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Global warming-the debate


Global warming-the debate The fact that the Earth is warming is not a matter of debate, the evidence is clear The fact that global carbon dioxide levels have ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Global warming-the debate

Global warming-the debate
  • The fact that the Earth is warming is not a
    matter of debate, the evidence is clear
  • The fact that global carbon dioxide levels have
    increased is also clear
  • The debate centers around how much of it is
    caused by human involvement vs a natural cycle
  • Think about it in terms of the steps in the
    scientific method

Global warming in the context of the scientific
  • Observations-Earths temperature is warming
  • Hypothesis-due to a man-made increase in green
    house gases
  • Testing the hypothesis-many scientists hold
    different views and interpret data differently,
    but the consensus is that it is due to increases
    in greenhouse gasses from man made sources.
  • Until the data is incontrovertible, there will
    always be naysayers. Thats ok, they keep us
    honest and push the method forward-as long as
    they are within the realm of the scientific
  • Lots of examples like this in modern science
    (evolution, big bang, cosmological
    interpretations of galaxy redshifts)

Dissenting opinions
  • American Association of Petroleum Geologists was
    the last scientific body to acknowledge human
    influence on climate change
  • Individual scientists fall into 5 categories
  • Believe global warming is not occurring or has
  • Believe accuracy of IPCC climate projections is
  • Believe global warming is primarily caused by
    natural processes
  • Believe cause of global warming is unknown
  • Believe global warming will benefit human society
  • In the end, only time will tell.

  • How do we know what is going to happen?
  • We dont , but it can be predicted
  • We call these global climate models
  • Based on physics (fluid dynamics and radiative
    transfer, for eg.)
  • Different models consider different effects, have
    different inputs and give a range of results
  • Model validity is verified by using them to
    predict past and current climate conditions
  • No, they are not perfect

  • Sea level rise of up to 1 foot
  • Reductions in ozone layer
  • More intense, less frequent hurricanes
  • Ocean ph and oxygen level reduced
  • Spread of diseases including malaria, Lyme
    disease, cholera and bubonic plague
  • Extinctions of plant an animal species
  • Population growth due to less deaths from cold
  • Changes in rainfall patterns

What are we doing about it
  • Kyoto Protocol
  • International environmental treaty to achieve
    stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in
    the atmosphere at a level that would prevent
    man-made interference with the climate
  • establishes legally binding commitments for the
    reduction of four greenhouse gases (carbon
    dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, sulphur
    hexafluoride), and two groups of gases
    (hydrofluorocarbons and perfluorocarbons)
    produced by (industrialized) nations,
  • general commitments for all member countries.
  • Did not impose limitations on developing
    countries (such as China)
  • initially adopted for use on 11 December 1997 in
    Kyoto, Japan
  • entered into force on 16 February 2005.
  • Signed but not ratified by the US

  • industrialized countries agreed to reduce their
    collective GHG emissions by 5.2 compared to the
    year 1990.
  • National limitations range from 8 reductions for
    the European Union and some others to 7 for the
    United States, 6 for Japan, and 0 for Russia.
  • The treaty permitted GHG emission increases of 8
    for Australia and 10 for Iceland.

US position
  • US signed in 1998, but this was symbolic-treaty
    is not binding until ratified.
  • Yet the US is the largest per capita emitter of
    carbon dioxide
  • Prior to Kyoto, (though with a knowledge of what
    it said) the US Senate passed a resolution that
    stated stated the sense of the Senate was that
    the United States should not be a signatory to
    any protocol that did not include binding targets
    and timetables for developing nations as well as
    industrialized nations or "would result in
    serious harm to the economy of the United
  • Main concern is the economic losses associated
    with instituting the caps on carbon emission
  • Neither the Clinton nor Bush administration
    submitted the treaty for ratification
  • Obama Administrations position is that the
    treaty is about to end, there is no point in
    ratifying it (it has a little less than 3 years
  • States and cities have adopted initiatives to cap
    carbon emissions on their own, based at least in
    part on Kyoto.

Reasons for opposition
  • Global socialism-a scheme to transfer wealth to
    third world countries and or slow the growth of
    the worlds industrialized democracies
  • Doesnt go far enough to curb GHG emissions
  • Costs outweigh benefits
  • Using a single base year (1990) may result in
    inequities in the caps