The second theory we looked at was whether the sun is the cause of climate change. Scientists believe that the sun is at its hottest point that it has ever has been over the past 1000 years, meaning that the sun rays reaching our planet are more intense and have more heat energy, therefore heating up the earth’s surface temperature. As it takes the sun’s energy so long to reach our planet, it has taken scientists this long to find out that the sun is actually increasing, and any major changes that happen now on our sun will take another 1000 or so years for us to find out about, simply because the sun is so far away from us.
Because the sun is continuously heating up, the energy reaching our planet will always be getting hotter. Scientists are unable to accurately prove whether it is the sun’s increasing temperature or the increasing amounts of CO2 that are responsible for the climate change. (Diagrams).
If this theory is correct then there is nothing that human kind can do to reverse the effects of global warming and the millions being spent on attempts to decrease greenhouses gasses are pointless.
As the sun is moving toward the end of its life it is slowly becoming ready to form a red giant. Meaning that the sun will expand many times its original size, but it will also become much colder in the process. This happens because as the original hydrogen which it was created from is being used up, forming heavier elements. Although the sun will eventually significantly cool down, it will expand first, causing earth to heat up, as the heat from the sun will have less distance to travel, because the sun is bigger. This cannot be absolutely proven because the sun is so far away and it takes so long for us to notice any changes. (change slide)
Because of its implications, if accurate, this theory has been forcefully pushed out of the spotlight and if it is the sun that is causing this change in temperature then dramatic changes in our climate are inevitable and unpreventable. This is a very scary thought and would frighten humanity as it gives us the feeling of helplessness, as there is nothing we do can delay or avoid this future. However, if this theory didn’t have a big emphasis on fact then it would have been completely forgotten and disregarded long ago. But because it hasn’t disappeared, it must be good science; therefore we cannot disregard it, but must think of the implications of it being true. It is clear that if we look at something from a different angle/perspective we can find new hidden meaning within it and new hope or fear buried inside it. This perspective on Global warming has a greater basis in fact to the previous cause, and thus it is interesting to note that the previous is the most common view- could it perhaps be down to the media? It is hard in a sense to decide what information is fact, and what is just indoctrination into a ‘happier’ idea. ☺(change slide)
A third theory is that the climate change that we are experiencing is due to the recession of the most recent ice age; the Pleistocene ice age. The present ice age began 40 million years ago with the growth of an ice sheet in the Antarctica which intensified during the Pleistocene period which began around 3 million years ago. Since then the glaciers and ice sheets have been retreating and there are few glaciers left, e.g. the Columbian ice field and the glaciers in the Alps.
The earth has been through numerous ice ages and dramatic climate changes during its history and there is reason to suggest that the current global warming is just end of the last ice age. As before this may lead to changes to the world as we know it, species may become extinct, e.g. polar bears due to loss of habitat, and glacier meltwater will cause a rise in sea levels, leading to the loss of huge economically essential cities such as London, New York and Washington D.C which lie just 10 metres above sea level. Although, this is also a side effect of any global warming theory as they all result in the rise in sea levels.
The disappearance of the ice sheets over the artic will also make the Gulf Stream disappear, the Gulf Stream is important as it brings warm water up from the Tropics giving Europe its temperate climate. This will also result from any of the global warming theories but it is most relevant to this theory as it suggests the melting of the glaciers is a cause, rather than an effect, of global warming. (change slide
This theory is more popular than the sun causing climate change; however, it still has similar issues to the sun theory. It takes the focus off us, and places the fate of our earth in other hands. The issue of selective truth and different perspectives on a subject has an effect in all areas of knowledge, for example history. History is written by the winners, meaning that the losing countries or empires may have had very different views and it may be the case that truths have been stretched out of proportion, or even completely ignored. So the question we are left with is how do we know what to believe? And the answer isn’t very satisfying. In reality we cannot be everywhere at once to watch for bias in experiments; to be able to accurately tell what year a war finished we would have to be there to witness it. Realistically we don’t even know to what extent the ‘truth’ is exaggerated in a tabloid newspaper. The result is that we rely on global sources of information to obtain understanding and hopefully to gain some truth. The Internet, the television, newspapers, radio, and books are all widely used sources that, when cross-referenced, can give us a good idea of the events both now and in the past. However, there is STILL bias in these sources, just as there is bias when asking a person about these things. This is down to the fact that most people write articles to give the spin that they, their boss, the government, or the general public will most like. The result of these different perspectives in media and other sources is a stretching of information, so that it is uncertain where the real accurate stories lie. The best we can really do is to scan all the pieces of information, and compare them to each other to collect the common facts. This is why it is very hard to sieve through the false predictions on global warming to find the true answer. (change slide)
A large influence in our understanding of global warming is the way in which Global Warming is presented in the media. The first theory is most often in the media, partly because it is the easiest idea to understand and it gives hope that there is a way to save the planet from its fate. Plus, it’s just generally better known. The other two theories are less well known as the media chooses not to advertise it as much. Even among the scientific world, these two theories are given little credit however given the evidence that there is from studying the earth’s past and the changes and the global events that took place, it is more creditable to believe that global warming is a natural occurrence. The majority of the people in developed countries refer to the media for information in one way or another; newspapers, news on the television or radio, the internet, and despite many media sources are supposed to be realistic, many of them are biased to one point of view over another, effecting our own opinions.
The Media is a dangerous thing. It can highlight different perspectives, or project false information into societies. For example one of the key tools of a dictator, or a similar state, is to use media to indoctrinate the public onto their side. Schoolbooks were given an anti-Jewish spin under Goebbels’ propaganda campaign. Radio stations played Hitler’s speeches over and over again; books that argued with any of his views of policies were burnt; and the Olympic Games hosted during his time were even meant to emphasize Aryan superiority. The point is that when media is blackened by propaganda and indoctrination, the result is a complete eclipse of truth and fact, so that even the most basic of your knowledge could turn out to be wrong. The scientific facts presented before us may emphasize man’s part in global warming and make us feel bad for polluting, however, it is still the most comforting idea because we have a chance (however small) to change the fate of our world. The other theories are less publicised by the media because they are harder to believe, as it is very scary. It means that even though the world has been going through this cycle for an untold amount of centuries, we will still probably change our lifestyles drastically. It may include having to not only move into places such as Antarctica, but also having to watch our greatest cities, monuments, military bases etc. being destroyed by either rising tides, or scorching climates. (change slide)
There are other sources from which scientists can learn about Global Warming, for example from studying the ice in the Artic and Antarctic we can tell how much oxygen, nitrogen and carbon there was in the atmosphere millions of years ago by just looking at how much of these elements there are in the ice. An example of what can be learnt by looking at the ice is that scientists have learnt of ancient tropical forests that lie fossilised below the ice from about 50 million years ago. Also by studying rock and land formations we can learn of major natural disasters, such as the rock formations left behind from an ancient volcano in southwest China tell us what was happening in the climate 250 million years ago. The evidence found from looking at the earth’s history suggests that global warming is not a new concept but is perhaps a reoccurring event, and from studying the land formations we can suggest what the future holds for us. These resources for predicting the planet’s future are both more scientifically believable and reliable.
Unlike natural resources, human records are much more unreliable because the records we have made on the climate only stretch back to the late 1650s so cannot be seen as very reliable resources as they do not account for changes before this date. From looking at the records it may seem that the hottest summers have been over the passed few years, but what about the climate before records began? Had summer temperatures increased then? We also don’t know what has been missed out from these records, for example if a river flooded regularly, then this may have been thought unnecessary to be recorded, whereas this could be very important information now to aid our understanding in Global Warming.
However nothing is certain and scientists may be wrong, as science is forever advancing, but one thing is certain, that the world is changing and that it can not be escaped, but to what extent the world will change scientists can not be sure. (change slide)
Global warming is of increasing importance because if effect us in our everyday life. Many of us have cars (glare at Ben, India and Lottie), we also use computers and watch televisions and have a range of electrical appliances is our houses and in school. These all require electricity, or oil for cars, which our made in a non-environmentally friendly manner. (Burning fossil fuels produces high amount of carbon emissions, increasing green house effect).
Rolo’s conclusion!!! It’s violent =)
Changing perspectives are difficult to accept fully, as many people have a set point of view and have difficulty exploring different theories and admitting that they might be true as well. This is often because of human nature and isn’t consciously our fault. However it’s important to broaden our horizons♥ and to look into alternative reasons as this allows us to learn more about ourselves and our planet.
Different perspectives allow us to explore different solutions and outcomes to a situation, enabling us a better understanding of the knowledge issue. This helps us predict the most likely future as it shows we have considered all possibilities.
However it is often hard to know what to believe with all the theories available. One theory can sound more logical and “safe” to believe but can be less scientifically correct, for example it is generally believed that the greenhouse effect is the cause of global warming, however if we dig a little deeper the more scientific, “harder” to understand theories begin to emerge, for example that it is actually the sun or past atmospheric changes which may be the cause. These theories are more difficult to accept because they are not the reasons we would expect or predict to be the cause, not necessarily because they are more complex science.
The media also has an influence in what we believe because it exploits some ideas more than others. The more “comfortable” theories and narrow mindedness can often cause our perception of truth to blur.
Fear can also so play on our emotions, as fear has a large influence on our actions and beliefs. The idea that the end of the world, as we know it, is nigh is, in reality, a terrifying idea. That fact there is nothing we can do about it is even scarier. Blame can be a way of softening the condemned future, as if we blame ourselves, from using too much CO2, climate change is a lot easier to accept. By blaming ourselves it is easier to say “I don’t care” and we can say it’s our fault and we will get what we deserve. But to say it is actually the sun’s ever increasing temperature and the result of the recession of an ice age, is scary and leaves us with a sense of helplessness and a loss of hope.
Just because there is “proof” for a theory doesn’t necessarily mean it is true. If you correlate the number of crimes and the number of policemen in a number of towns, and crime increases as does the number of policemen, does it mean it is the increased number of policemen that cause the extra crime? No. Just because there is a relationship between two sets of data, doesn’t mean they are directly related. Therefore just because temperature increases as does the amount of CO2 emissions, doesn’t prove it is actually the increase in CO2 which is causing the temperature rise.
Despite the fact we aren’t certain of what is causing global warming, there is strong evidence to suggest that the climate is getting warmer and that there is no escaping some climate change. It is inescapably clear that this is happening, however the reason and our part in it is not clear.