Is Global Warming Real?Is global warming real and, if so, is it caused by humans? 

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enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Is global warming real?  Yes.  Is global cooling real?  Yes.  Has human activity in the last 150 years accelerated the rate of warming?  Maybe.  Has it altered the climate?  Probably.  Will it mean the end of the Earth?  No.  Will it mean the end of mankind?  Maybe.  Has it altered ecological systems with long term damage? Yes.  Will the damage be repaired if we stop heating the Earth?  Maybe. Are recent receding ice caps and glacier losses due to industrial activity?  Probably not.  Consider (italics mine):

When Captain George Vancouver sailed the ice-choked water of Icy Strait in 1794, Glacier Bay was little more than a dent in the shoreline.  Across the head of the then-minor inlet stood a towering wall of ice, which marked the seaward outlet of an immense glacier that plugged the broad basin of what is today Glacier Bay.  In many places the ice mantle was more than 4000 feet thick.  John Muir, noted naturalist and explorer, discovered that by the time of his canoe trek into the bay in 1879, the ice front had retreated almost 50 miles, and a tall spruce and hemlock forest had begun to take its place at higher elevations.  Tidewaters had invaded the basin and filled the deep, narrow fjords.  Nowhere else have glaciers retreated at such a rapid pace.

"The Complete Guide to Cabins & Lodges,"  Little Brown & Co., G. Zimmermann, 1985, pg. 338.

  In the space of 85 years, glaciers nearly a mile thick retreated 50 miles, and this was before any appreciable industrial pollution. Could it be what we witness now is the continuation of that process, a couple of hundred year cycle of glacier growth and decay?  Do people, in fact,  have the necessary climate facts to make intelligent decisions?  

Consider that there's an Ice Age every 13,000 years that lasts for several thousand years.  Several thousand years ago the ice sheet spread unbroken from the North Pole to Virginia.  We're in the middle of the warm cycle now.  Despite what we do, Manhattan will be under 50 feet of ice in a few thousand years.  

Does that invalidate any precautionary actions now to maintain the environment?  Of course not, but it may not make a whit of difference one way or another. Because we lack facts, prudence is the best option.  Will the problem be solved with carbon taxes, enforced consumption reduction, and the like? No.  These may lessen the problem, but at what cost?  Black Markets?  Corrupt governments?  Deindustrialization? The only solution to the "environmental crisis" is a reduction of Earth's human population, period. Once that is back in balance, the problem will be nonexistent.  Consider this correlation:  It took from the beginning of time until 1850 for the world's population to reach 1 billion.  That's just the time the West industrializes.......hmmmm  I'm guessing we're now living through the top of the population spike, at 6 plus billion, and in our lifetimes we will see it begin to drop as sharply as it increased.  Why?  How?  That's for another post, 'cause I'm nearly out of space to write on this one.  

enotechris eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The two most populous nations on Earth, China and India, are finally beginning to industrialize.  Is this bad?  Yes.  Is this good?  Yes.  Yes, they will continue to push carbon into the environment at an ever increasing rate in the short term.  Things will get worse before they get better.  However, as every country on Earth has done, as soon as they begin to industrialize, the population will begin to decrease, and the standard of living will increase. Currently, these 2 countries have over 50% (over 3 billion people!) of the world's population. How far and how fast their populations will decrease is anyone's guess, but eventually there will be a balance between worldwide population and worldwide consumption that will be sustainable.  I doubt we'll live to see it; our grandchildren's children should be so lucky, but there will be a day when our descendants look at the population graph and wonder what all the hoopla was about when it spiked, when their current world's population is  2 to 3 billion. Who knows?  If they live in Glacier Bay, kids may have to climb over glaciers to walk to school.

Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

After just posting something similar on the other Global Warming "thread," I thought I would mention this here as well.  It's always interesting to hear both sides of the story.  Because most of my research in this arena (for my own personal knowledge) revolved around proving Global Warming to be true, I thought it would be fun to read a book revealing those in the science world who disagree.  Therefore, let me suggest a book to you:  The Deniers, by Lawrence Solomon.  An interesting read, to say the least!

alohaspirit eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Yes Global Warming is definitely real!  But actually we are going through a natural climate change, it is just that global warming is helping to speed up this climate change.  The fact that pollution is ruining our atmosphere and allowing for more UV rays to get trapped allows for our earth to warm up quicker.

weatherteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Let's not forget that many people confuse global warming and the natural greenhouse effect. Our climate system is supposed to act like a greenhouse. We wouldn't be here otherwise. Is global warming real? Current evidence says it is.

rlendensky | Student

Of course global warming is real. Interestingly enough my economics section is learning about global warming right now. In fact, it is so real that countless and countless economists have began to argue for a carbon dioxide tax of anywhere between $10 per ton and $100 per ton, depending on the interest rate. However, climatologists and economists alike all agree that global warming surely exists and it may actual have both a significant scientific effect (causing the ice caps to melt, forest fires, fierce hurricanes and tornados, etc.) but also may cause significant economic damage as well.

cheereyl | Student

have u ever notice of the current news all over the world.. "big fires here! floods there!" ..those are the frightening effects of global warming and it destroys thousands of millions of properties and it took away lives.. and sad to say that we are the ones responsible for these things to happen and we are also the ones who suffer..we can't stop it but we can minimize it. first, simply by doing the proper disposal of garbages by segregating them and simply by doing this in our homes, second not burning plastics for it can cause more carbon dioxide to produce and third, planting more trees and stop elegal logging for trees are the ones who take in carbon dioxide.

if him,her, you,me and them are doing this then, it will make a big difference..let's take these into action as early as now before our earth stays gone forever and forever is such a long time.....


borntoteach | Student

All the world's expert climatologists say it is real. Who are we to argue? Only internet loonies and conspiracy freaks deny global warming. Even the oil companies are shifting towards acceptance.

If you can not see that universal expert opinion outweighs your own amateur opinion, then that's your problem.

There is no controversy about global warming. There is no 'doubt'. There is only reluctance to accept the frightening, expensive truth.

Nicely put. In fact, LIPA (Long Island Power Authority) was encouraging communities around Long Island to "go green" and replace regular light bulbs with fluorescents, etc. It turns out, that we actually are making a difference and have decreased energy consumption so much, that LIPA has lost a small profit. As a result, they have decided to raise existing rates to compensate! How's that for irony?


frizzyperm | Student

All the world's expert climatologists say it is real. Who are we to argue? Only internet loonies and conspiracy freaks deny global warming. Even the oil companies are shifting towards acceptance.

If you can not see that universal expert opinion outweighs your own amateur opinion, then that's your problem.

There is no controversy about global warming. There is no 'doubt'. There is only reluctance to accept the frightening, expensive truth.

borntoteach | Student

Referring to our role in accelerating global temperatures, the New York Times offers, "...human activity has ‘very likely’ been the driving force in that change over the last 50 years." Global warming is definitely a very real issue. According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary, global warming is "an increase in the earth's atmospheric and oceanic temperatures...due to an increase in the greenhouse effect resulting especially from pollution."  In a simpler version, harmful gases from factories, cars, and even forest fires, are being trapped inside of the earth's atmosphere. These gases are produced fossil fuels such as oil, coal, and natural gas, Unable to release the harmful gases quickly, causes a build up of greenhouse gases. Because these gases are eating through Earth's atmosphere, we receive increased solar radiation. Earth has heating and cooling systems just like our bodies do, and if unable to cool down, there can be catastrophic events. These include major flooding, larger hurricanes, forest fires, and most obviously the melting of the polar ice caps: leaving thousands of dead animals in its wake. As for us?  Humans rely way too much on resources that use fossil fuels. However, in the last decade we are making large strides to reduce the amount of g.h. gases produced, read up on them here and

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