Global Warming: A convenient lie?

Global warming is NOT a myth. If you believe it is, you also believe that simple physics is incorrect. What is more, you are a grossly negligent, irresponsible and supremely unintelligent human being. Let your education begin.
First, what the sceptics say. Global warming sceptics have argued that since 1998, the temperature records of the earth have shown no increase. They have also argued that the earth has been warmer in the recent past and that we simply do not have, and have not had the correct apparatus to make reliable judgements on this issue.  There are arguments that global warming is a natural occurrence which is dictated by natural variations in the sun’s magnetic field and solar winds, and lastly, my personal favourite, that CO2 is largely unimportant. Water vapour is the major greenhouse gas, not CO2, and has shown no signs of adversely affecting our climate.

Ah yes, water vapour. Let’s start with that. Wouldn’t it be lovely to imagine that this friendly little greenhouse gas is innocently accountable for all the panic over global warming? Wouldn’t it be so much easier to believe that 98% of the warming process is due to water vapour and that our contribution to the earth’s temperature in CO2 or methane levels would therefore have little, if any impact on the warming process? Oh and by the by, it doesn’t even matter if water vapour levels are on the rise because it is a simple case of how the water vapour is distributed that affects the warming process. Well as nice as it sounds, it ain’t true. Firstly water vapour only accounts for under half of the total warming process; the rest is CO2 and other greenhouse gases. And since the industrial revolution, mankind has pushed up CO2 emissions by 30%. Simple climatology states that a rise in CO2 leads to a rise in the temperature of the earth, and this temperature increase boosts water vapour levels, which seriously affects the warming process. So unfortunately, physics and history are simply not on your side if you refuse to believe in global warming. And I reckon that’s cause enough for a rethink.

The problem with sceptics, (and there are many, probably the most interesting being that they all at one point in their life have been or will be committed to a lunatic asylum) is that they pick and choose their facts. For example, 1998 was the hottest year on record, and since then temperatures have never got as hot. But 1998 was a truly phenomenal year, caused by the El Niño southern oscillation, the phenomenon by which the Pacific Ocean flips between warmer and cooler states every few years. Therefore taking the subsequent years since the hottest year of the millennium as proof that the earth is cooling is grossly misleading, if not cheating. Had the sceptics picked 1997 or 1999 the results would still have displayed a sharp rise. What is more, climatologists announced in 2009 that the world was entering a new El Niño warm spell. A future episode could be expected to create a spike of equivalent magnitude on top of an even higher baseline, thus shattering the 1998 record. Bob Henson, of the National Centre for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, said: “To claim that global temperatures have cooled since 1998 and therefore that man-made climate change isn’t happening is a bit like saying spring has gone away when you have a mild week after a scorching Easter.”

Unfortunately, other arguments such as global warming being explained merely as the climate responding to variations in solar activities or attempts to claim that we have not had the appropriate apparatus to measure climate change simply don’t wash. There has been no positive incline in any solar index since 1960, so the sun’s activity cannot bear any responsibility for climate change. And although historical data may not be as complete as the sceptics want it to be, it has been collected since the late eighteenth century and is therefore complete enough to be able to draw strong conclusions.

Global warming is happening. It’s easy to deny it because we love our polluting cars and hate having to sort our plastics from our papers, and because the view from our windows does not exactly represent a scene from The Day After Tomorrow. And maybe I’m just being cynical but I reckon deep down the prospect of the UK with a Mediterranean climate is secretly appealing, (despite it being at the expense of more flooding in Bangladesh and worsening droughts in Africa.) Whatever the reason for denying climate change (conspiracy to get us to pay higher taxes, anyone?), isn’t it time to put the debate aside and reverse climate change, just in case it turns out that the sceptics got it wrong? Surely what’s at stake is too valuable to risk not doing anything, and in reality, doing something isn’t really that hard.