Essay: Climate Change Global Climate Change: Separating Science

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Climate Change

Global Climate Change: Separating Science from Conjecture

The issue of climate change -- of human caused global warming, to be exact -- has been the subject of much debate among politicians and scientists alike. There is a growing consensus in the scientific community that the world is experiencing a warming trend that has lasted slightly longer than a century. The fact that this nearly coincides with the Industrial Revolution and the use of fossil fuels, which greatly increased the carbon content of the atmosphere, does not necessarily mean there is a causal link between industrialization and the current global warming trend. It is this fact that remains a great matter of debate amongst scientists, policy makers, and the public at large.

Knowing that the world has warmed slightly, it might seem unimportant to question why this warming has occurred. On the contrary, however, it is vital that the underlying causes for this warming trend be explored; if it is indeed the result of human industrial activity and carbon emissions, there could be severe consequences for continued emissions. It might even be possible to reverse the trend by developing methods to remove existing carbon from the atmosphere. On the other hand, undue changes to current fossil-fuel technologies would have extreme economic effects in both the developing and the developed world, severely impacting transportation and shipping and therefore the cost of goods. Many countries -- including the United States -- lack the infrastructure to provide energy and heat to homes without the use of fossil fuels, adding additional costs and political complications to an already contentious issue. This makes the question an essential one.

Methods

In order to determine the amount of scientifically verifiable fact that links the current warming trend to human activity, a search of several databases for recent scientific articles regarding the issue was conducted. EBSCO's Academic Search Complete was initially searched using the terms "climate change;" these results were narrowed by the addition of "fossil fuels," in order to reach articles that dealt specifically with the relationship between the two terms. In the BIOSIS database, the more politically charged term "global warming" was used, which yielded several articles that explored the natural warming and cooling trends of the planet vs. The possible human role in the current warming trend.

Results

One simulated study came to somewhat conflicting conclusions. A computer model of China's carbon emissions and GDP using eleven sustainability factors and data previously collected predicted an initial climb in carbon emissions along with GDP, followed by a much more dramatic drop (Ojekunle et al. 2009). It also predicted greater energy efficiency at the time of the highest carbon output, which decreased as wages increased (Ojekunle et al. 2009). A separate modeling study that examined China and rural India predicted major carbon emission increases and global warming if aid was not provided to assist these countries in a shift to low-carbon energy producing technologies (Urban 2009).

Direct observational studies have come to their own conclusions. Recently discovered fossil fish remains show that near tropical ocean temperatures existed much farther north than they do today, suggesting that the Earth has been far warmer in its geological past than it is today (Newbrey et al. 2009). It has long… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Climate Change Global Climate Change: Separating Science.  (2009, November 10).  Retrieved December 9, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/climate-change-global/3928111

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