Climate change – the planet really is getting warmer. Are we to blame?

The summer of 2021 barely began when the northwestern United States and southwestern Canada hit record high temperatures. During the four days of June 23 – 28, Portland, Oregon registered a record-breaking high of 116 degrees Fahrenheit. During the same timeframe, the Pacific coastal Quillayute region in Washington State registered 110 degrees Fahrenheit – 45 degrees above average. On June 29, the temperature in Lytton, British Columbia in Canada reached 121 degrees – four degrees higher than the recorded high for Las Vegas, Nevada. (Astounding heat obliterates all-time records across the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada in June 2021)

Climate scientists report that since 1880, global temperature averages increased by 2.2 degrees Fahrenheit. Furthermore, more than 90% of climate scientists (many place the consensus as high as 97%) agree that the climate is getting warmer and human activity is the contributor.

People are becoming concerned

The Peoples’ Climate Vote Survey conducted by the University of Oxford in 2020 brought several interesting statistics to light:

  • 64% of respondents identified climate change as an emergency
  • 59% indicated the belief that urgent action should be taken to address the crisis
  • 20% thought the world ought to move slowly in response to climate change
  • 10% said the world is already taking all action necessary to combat the emergency.

More than 50% of respondents said that policies should be enacted that would revolve around the conservation of forests and lands; solar, wind, and renewable power; climate-friendly farming techniques; and investment in green business. The survey, dispersed by the unusual method of asking questions on mobile game apps, was answered by 12 million people in 50 countries.

And yet, doubt remains

Scientific evidence and public opinion aside, skepticism persists as to just how accurate a picture is made by climate scientists. Prominent laypersons questioning global warming include Donald Trump, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin.

Climate change arguments

According to the article “History of Climate Change Debate” some of the arguments used to refute the evidence that human activity is causing climate change include:

  • Argument: Human activity resulting in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere is minimal and doesn’t significantly cause climate change. Counter-argument: Commonly run experiments with a cylinder filled with carbon dioxide and warmed by the sun stayed warmer longer than a cylinder filled with normal air. Also, while carbon dioxide makes up a mere 0.04% of the atmosphere, it’s still an influential greenhouse gas.
  • Argument: The Earth can absorb whatever impacts greenhouse gases are making. Counter-argument: Extreme weather events such as record high temperatures and strong storms are happening and are predicted to happen with greater frequency from humanity’s activities which cause climate change.
  • Argument: Modern-day warming of the Earth results from solar activity – fluctuations in the temperature of the sun and from ocean currents. Counter-argument: Recorded satellite data since 1978 on the amount of solar energy affecting the Earth show no uptick of activity.
  • Argument: Global measurements made by climate scientists are based on questionable climate models and science. Counter-argument: The models come from teams of scientists worldwide and are repeatedly tested to ensure they accurately reflect the state of the climate, even after major climatic events such as volcanic activity.

So where do all the arguments against climate change arise? According to many, the fossil fuel industry exploits them to create division and confusion over the issue. Five of the world’s biggest publicly owned oil and gas companies spend about $200 million US every year lobbying for the delay or blocking of climate policy.

Now, considering the controversy and what you see around you, where do you stand on the issue of global warming? Tell me in the comments below.

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