Science

The Ever-Heated Discussion On Global Warming

By Daniel Brown

It may sound ridiculous that 13% of the UK population don’t agree or accept the science of climate change, and that when asked,do you believe in global warming?, only 34% of the surveyed people from Wales answered “Yes, completely” (found by a Censuswide poll). It’s particularly angering, when you realise all the major scientific organisations in the world agree that global temperatures are rising, and greenhouse gas emissions produced by humans are to blame.

For a relatively long time now, we have known that the climate has varied quite massively over time, working almost in a cyclic pattern, where for several thousand years the climate will spike at a rapid rate, then for another couple of tens of thousands of years, the global temperature will decrease slowly. We know this from various pieces of evidence, the most prominent one being the advance and retreat cycle of glaciers; we know there have been seven cycles in the last 650,000 years. We currently believe the cause of the advancing and retreating to be due to the global average temperature rising and falling with the atmospheric CO2 concentration.

It’s believed that a source of natural CO2 concentration change occurs from the sub oceanic stores rising to the surface and evaporating into the atmosphere. The concentrations from hundreds of thousands of years ago can be measured by taking samples from pockets of air trapped inside glaciers, the concentrations of the present gasses can be measured using a gas chromatograph. The age of the air pockets can be estimated using methods with an equally complex sounding name.

From the evidence that has been found so far, scientists in the field can confirm that the world is currently at a stage in its cycle where CO2 levels would naturally be high. However, the concentration of pollutant gasses is much higher than it should be. This is evident from the recorded temperatures that have been taken for about 140 years; 18 of the hottest on record have occurred in the last 20 years, with the hottest ever being in 2016. The relationship between the average global temperature and the atmospheric CO2 concentration is made shockingly apparent when you compare graphs showing both data.

Climate change deniers, or sceptics depending on what side of the fence you’re on, often use some of the discussed evidence as proof that climate change isn’t due to human effect, or even, isn’t real at all, claiming that global warming now is meaningless as the rise in average global temperature and CO2 concentration have naturally happened before. Some of the common arguments used against climate change and global warming are: “the climate has changed before”; “Models aren’t always reliable”; and my personal favourite, “it’s still cold in winter”, with a US senior Senator, James Inhofe, going as far as taking a snowball into a senate meeting, arguing that that’s evidence enough to show global warming isn’t real. All of these arguments, in fact, every argument against global warming, can fairly easily be proven wrong. Some people need reminding that the consequences from our polluting and global warming go beyond our opinions and even our lifetimes. The effects we, as a society, have inflicted and forever scarred the planet we call home.

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