Are humans causing global warming?
- What is global warming
- Arguments for, first piece
- Arguments for, second piece
- Arguments against, first piece
- Arguments against, second piece
- Comparing the arguments
- Comparing the arguments
Global warming refers to the rising average temperature of the earth’s atmosphere which in turn causes a change in climate; we can prove this as in the last 100 years the earth’s average surface temperature has increase by about 0.8˚c with about two thirds of the increase occurring over just the last three decades.
For decades scientists have been trying to figure out what is causing global warming, they have looked at natural cycles and events that are known to alter climate. But the amount and pattern of global warming can’t be explained by these factors alone. The only way to explain the pattern is to include the effect of greenhouse gases emitted by humans.
The greenhouse effect is the warming that happens when certain gases in the earth’s atmosphere trap heat. Sunlight shines onto the earth’s surface, where it is absorbed and then radiates back into the atmosphere as heat, the rest escapes into space. The more greenhouse gases are in the atmosphere the more the heat gets trapped. The greenhouse effect is what makes the earth’s climate livable, without it the earth earth’s surface would be about 15˚c cooler. However if the greenhouse effect continues to increase then consequences will follow. Some of the impacts of rising temperatures have already taken place;
- Ice is melting worldwide, especially at the Earth’s poles. As well as mountain glaciers, ice sheets covering west Antarctica and Greenland, and artic sea ice.
- Sea level rise became faster over the last century.
- On average precipitation has increased across the globe.
If warming continues these more serious effects could take place;
- Sea levels are expected to rise between 7 and 23 inches by the end of the century.
- Hurricanes, floods and droughts are likely to become more common.
- Less fresh water will be available.
- Ecosystems will change- some species will move further north, others won’t be able to move and could be extinct.
This graph from NASA proves that global warming is taking place. The average temperature has increased dramatically since the 19th century.
Arguments for humans causing global warming
Many scientists strongly believe that global warming is a cause that humans have created and the evidence as follows supports that.
First piece of evidence
“Humanity is emitting nearly twice as much CO2 as ends up remaining in the atmosphere. Our actions are having a significant impact on the composition of our atmosphere.”
These pieces of evidence were taken from
This article shows that over the last 200 years c02 levels have increased dramatically, this was caused by the overuse of resources from humans. The graph has two lines one showing the total co2 emissions and one showing the atmospheric co2 levels, this proves that global warming is caused by human’s not natural causes.
In the late 19th century there was a dramatic rise in the line, this also happened to be the time when scientific breakthroughs were taking place. The start of the rising of co2 emissions was caused by a number of things. Cars were invented in 1769, however it was very rare for someone to have a car as they were very expensive and not many had been made, around the 1890’s cars became cheaper and more could afford them, so because of the cars producing carbon dioxide, the levels of carbon dioxide would rise.
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Another cause of the sudden increase of the carbon dioxide levels could well of been due to the use of industrial machinery, this would have been because of the manufacturers would have needed to produce larger quantities of items quicker and faster, meaning that the use of carbon dioxide would have increased because of this excessive use.
A final possible reason why the total co2 emissions suddenly rose is that the war started in 1914, around the time of the increased carbon dioxide levels, so the demand of equipment suddenly grew, so factories had to work harder to keep up with the demands, so they would have to be working every day, therefore the c02 levels increased.
So these put together would have made the line increase dramatically.
The line gets steeper throughout the years, this is because of the advanced technology we have nowadays, everything that we do and use, produces carbon dioxide.
Second piece of evidence
The Planetsave website states that there are a number of different ways humans cause global warming. It states that:
- “Since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have been using fossil fuels to power machines. Now nearly everything you consume, nearly every product you buy, and many of your daily activities, involve the use of fossil fuels.”
- “To allow humans to eat drink and basically do anything, they need to use fossil fuels, ignoring the alternative supplies.”
- “The population of the world is increasing by 72 million every year so the requirement is much larger.”
This data and statements were taken from
The first piece says that “since the beginning of the industrial revolution, humans have been using fossil fuels to power machines. Now nearly everything you consume, nearly every product you buy, and many of your daily activities, involve the use of fossil fuels.” This shows that humans need fossil fuels in order to provide and create the valuable items that we need to live. We use so much fossil fuel because they are the best and cheapest option, so therefore we use them for practically everything, even if this means damaging the world. Most humans don’t know what effect everyday life has on the environment, for example travelling in your car every day, releases large amounts of carbon monoxide, which is harmful to the world.
The second piece says that “To allow humans to eat drink and basically do anything, they need to use fossil fuels, ignoring the alternative supplies.” The sentence says similar facts to the previous piece, demonstrating that humans only use what is easiest and does the job best. It includes a strong point that we need to use fossil fuels to survive; implicating that as long as humans live, there will be global warming. It portrays a different view on the matter however, saying that humans are not concerned about environment and wish to leave the situation as it is until it worsens. The statement says that humans need fossil fuels to eat drink and basically do anything, which is true as to eat the food has to be transported and manufactured, and that burns fossil fuels. The statement also suggest that humans could use the energy sources that do not harm the environment, such as wind power and solar power, however these are thought to be less effective than using fossil fuels.
The final piece in the article read “The population of the world is increasing by 72 million every year so the requirement is much larger.” This suggests that the very large contributor to global warming is that the population is growing faster than ever before. So therefore more people to cater for; more houses to build, more food to be made and more cars on the road. So we can see that the growing population is part of global warming.
This three pieces support the argument that humans are causing global warming because without humans none of this would be happening.
Arguments against humans causing global warming
Whilst some believe that humans are the only cause of global warming, others feel that there are other larger contributors to this natural matter. The evidence that follows supports this.
First piece of evidence
This article was taken from
- “Climate change is part of a cycle of warming and cooling that has happened regularly every 1,500 years for the last million years.”
- “We have a greenhouse theory with no evidence to support it, except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events.”
The first piece says that “Climate change is part of a cycle of warming and cooling that has happened regularly every 1,500 years for the last million years.” This suggests that humans have nothing to do with it, and that the earth is on the warming part of the cycle and will start cooling down again.
The second part of the article says that “We have a greenhouse theory with no evidence to support it, except a moderate warming turned into a scare by computer models whose results have never been verified with real-world events.” This suggests that the greenhouse theory is not true, that computer models have made into a worry and that no one has proved that it’s true. This supports the argument that humans are not causing global warming as it says that they are not certain the greenhouse effect is true.
Second piece of evidence
This article is taken from
- “How did the ice ages end? They ended by a rise in temperature of the earth, but it was obviously not caused by humans since, well, we didn’t have the technology to cause such a rise in greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, there is evidence of 4 such ice ages in the last 2 million years with humans with humans only being around for the latest one occurring roughly 10,000 years ago. This suggests that the global climate does naturally change over years.”
- “When it gets cold as it did during the ice ages, the air clears allowing for more sunlight and heat to penetrate the atmosphere thus causing a rise in temperature. When the temperature rises, the glaciers recede, this means there is more water and a higher sea level. As the temperature rises, more gases are allowed into the atmosphere and it continues to heat until something happens (whether it’s just a ton of gases in the air or say, it gets so hot that there are volcanic eruptions that pour ash into the atmosphere or a completely unrelated event such as a meteor strike) that causes the sun to get blocked out for a long enough period of time that the Earth again begins to cool, sometimes cold enough to cause another ice age.”
It is clear that the article has scientific facts that may mean global warming is naturally caused. The first section suggests that whilst humans may contribute to global warming, natural actions are more overwhelming. The author is implying that before humans existed global warming still took place. as the ice ages took place thousands of years ago, it is obvious that the humans alive 10,000 years ago would not have been as adapted and suited to the habitat, so it is clear that they would have had only handmade items to survive. Cavemen were the first civilisation of human kind; they had nothing and were forced to survive in a world which appeared a lot different to nowadays. As they had only handmade items to survive there was no greenhouse gases being produced, but the temperature still rose, so there has been global warming before and that was no caused by humans, so this time global warming could no be caused by humans. This supports the arguments against humans causing global warming as it proves that global warming has happens without humans alive, so it could be natural causes again.
The second section explains how the sudden rise in temperature would have taken place. The author believes that this can be explained by the natural causes of the ice age and the resulting effects that they had on the planet. It shows and explains how the ice age began and then the process of ending it. This supports this side of the argument because it provides detailed scientific evidence that can be used to base an opinion on with ease. Also because using scientific events that have already taken place proves its truthful, this means his point has been backed up with very useful information.
Comparing the arguments
Each piece of evidence I have used in this assignment has helped create my own personal view on the matter, the sources enable my opinion to be more accurate whilst also being based on knowledge that is true. Some of the sources were more helpful than others, however each article provided a different point. This allows my own view to be variable to each side and then I can justify my side of the argument.
The first piece of evidence I used was from a website called sceptical science, I used a graph and some data, the graph showed to lines of data, the first showing the amount of carbon dioxide released by humans and one showing the total amounts of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. It can be seen from the graph that both of the lines are very similar and share the same trend. This means that the amount of carbon dioxide being produced by humans is very similar to the amount being produced by everything, so this shows that humans are the main contributors towards the greenhouse effect. The evidence that I also included in this piece showed that the data recorded was very accurate; this means that I know it is truthful and not exaggerated. This supports the statement that humans cause global warming. This is done by the site using a graph that can only show one thing that as the co2 levels rise so does the amount produced by humans. This therefore shows that we are the main cause of carbon dioxide emissions.
The second piece of evidence I used was from a website called Planetsave. The article was mainly talking about how humans need the resources that emit carbon dioxide, to survive. It also showed that humans emit fossil fuels in everyday life and in almost everything they do. This piece of evidence supports the statement that humans are causing global warming. This is done by the article proving that humans need to produce carbon to enable them to survive. This means that to support the human race, a massive amount of fossil fuels are released by humans and they then continue to absorb the heat produced from the earth. This supports the side of the argument by showing the amount of co2 produced by humans it substantially more than a natural cause.
Switching to the arguments against humans causing global warming, the first piece of evidence claimed that the earth is part of a cycle of warming and cooling 1,500 years, this has been going on for millions of years. It also went on to say that the greenhouse effect doesn’t actually exist. This supports the statement humans are not causing global warming because, it says that the earth is on a warming part of a cycle and soon it will cool down again and that there is no evidence that the greenhouse effect is taking place.
The second piece was an article that tried to show that global warming was a natural occurring weather type and not influenced by humans, it also mentioned that in the past there has been increases of temperatures which were not linked to greenhouse effect. This supports the argument that humans are not causing global warming because it uses data and evidence that shows global warming has happens before when humans were not around, so it can’t be caused by humans.
As for the best quality evidence, both sides has useful information, however I believe the evidence which is for humans causing global warming provides stronger evidence. I think this because each article has very strong facts that are more useful. The graph was the most useful piece of evidence, with the comparison of has much carbon dioxide we emit and how much overall. The other side also had some good evidence but it wasn’t as relevant.
After researching each side of the argument in great detail I have come to the conclusion that humans are causing global warming. I feel this for a number of different reasons, one being that the information was much more useful and reliable, also that the graph clearly displayed that humans were causing global warming. The second piece of evidence also helped me make my decision as it showed how we need fossil fuels for everything and so we were them so much, that an incredible amount of carbon dioxide was being produced.