthesis – Global Warming: A Natural Occurrence I believe that global warming is happening due to natural causes, but I did not always feel this way. Two years ago, I took an English class and as an assignment, we had to do a debate. I missed the day that we were assigned our topics and I received the topic that global warming was happing due to natural causes.
At the time, I did not agree, but after doing weeks of research, I changed my mind about global warming. Global Warming is a reoccurring phenomenon that has occurred throughout history since the beginning of time and will continue until the end of time. In fact, as I previously stated, we experienced a warming period during the Medieval Warm Period around 1100 AD when Vikings settled into Greenland and instead of the ice covered land, which fills Greenland’s vast territory today, it used to be green and the perfect place to grow crops (Keigwin, L. D. , 1996).
In fact, grapes suitable for winemaking were also reported growing in England (1996); and the tree line in Scandinavia was 100–200 m higher than present (1996). This warming period was followed by a cooling period called the “Little Ice Age” from 1400 to 1850 AD that brought severe winters and cold summers to Europe (1996). Today we are enjoying global temperatures, which have warmed back to levels of the Medieval Warm Period; this means there is an ice age in our near future. The second premise that leads me to believe that global warming is a natural occurrence is the sun heating the earth.
The sun is always going to control how hot and how cool it is on the earth. Scientists need to consider this. If the sun is hotter, we experience hotter temperatures; and when the sun is cooler, we experience cooler temperatures. The sun has several cycles and the main one we see is the 11-year cycle. “Every 11 years, the sun moves through a period of fewer, smaller sunspots, prominences, and flares – called a solar minimum – and a period of more, larger sunspots, prominences and flares – called a solar maximum” (“11 Year Cycle of Solar Storms Will Peak in Late 2011,” 2009).
Right now we are currently at the minimum of this cycle, so the sun is in the process of increasing its heat output and we will experience a peak of heat in 2012 (“11 Year Cycle of Solar Storms Will Peak in Late 2011,” 2009). “In 2005 data from NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and Odyssey missions revealed that the carbon dioxide “ice caps” near Mars’s south pole had been diminishing for three summers in a row” (Ravilious, K. , 2007). The most important greenhouse gas is water vapor, which makes up 95% of the world’s greenhouse gases.
Without this amount of water vapor, the Earth would be too cold and no one could survive. Out of the other 5%, CO2 only makes up . 054% and 96. 5% of this . 054% are from natural sources, and mankind is responsible for only 3. 5% (Broadgate, W. , et. al. , 2009). A single volcano eruption emits more CO2 than all factories and manmade machinery. Moreover, animals and decaying vegetation gives off more 150 giga-tons of CO2 each year, while humans produce about 6. 5 giga-tons of CO2 a year (Broadgate, W. , et. al. , 2009). The largest source of CO2 is the ocean. As the ocean heats up it ives off CO2 into the atmosphere and when it cools down, it absorbs CO2 from the atmosphere (2009). Since the Sun is getting hotter is gradually heating the Earth, the oceans are getting hotter thus letting out more CO2. The contribution of human made CO2 is very insignificant and can barely have an effect on global warming. In the end, you should be able to understand why global warming is not the result of mankind abusing the Earth, and that it is, in fact, a natural cycle that has been repeated throughout history. Global Warming comes and goes. The earth naturally heats up and cools down.
Right now,we are going through a natural warming cycle, which will soon be followed by a cooling cycle. The sun is always going to control how hot and how cool it is on the earth. Scientists need to consider this. If the sun is hotter, we experience hotter temperatures; and when the sun is cooler, we experience cooler temperatures. Global warming is also not sped up by the carbon dioxide burned into the atmosphere by humans. We only contribute 3. 5% of all CO2 in the atmosphere, while the other 96. 5% is released by natural sources. There is no denying that global warming exists.
It is a fact of our lives as humans, but mankind is not the cause of it. It is a natural occurrence that will continue to happen even after we are long gone from the earth’s surface. References 11 Year Cycle of Solar Storms Will Peak in Late 2011. (2009, December 3). The Student Operated Press (_The SOP_). Retrieved February 26, 2010, from http://thesop. org/story/science/2007/04/27/the-next-11-year-cycle-of-solar-storms-will-start-in-march-and-peak-in-late-2011. php Broadgate, W. , Caldeira, K. , Fabry. V. , Gattuso, J. P. , Haugan, Hood, M. , et al. (2009).
Research Priorities for Ocean Acidification, report from the Second Symposium on the Ocean in a High-CO2 World, Monaco, October 6-9, 2008, convened by SCOR, UNESCO-IOC, IAEA, and IGBP, 25 pp. Retrieved February 27, 2010 from http://ioc3. unesco. org/oanet/HighCO2World. html Chughtai, O. (2008, November 2). Fossil fuels. Retrieved February 27, 2010, from http://www. umich. edu/~gs265/society/fossilfuels. htm Keigwin, L. D. (29 November 1996). The Little Ice Age and Medieval Warm Period in the Sargasso Sea. Science 274 (5292), 1503. [DOI:10. 1126/science. 274. 5292. 1503].