Point/Counterpoint: Global warming

EDITOR’S NOTE: Sometimes Evening Sun reporters just like to argue. This week, Tyler Murphy and Jeff Genung attended a screening of Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth,” sponsored by the World Affairs Forum in Norwich. Although they generally agreed on the content of the film, for argument’s sake they’ve taken opposing viewpoints here ...

Global warming is fact. There is not a single credible university on the planet that disputes this. There is more doubt in the scientific community debating over evolution versus Adam and Eve than debate over global warming. Global warming is happening and man is the culprit. It is true the Earth warms and cools in natural patterns. The ten hottest years in human history have taken place in the last 14 years and 2005 was the hottest year ever known to man in the last several hundred. This again is indisputable fact. Another indisputable fact is the correlation between carbon dioxide and increasing temperature. The more CO2 we put in the air, the hotter it will get. Every time the Earth has ever warmed up, scientists measured CO2 in the air naturally occurring. CO2 absorbs the heat from our Earth as it tries to escape our planet. Normally this heat would dissipate in space. The CO2 in our atmosphere this very moment is almost three times higher than it has been recorded in 60,000 years and that only because we can only measure as far back as 60,000. Combine modern globalization causing the frantic industrialization of third world countries like China, India and Indonesia and the problem is about to exponentially explode and the repercussions may kill you and I, but if we are lucky if may only kill our children unless we stop denying the inconvenient truth. – TDM

Global warming may well be a scientific fact, but it’s one that’s being manipulated, and easily so, for political purposes. With all the rhetoric surrounding our society’s attitudes toward big business, it’s often hard to separate simple fact from dramatized fact. Global warming is cyclical; our planet has heated and cooled a number of times over the millennia. The fact that it’s worse in our era is a no-brainer; we live in a heavily industrialized world – and a world that has taken significant steps toward improving the environment over the past few decades. Political alarmists like your friend Mr. Gore make it seem like a Hollywood disaster is literally “The Day After Tomorrow.” It’s not. These things take eons to happen. Give the measures currently in place a chance to work before inciting widespread panic. – JMG

In the old way of thinking you may have been able to say things take a long time, but that’s because things changed slowly. The Earth takes slow deep breaths and evolves accordingly. In the last 150 years the CO2 has sky rocketed. The highest ever record CO2 in our atmosphere was 1/3 of what it is now. Weathermen can barely predict our weekend weather. The effects of global warming are so enormous that no one can predict the fallout. Things on Earth are changing faster than man has ever known them to change and if that isn’t fast enough to raise your red flag, what will? All the rhetoric is against the notions of global warming, not hyping them up. The only manipulation taking place is in your own mind and the minds of other naive people who have swallowed the propaganda of Big Oil and its supporters. The current American president is the first president not to have an official environmental policy since presidents started having environmental policies nearly 100 years ago (that’s a lot of presidents). America is also the only industrialized nation not to sign a global environmental policy. – TDM

As an American citizen, you enjoy the fruits of our industrialized society day in and day out. No one’s saying global warming isn’t real or isn’t a growing concern; but for you and your tree-hugging liberal friends to demonize the foundations of our economy is hypocritical at best. What would you have us do? Revert to pre-cotton gin societal conditions? I think not. The capitalist, industrial machine is too big and too important to stop. The fact is that every major corporation in America has an environmental policy in place; more is being done today in terms of conservation and preservation than was even thought of 10 years ago. And while we’re at it, making the environmental issue a political one diminishes its impact. Mr. Gore’s intent may have been pure, but the avenue he’s chosen to pursue to propagate that message – along with the requisite Bush-bashing you seem to enjoy – puts him in the Michael Moore category in my book. – JMG

Before I am an American, I am a moral human being. Just because you want to be a spoiled human being disregarding the interests of all mankind doesn’t mean we all have to be. Capitalism can be stopped in fact it will come to a dead stop if unchecked. Corporations have environmental policies because they have to or because it looks good. The goal of any corporation is to make money; tell me how many times have you seen the environmental movement showered by corporate gold? No, big business is for big business because it is designed that way, just like capitalism. Both things created by man and neither has foresight or a moral afterthought, but people do. This is not just an issue of economics, but of survival. The world has changed many times and maybe it needs another great revolution in thinking. The technology to live well and be environmentally safe is available; the only obstacle is that there are faster ways to make money ... at least in the short run. The sky is falling and to deny it risks the lives of us all; at the very least you must admit the world’s most powerful scientific minds might know what they are talking about and maybe for the first time since the Renaissance the world would listen to them. – TDM

The sky is not falling, figuratively or literally. It’s a scientific certitude that life on this planet will change over the course of the next several generations just as sure as it has changed from 1900s to today. Despite all the hand-wringing from the left, I and much of the remainder of the world feel confident that we’ll have a celestial roof over our heads for another millennia or so. There’s plenty that you and I as good citizens can do to protect the environment, take those steps and urge our corporate neighbors to do the same. But don’t throw the general public into a panic, abandon all the trappings of modern society and go live in the wilderness foraging for twigs and berries. Sometimes there’s a fine line between environmentalist and crazy woodsman. – JMG

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