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Global Warming Chart

This page developed during a discussion in an internet forum about - you guessed it - global warming. If you came from a "deep link" please take the time to read some introducing paragraphs on the top level page. little blue heron, everglades hoverfly on red daisy mum large grasshopper, indiana lichen on tree, south carolina

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One view on climate change

With today's knowledge, can a current, significant climate change be considered a fact?

There seems clear evidence e.g. in the Artic that global temperatures are rising. As I understand, it's possible and even expected that climate change will affect different areas differently. But there seems no doubt about the overall development of global climate (in contrast to its local effects!), at least in regards to average temperatures.

The consensus on the 2007 IPCC report agrees that global warming is "unequivocal". So ... can the IPCC's report be considered credible?

Two reasons I heard of why the IPCC's results can not be trusted:

a) the IPCC's report overlooked influencing factors and/or exaggerated others; in other words: the considered science has flaws.

b) the considered scientists cannot be trusted, e.g. they just follow the current opinion to get research funds and participate in an "en vogue" topic.

See separate page for more comments on this view and whose "concensus" the IPCC report is.

Is climate change in big parts likely caused by human activities?

The IPCC came to the conclusion (and it has been agreed on), that most of the current warming is "very likely" caused by human green house gas emissions. Question again is: Can the IPCC's reports be considered a trustworthy source?

Is climate change anything to be worried about, are there negative impacts we should look out for?

This seems to be the most controversially discussed aspect of this topic. There are studies suggesting impact ecological, social, economical, on local weather etc.

There is no crystal ball, but the IPCC generally adds (along with very specific examples):

"Anthropogenic warming could lead to some impacts that are abrupt or irreversible, depending upon the rate and magnitude of the climate change."

Should this be seen as a concern (or is it merely mankind's natural impact on earth)?

One viewpoint is, that life on this planet will go on "similar" to what we see today anyways - regardless of what humans will do or don't (unless we accidentally push earth into a positive feedback cycle that makes life impossible - which is discussed but seen very unlikely as I understand).

So looking at it from a geologic viewpoint, our actions can be considered a drop in the ocean only, I agree. However, thinking what this drop possibly manages to destroy within a minimal period of (geologic) time is still startling.

Likewise, it is remarkable to see species, which developed over millions of years, getting extinct daily by us - without major hesitation or public notice; irreversible for future generations.

If we can, do we need to counteract on the current climate change?

The "need" I think is a somewhat ethical question. As we can reflect on our actions and can predict their future impact to a certain degree - do we have an "obligation" to cut a bit of today's welfare and "economic growth" and care for coming generations?

Does it matter in what condition we keep or leave earth for future generations and other species?

Can we take steps at all, i.e. are we capable of influencing a climate change and its impact at all?

If it is accepted that we managed to change the climate in one direction, one can hardly deny we'll be able to turn (the human share) around as well. Also, mere adaptation to change is possible and seen required, also by the IPCC: "There is high confidence that neither adaptation nor mitigation alone can avoid all climate change impacts".

Once there is a wide acceptance that measures are to be taken, we can be confident we'll be able to come up with effective steps?

As written on the homepage of this site, it's seen likely that substantial changes are needed which are carried by politics, not only single "green groups".

Single actions will make a difference, but admittedly a comparably small.

However, resorting to "we cannot do anything anyways" can be considered a rather fatalistic view. Past global issues already could be mitigated - compare the actions taken against the ozone layer depletion.

I consider it the "democratic factor" in this discussion: there needs to be a critical mass of people who support a change. Until then, the single person might be "left holding the baby", but it is the starting point (of any change I think).

Can a single person make a difference in this global matter?

It is gladly referred to "the globalization", "the capitalistic concerns" or "the politicians" who are claimed to be responsible for a change, likewise for pollution and "ecocide".

However, not surprisingly, it's us who request services from companies, it's us who work in these companies, it's us who elect politicians and it's us who use resources.

When talking about "making a difference", already raising awareness and mobilizing a critical democratic mass (see box on the right) is a "share" and the first step.

Yep. Your share makes a difference! :)

last changes: 07/2008