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Sea Ice is melting! Oceans are rising! Polar bears disappearing! It's global warming, experts say, and we are the cause of it. They predict temperatures are bound to rise to dangerous levels, if our modern, industrial society doesn't reduce the carbon dioxide it is spewing into the atmosphere. We need to make big changes in the way we live, or the world as we know it is going to come to an end. That's pretty scary! Could it be true?
Not so, say a growing number of sceptics within the general public as well as in the scientific community. They claim studies based on observations in the real world are increasingly challenging the assumptions behind computer modelling, which has been one of the main sources of proof for the current alarmism in climate science. In November 2009, their position was further strengthened, when evidence of data manipulation and other scientific malfeasance by the leading proponents of Anthropogenic Global Warming (AGW) became public via leaked emails and computer programming documents from the Climate Research Unit (CRU), University of East Anglia. It is still too early to determine what the fallout will be, but some commentators are predicting that the alarmists will be thoroughly discredited in the near future.
So what is Joe Average to believe? Are we really responsible for climate change, as Al Gore, David Suzuki and other gurus tell us, or is it a lot of balderdash based on faulty science? Thanks to the Internet, we can "listen in" to the very public debate on this issue. With a ringside seat for the interchange, we can be judge and jury all in one. Let’s see what we can learn.
There are two main camps. The global warming alarmists believe mankind is responsible for an apparent rise in temperatures around the world recently. They believe that this rise is due to increased emissions of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and that this increase has created an unprecedented green house heating effect. With projections acquired from computer modelling, they predict that the situation will only become worse, unless we reduce carbon emissions.
Their opponents are global warming sceptics, who admit that climate has warmed in the last two hundred years, but not because of human-induced carbon emissions, which they consider insignificant. Instead, they say the warming is part of a natural cycle of heating and cooling caused by fluctuations in solar activity and other factors that are still poorly understood. They reject climate models, claiming that nobody understands climate sufficiently well to be able to program any climate model correctly. They prefer actual observations and measurements of climatic patterns as an alternative.
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Last updated: December 10, 2009