Global Warming/Supporters and Opponents
The idea of Anthropogenic (human-caused) Global Warming (AGW) has several components:
- CO2 levels in the atmosphere are rising rapidly due to burning of carbon fuels, principally coal, oil, and gasses (methane, ethane, propane, butane).
- CO2, as a greenhouse gas, is causing heat trapping in the atmosphere, with resultant measured warming of air, oceans, and land, and melting of ice (polar caps, glaciers, and sea ice).
- CO2 dissolving in the oceans forms carbonic acid, making the global ocean more acidic and damaging corals, plankton, and all other life that depends on them.
- Melting ice threatens large rises in sea level, flooding entire mid-ocean island countries, half of Bangladesh, most of Florida, and so on.
- Global Warming will result in greater numbers of more intense storms, and longer and deeper droughts as evaporation increases, and ocean currents and wind patterns shift. Although more snow may fall in winter in some places, it will melt earlier and more quickly in spring, endangering summer water supplies and increasing the risk of floods.
- At some point, the Gulf Stream could turn off, reducing all of Europe to arctic and subarctic climate conditions.
- At some point, the undersea and under-permafrost methane clathrates could come boiling out into the atmosphere, greatly accelerating warming. Methane is a much more potent greenhouse gas than CO2.
- Although there is always some uncertainty in climate models, scientists have made conservative models, and the reality has several times turned out to be worse than the worst predictions.
- In order to avoid catastrophe, it is necessary to stop burning carbon fuels as much as practical. It has also been suggested, very controversially, that it may be necessary to do global climate engineering.
Opponents of AGW deny nearly all of this, claiming that all relevant measurements are fraudulent, that there is no evidence for any of the theories, that all scientists and politicians involved are lying, and that AGW is simply a conspiracy to destroy the US economy and government for nefarious purposes. These opponents call themselves Climate Change Skeptics, but the other side calls them Global Warming Deniers or Denialists, and points to evidence that many are paid by carbon fuel interests, while others are seizing on AGW as a means of demonizing political opponents on other issues such as social programs. AGW proponents call themselves realists, engaged in fact-based discussion, but the other side calls them alarmists, hoaxers, conspirators, and worse. We will use the more neutral words supporters and opponents.
- Former Vice President and Nobel Laureate Al Gore
- NASA global warming scientist James E. Hansen
- Sen. James Inhofe, R-OK
- Marc Morano