The discovery of fire making process was a revolution that had changed cultural, economical, social, and technological aspects of human life forever (“Discovery of Fire”). Since then, energy has become an integral part of the human life; man used wood, coal, whale oil, water, and alcohol as a source of energy. Since the beginning of the 20th century, human civilization had been using coal, oil, and natural gas, which are called fossil fuels energy sources. The use of fossil fuels has generated a hot debate over the relationship of the energy source and environment. This essay tends to reflect underlying themes and ideas around this debate.
GREENHOUSE GASSES AND TEMPERATURE
A large portion of scientists, politicians, and activists claim that the burning of fossil fuels are causing global warming through the increase of CO2 in the greenhouse gasses (“Unites States EPA”), which inevitably is going to cause environmental catastrophe. The movie “An Inconvenient Truth”, produced by, Ex- U.S. Vice President, Al Gore, tells the story of increase in the CO2 component of greenhouse gasses during the current and last centuries. The movie through the graphical representations of vast historical data claimed that earth temperature was associated with the increase in the concentration of CO2. The study of data collected in Antarctic area during the period of last 650,000 years showed that CO2 concentration never went above 300 parts per million (“An Inconvenient Truth”). The movie points out that CO2 concentrations of major U.S. cities are above the said concentration level, and it is continuously increasing. Scientist Dr. Peter Tans, Dr. Tom Conway, and others from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) through rigorous observations and experiments during a substantial time determined that CO2 was increasing due to fossil burning fuels, and they established relationship between the temperature changes and CO2 concentration (“Atmosphere”) level.
GLOBAL WARMING IS A MYTH
However, the opponents claim that global warming issue is a setup science for political purposes (“The Great Global Warming Swindle”). They claim that the planet has always changed its temperature cycle, and the current trend does not support that climate change is driven by human made CO2. John Coleman, the founder of Weather Channel defined the issue of global warming as a frenzy and myth (“Coleman Interview’). Lord Christopher Walter Monckton, an ex advisor of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, another ardent opponent, claimed that the outcry was caused by the exaggeration of temperature increase by the end of the 21st century presented by the United Nation’s Inter Government Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) committee (“The Great Global Warming Swindle”). Professor Philip Scott of the department of Biogeography of the University of London stated that this was a politically motivated issue stamped by United Nation’s IPCC (“The Great Global Warming Swindle”). Professor Tim Ball of the Department of Climatology of the University of Winnipeg states that he believes in global warming, but he does not believe that manmade CO2 is causing that warming (“The Great Global Warming Swindle”).
The analysis shows that opponents agree on the issue of increase of CO2 in the greenhouse gasses, but they challenge proponents’ conclusion that it is caused by the manmade increase of CO2 through burning of fossil fuels. This is when the global warming issue becomes a political and moral issue. It discloses that the entire debate is over fossil fuels vs. alternative energy. The proponents are offering sources such as solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal, and hydrogen as an alternative to the fossil fuels. The opponents claim that coal, oil, and natural gas have revolutionized human lives; earth’s temperature is just going through natural cycles of sun and ocean currents, and there is no need to replace fossil fuel with alternative fuels. Only future can tell who is right and who is wrong if it does not become too late for human civilization. Nevertheless, in both cases, billions of dollars are at stake.