For years, the debate over whether global warming is a hoax has been raging, with distrust and strong emotions often blocking the better judgement of rational discourse. While one camp claims global warming is real and will happen sooner rather than later, the other resists any indication of its validity and instead chooses to believe it is a perpetuated conspiracy. It’s easy to get lost in this whirlwind of varying opinions and perspectives, especially considering the opposing factions need to be respected and heard. In order to responsibly address this oft-controversial subject, it is essential to take an unbiased and analytical look at the facts.
Those who argue that global warming is a fraud often point to the cooling period starting in 1998 and focus on the recent decline in global temperatures as a manifestation of a naturally changing climate. Additionally, they cite the somewhat ambiguous nature of data and the idea of media hype to cast doubts on the increasing temperatures that have been recorded. It has even been suggested that the whole thing is an elitist invention, rooted in the capitalist society’s thirst for energy.
However, most scientists and experts in this field counter by pointing to the growing evidence that the outcomes of increased emissions of gases- including carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide – trap heat which would otherwise radiate from the Earth’s surface into space. This process, otherwise known as the “greenhouse effect”, is largely seen as the leading factor in global warming. There is also considerable data to indicate that greenhouse gas emissions have been steadily increasing and are now at record levels. In addition, rising sea levels, frequent extreme weather systems and reductions in glaciers, snow and ice cover are all documented evidence of the enormous strain that our current lifestyle is having on the world’s climate.
It seems that the case for the existence of global warming is made; it is no longer seen as a matter of doubt by the majority of climate scientists and many prestigious scientific organizations. As their research shows, long-term temperatures have been steadily increasing and extreme weather systems have become more common. Unfortunately, this data is not strictly scientific, yet it is an undeniable truth that people around the world are feeling the effects of global warming. Few can deny the reality of rapid climate change, which is becoming increasingly visible by the day.
Seeing that global warming is both a reality and a potential danger, it should be obvious that something must be done to halt it, for our environment’s future. Politicians, world leaders, corporations and, most importantly, individuals need to all be held accountable for their own part in the crisis. While small changes in personal habits can be important and make a difference at the individual level, it will take much more drastic and concerted action for us to truly curb the anthropogenic impact on the global climate. It is our collective responsibility to make sure these drastic changes occur.
Despite the heated nature of the debate, it has its own kind of importance. While it is essential to draw attention to the reality of global warming, it is equally essential to consider the nuances of the claim and investigate both sides. It is only after thorough consideration and intelligent discourse that we can realize whether the phenomenon of global warming truly exists or is indeed a hoax. This is no easy issue and it cannot be solved overnight; we must look at the associated facts and come up with long-term strategies that will ensure our children and their children have a healthy environment to live in.