Climate change is one of the current ubiquitous and controversial environmental issues. Some scholars allege that climate change is human caused, and mainly through greenhouse gases that are continuously emitted by companies.
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However, others argue that it is caused by natural forces such as; volcanoes and solar variations (Hayhoe par.9, 14). With these, this paper analyses some of the reasons given to show that; indeed, climate change is anthropogenic.
Assertions of Climate Change being Anthropogenic and Evaluation
The first assertion is by the Institute of Physics, whereby in a research conducted, there was a general consensus; that indeed, the current global warming is human caused. There was a general conviction that human activities heightened the rate of greenhouse gases such as, methane, carbon dioxide, and nitrous oxide; hence, causing climate change (Institute of Physics par. 1-2).
This is a rather preconceived notion considering that other natural activities such as water vapour, volcanic episodes, and solar variation cause climate changes. In this case, the report is not convincing and only seems to focus on one side while completely ignoring the natural side.
Additionally, the second assertion is related to a report presented by the IPCC, which indicated that there was a rise in the level of carbon dioxide in the air within the past 8,000 years and Miller and Spoolman’s work. According to IPCC, carbon dioxide has gone up; thus, it is sound to allege that climate change is anthropogenic (Global Greenhouse Warming par.5-6).
Similarly, Miller and Spoolman (10-11) indicate that, in a report released by the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, 1,360 professionals agreed that human activities have degraded around 60% of the earth’s ecosystem. Climate change has been linked to pollutant activities such as coal burning, industrial wastage, use of pesticides, and other toxic chemicals.
This is a highly biased assumption as the authors have failed to analyse the natural factors that might contribute to climate change. Although human activities cause global warming, it should not be assumed that other natural occurrences have no effect on climate.
The third assertion is by Farley who alleged that most of the Americans continue to argue that the burning of fossil fuels has recently contributed to global warming; thus, it is possible that climate change is human oriented and not necessarily natural (Farley par. 1). Most of the authors who agree that climate change is anthropogenic link the changes to greenhouse gases.
Others attribute the increase of carbon dioxide since industrialization to the cutting down of trees and fossil fuel burning. According to Farley, when carbon dioxide increases in the atmosphere, the earth warms by around 1.2 to roughly 1.3 degrees Celsius (Farley par. 7). It is obvious that most authors do agree that to some extent, climate change is caused by human activities.
However, to a large extent they have ignored the fact that it can also be caused by natural activities, such as, possible volcanoes and solar variability. In this case, it is imperative to have a closer look at contrarian to fully understand issues surrounding climate change.
Assertions of Climate Change not accelerating due to Human Activities and Evaluation
Claiming that climate change is purely anthropogenic is rather biased. It is obvious that though scholars believe that climate change can be caused by human activities, they also feel that this can also be directly caused by other aspects. For instance, although Farley believes that greenhouse gas has an effect on the climate, he also quotes other causes such as volcanoes and solar variability (Farley par. 8).
It is irrational to disapprove the view that man’s actions, for example, deforestation, have highly led to global warming. Nevertheless, alleging that climate change is caused only by human activities is an unfounded reasoning that should not be taken into account.
It is obvious from research that it is hard to pinpoint what exactly contributes to climate change. The first assertion is related to a research done by Alexander Cockburn, which indicated that in the era of the great depression, the burning of fuels reduced by roughly 30% (Farley par.9). Nevertheless, the concentration of carbon dioxide did not reduce.
With this, Cockburn opposes that the heightening of carbon dioxide in the air does not necessarily result from fossil fuels, but rather argues that water vapour is the major greenhouse gas causing climate change. Moreover, he argues that the increased concentration of carbon dioxide emanates from the ocean, and not necessarily from the burning of fuels.
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In this case, the heightening of carbon dioxide can be said to be natural and not anthropogenic (Farley par.9). Although the research is to some extent factual, it is rather prejudiced considering that the view that the burning of fossils also leads to an increase in carbon dioxide cannot be entirely dismissed.
The second assertion is that, during the cretaceous period, the surface temperature was as high as 6-8 degrees Celsius, and had nothing to do with human activities. In addition, research has brought out the occurrence of 10 naturally oriented glaciation events over the past 1million years. In this case, orbital alterations have contributed largely to climatic changes that are linked to glaciation.
Solar variability has also been found to affect climate. Solar radiation has been said to be directly related to the Northern Hemisphere’s surface temperature (Farley par.39).
Farley’s research is direct to the point and credible. However, reading the article one would be inclined to think that climate change is largely caused by natural activities. This is rather fallacious, considering that human activities that have led to pollution have vastly caused climate shifts.
The third assertion is that the occurring climate change has at times been argued not be anthropogenic. In a study conducted by sociology experts from Iowa State University on 5000 agriculturalists, it was revealed that sixty six percent believed that indeed climatic change was occurring, but only forty one percent believed that such changes were caused by man’s activities.
Most of the farmers believed El Nino and La Nina cycles to be largely responsible for the general climate changes (Curry par. 1-2). However, this is a biased and unpersuasive assertion.
This is because the same farmers who did not believe that climate changes are anthropogenic, are the same people who have been making concerted efforts to combat climate change by cutting back on fossil fuels, ensuring that there are cover crops, and reducing till farming (Curry par.7).
If they indeed believed that climate changes were not human oriented, they would not make efforts to come up with such strategies. Their beliefs and actions are highly contradictory thus it is rational to argue that both natural and human activities contribute to climate change.
Climate changes and global warming, which to a large extent stem from anthropogenic causes, pose as a grave threat to human beings, plants, and animals. However, it should not be assumed that climate changes are only caused by human activities. Other natural causes, such as, solar variability and volcanoes are also major contributors environmental and climate shifts.
Curry, Judith. Why Farmers don’t believe in Anthropogenic Global Warming. Judith Curry, 2013. Web.
Farley, John. The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming. Monthly Review, 2008.Web.
Global Greenhouse Warming. IPCC 4th Report, 2013. Web.
Hayhoe, Katharine. Climate Change: Anthropogenic or Not? Aitse, 2010.Web.
Institute of Physics. Study Reveals Scientific Consensus on Anthropogenic Climate Change. Institute of Physics, 2013. Web.
Miller, Tyler and S. Scott. Cengage Advantage Books: Sustaining the Earth, Kentucky: Cengage Learning, 2010. Print.