Michael R. Moore: Is human activity directly responsible for global warming and its impact?
Here are six arguments against the idea that global warming is caused by human acitivity (listed below as 1-6 against), followed by seven responses (1-6 for).
1 against: Many scientists say human-caused global warming is not proven.
1 for: The National Academy of Sciences of the USA, whose members are elected from the country's best scientists, the National Academies of at least 33 other countries, and The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change all agree human activity is causing global warming. Presidents Reagan and George H. W. Bush appointed geochemist Dr. James Powell to the National Science Board, and he is now executive director of the National Physical Science Consortium. According to Dr. Powell, of 33,700 scientists doing climate science research, only 34 deny human-caused global warming.
2 against: Global warming is caused mostly by natural cycles.
2 for: Sun activity is cyclic, and natural cycles occur in which the earth's temperature rises and falls. However, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), human activity has caused the earth to warm even during decreasing sun radiation. According to NASA, 2012 was the ninth warmest year since 1880, and the nine warmest years in the 132-year record have occurred since 2000.
3 against: Carbon dioxide (CO2), blamed for most global warming, occurs naturally and most is produced by volcanoes.
3 for: According to NOAA, CO2, the gas contributing most to global warming , is now at about 400 parts per million, the highest level in the last 800,000 years, having risen from 315 since 1957, and the biggest contributor is burning of fossil fuels. The U.S. Geological Survey says the CO2 produced yearly by volcanoes is less than 1 percent of that produced by human activity. CO2 goes largely into the ocean, forming carbonic acid, destroying marine life and threatening fisheries (Orr, James C. et al. (2005) Nature 437 (7059): 681-686).
4 against: Arctic sea ice is decreasing, but Antarctic sea ice is increasing.
4 for: NASA satellite measurements show that Antarctic ice mass has been decreasing since 2002.
5 against: Earth's surface air temperature has stayed constant for the last 15 years.
5 for: Over the last 130 years, earth's temperature has increased in a non-linear manner, sometimes going from plateau to plateau. Much of the global warming has occurred in the deep oceans, rather than in surface air, causing a significant rise in sea levels, putting low-lying coastal areas in danger of being submerged. For the last 15 yers, we have been in the highest temperature plateau on record, during which, NASA says, the nine warmest years in the 132-year record have occurred since 2000.
6 against: Even if global warming is real, we need jobs, and are better off to ignore it.
6 for: While global warming may lengthen growing seasons in some areas, climate models from NOAA predict it will cause larger, more violent storms, longer droughts, and a generally more hostile climate. According to the American Meteorological Society (AMS), "there is unequivocal evidence that Earth's lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities ... Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions." The AMS further says half of the [sea level] rise observed since the 1970s is due to water expansion caused by increases in ocean temperatures, which are expected to produce potentially severe impacts, especially in regions experiencing storm surges."
The Geneva Association, the main international think tank of the insurance industry, whose board of directors comprises the CEOs of many of the world's major insurance companies, published a study in June 2013 titled "Warming of the oceans and implications for the (re)insurance industry." The study says:
"Many insurance-relevant hazards show increased loss potential due to the warming of the oceans...On the investment side, there are new market opportunities associated with the transition to a low-carbon economy... To support this transition, the industry should use its unique knowledge base to inform the debate on climate change and actively lobby government to take action to reduce risks and curb emissions of greenhouse gases. "
Michael R. Moore recently retired from the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, where he was a professor of biochemistry for 33 years.
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