Free Essay On The Debate On Global Warming
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In my personal opinion global warming is a topic that has become public knowledge not because it is an extremely grave concern, whether or not it is, but due to the political turmoil surrounding it. It has become a favorite topic of democrats attempting to limit certain types of oil and gas exploration and production, as well as republicans trying to prove them wrong. The issue seems to have devolved from a discussion about the facts to a dialogue piece used by both parties whenever the opportunity arises. The term global warming is also being used less as we have had exceptionally cold winters other the last several years. Now the favorite term of politicians and scientists alike is climate change.
I believe that it is wise for us to limit emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere and attempt to be as environmentally conscience as possible without unduly harming the livelihoods of American citizens. The issue of climate change should be looked at from a purely scientific point of view without the haze of political opinion clouding it. It is always wise to protect the environment but we can make procedural changes slowly and with input from the companies that will need to implement them. I may not be fully apprised on the direness of the situation because I am not active in a field that studies it, but I believe that moderation may be our best chance at making lasting changes without every republican claiming it will cause a recession. In the following pages I will attempt to determine whether or not my assessment of the situation is justified and what the facts are regarding this highly controversial topic.
Greg Easterbrook states in his article entitled “Some Convenient Truths” that “When (political) commentators hash this issue out, it’s often a contest to see which side can sound more pessimistic.” (Easterbrook) It seems that both political parties use the topic as fodder against one another and neither shows any optimism regarding a solution. Republicans insist that regulation changes can “cripple the economy” while democrats state that there is no way to reverse the damage that we have caused. However, history shows that neither of these views may be accurate. (Eastbrook)
Back in the 1970s the Los Angeles skyline was hazy nearly every day and warnings to stay inside for the sake of your own health were not uncommon. Today pollution-creating emissions have been decreased by half and the costs to enact the new regulations that caused our vehicles to emit a lesser amount of emissions did not have a noticeable impact on the economy of the United States. History has displayed a repeating pattern of fast progress initiated by low cost changes. Easterbrook suggests that part of the reason the public feels so overwhelmed by the dismal outlook of politicians is because they believe that our air is becoming more polluted over time when in fact the opposite is true. Instead of advertising this fact democrats instead insist that republican policies are destroying the environment while republicans state that democratic policies are unsustainable economically. It is a disparaging cycle that leaves the public confused and prevents any real progress on the topic from occurring. (Eastbrook)
There is a general consensus among universities that they are “deeply concerned about the unprecedented scale and speed of global warming and its potential for large-scale, adverse health, social, economic and ecological effects.”(Text et al) according to the Text of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment, the world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050 in order to prevent “the worst impacts of global warming” but do not delve into the details of what these impacts would be or go into any details concerning our current emission levels.
The document goes on to outline the steps that these universities believe to be imperative in the fight against global warming. They state that they intend to become climate neutral with extreme haste and will develop a comprehensive plan of action to accomplish this within two years. The steps that the universities vow to take can be nothing but beneficial for the environment, however they do not fully explain what impact they believe global warming is having on the environment or go beyond the steps that they themselves intend to take. How should the global community go about reducing emissions so drastically within the next thirty five years? What will happen if they cannot manage to do so in the allotted period of time? Will the united states have a significant impact if China and India, with populations far exceeding ours, do not follow suit? There are many questions that remain unanswered by both politicians and university presidents. (Text et al)
An overview of global warming from National Geographic attempts to explain exactly how it will occur, and what the repercussions of global warming will be to an average citizen with little knowledge on the subject. This article paints a rather bleak picture of the earth’s current and future state by asserting that “Glaciers are melting, sea levels are rising, cloud forests are drying, and wildlife is scrambling to keep pace. It's becoming clear that humans have caused most of the past century's warming by releasing heat-trapping gases”.(Global et al) The article goes on to explain what greenhouse gases are and their effect on the environment but like many other writings on the subject does not give many statistical details regarding the amount of emissions pollution caused by humans. The closest the author comes to truly explaining what we have done is when he says that the amount of carbon dioxide has increased by a third since the industrial revolution, but how that level was measured back when we were just entering the era of technological advancement is unclear. The article paints a very bleak picture of what we have caused without giving any hope or plan of recovery for the world.
In aaddition, while the article stresses the possible global catastrophe that even slight global temperature changes could cause it does not attempt to explain the current colder-than-average winters that the United States has been experiencing. Is it climate change or global warming? Are we able to have a significant impact and turn the situation around or is it too late like so many democrats appear to believe? With seven billion people occupying the planet it seems common sense to take care of it so why has it become less a matter of global well-being and more of a horror story used at will.
These three articles display various sides of the fight against global warming. Easterbrook brings an optimistic light to an otherwise dismal view of our global situation. He believes that the natural tendency of the American people to rise up to any challenge could prevail in the case of climate change if politicians could recast the issue to represent a challenge instead of a failure. Instead of using the issue as cannon fodder our representatives in the house and senate could come together to find a solution that benefits both the environment and the economy of the United States. Is that all it would take to stop the threat of global warming and put an end to the dilemma facing the US? (Easterbrook)
It is difficult to determine if the federal government is having such a difficult time coming to a consensus and developing a plan due to extreme opinion differences or merely political tactic. It is hard to pick out fact from fiction for many Americans and in light of the recent attacks across the Middle East to many citizens across the nation this does not seem to be a pressing issue.
Reading and evaluating these articles has broadened and further concreted my assessment that while global warming is an important issue that needs to be addressed by the United states and the world, it has been manipulated by both democrats and republicans to use against one another. We need someone with strong leadership abilities to come forward with an economically effective plan while factually informing the American people of details concerning exactly how global warming is impacting the environment and how we can make changes, both large and small, to impact the pollution levels.
So what do we do now? Is it possible for us to have a lasting impact on the environment through limiting emissions or is it too late? These three articles do not come to a consensus and I believe that in order to make any real headway the conflicting opinions among politicians needs to be addressed by the scientific community. I believe that with enough motivation and a cohesive plan Americans can lead the way in the global fight against climate change. We do not need to terrify the public but we do need to educate and inform them. We have decreased air pollution over the last several decades and speeding up this process is possible if firms across the country can be provided with incentives and cost efficient ways of doing so.
Crusius, Timothy, and Carolyn Channell. The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader / Edition 8. New York: McGrawHill, 2015. Print.
Crusius, Timothy, and Carolyn Channell. "Text of the American College & University Presidents’ Climate Commitment." The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader / Edition 8. New York: McGrawHill, 2015. N. pag. Print.
Crusius, Timothy, and Carolyn Channell. "Global Warming: An Overview." The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader / Edition 8. New York: McGrawHill, 2015. N. pag. Print
Crusius, Timothy, and Carolyn Channell. "Some Convenient Truths (GREGG EASTERBROOK)." The Aims of Argument: A Text and Reader / Edition 8. New York: McGrawHill, 2015. N. pag. Print.
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