First off, let me clarify my stand: I believe that global warming is a scientifically proven fact. The average world temperature has been rising in the past decades and centuries. Greenhouse gases do cause the Greenhouse effect, keeping the planet warm enough to sustain life.
What I don’t subscribe to is the notion that human activities contribute greatly to this trend (i.e. anthropogenic global warming). Even if they did, it has but a miniscule effect. And if anything is to blame, it shouldn’t be carbon dioxide emissions.
Here I submit 5 simple, straightforward and easily understandable reasons as to why I am not alarmed by the claims of irreparable CO2-caused climate change:
1) Carbon dioxide accounts for just 0.0383% of the atmosphere. Literally a drop in the atmosphere! To me, it’s very difficult to see how such a miniscule amount of CO2 can have any meaningful effect on the world temperature.
2) Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have risen 20.253% since 1960. Wow, so scary huh? But take a closer look at what measurement scale we’re talking about. CO2 levels rose from 316 parts per million to about 380 parts per million. Parts per million! That’s just an increase of 0.000064!
Comparing 1960 and today, for every 15,625 buckets of air you scoop up you’re only going to collect one extra measly bucket of CO2.
See also my post, Carbon Emissions and Percentage of Atmosphere.
3) Water vapour is the main Greenhouse gas, causing from 36-70% of the Greenhouse effect. Carbon dioxide only causes 9-26%, methane 4-9% and ozone 3-7%. Should we initiate International Protocols to reduce the evaporation of water worldwide, then?
Maybe we can’t stop water from being evaporated all across the world’s oceans. And nobody is going to support a reduction of the ozone layer.
But we can do something about methane levels which have risen 150% since 1750. Cow farts, rice paddies, swamps and even termites pump tonnes of methane into the air. So we’d better slaughter those cows, stop planting rice, clear up the mangroves and exterminate all termites in nature then!
4) The temperature of the Earth seems to have been rising steadily. Seems to have been, but has it really been? Maybe the temperature measuring stations have been getting skewed readings because of their close proximity to cities which are full of people, industries, vehicles and glass and concrete buildings?
Satellites measuring the temperature of the lower atmosphere show a warming of only 0.04°C per decade, while grounded stations show an increase of around 0.17°C per decade (plus or mine 0.06°C). It seems to me like better, more accurate and less alarmistly biased research should be conducted before we get all chicken little.
5) How much will the average world temperature rise if global warming and Greenhouse gas emission continues at the present rate? Nobody really knows for sure, and nobody agrees on an estimate (the satellite measurements in Point 4 are one example of disagreement).
The average world temperature will perhaps increase by at least 1°C by the year 2100, perhaps as much as 6%, or perhaps it will even drop. But the important dispute is: Do human activities contribute in any significant way at all?
And what is the conclusion? The Kyoto Protocol is a waste of time, resources and media coverage! What will it achieve really, by trying to reduce CO2 emissions when CO2 isn’t doing anything significant? And Kyoto doesn’t apply to China and India mind you, which happen to be the hugest industrializing nations.
Up to recently, I thought that the US was being arrogant, selfish and pig-headed for not signing Kyoto. Now I feel that money and effort spent reducing CO2 emissions would be better used on more important concerns such as saving lives by providing clean water for third world nations. Slightly higher CO2 levels might even increase plant growth and agricultural production.
On a final note, let me say that although I don’t think we should worry about human activity causing global warming with terrible consequences, I strongly support other environmental concerns such as pollution control.
Just walk around for an hour along the streets of KL, breathing the noxious fumes deep into your lungs, and I think you’ll agree that there are far more pressing matters than global warming.
To me, human life is the most important concern overriding all others. And after that, the quality of life. Everything hinges on the value of a human being.
If DDT will destroy wildlife and cause cancer (which it has been proven NOT to do), I’ll still spray it around… Because it will kill malaria-carrying mosquitos and save millions of lives in the meantime.
That’s a whole ‘nother debate and controversy, but bottom line is: Get your facts straight! That’s our real first responsibility to the world, before running off on very damaging wild-goose slaughterchases.