Global Warming Debate

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Category: Societal Issues

Date Submitted: 10/30/2010 10:40 PM

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In recent years, it has been virtually impossible to open a newspaper or turn on the television without coming across some references to global warming, a crisis that is gaining wider public attention. Day after day, the media are running big headlines of negative feedback from climate analysis, showing footage of natural disasters wreaking havoc, all summed up in a gloomy prediction of the Earth going to perish unless prompt action is taken. Yet what efforts can we humans really make when there is already an ongoing dispute over the causality of global warming? Amidst all the uncertainties, one automatically finds himself lost in the vast array of opinions on the subject, varying from sheer denial of any calamitous outcome to dire prophetic cries of doomsday looming round the corner. Indeed, understanding the incredible complexities of the Earth’s climate is no mean feat, even for experienced climatologists. Disappointingly, when mainstream scientists are trying their best to present the urgent situation to the public, a small group meanwhile keeps breeding misperceptions. Hence, the important first step in tackling this global issue must be to draw a fine line between reality and myths.

The principle of global warming can be briefly expounded in a few lines. When solar radiation enters the Earth’s atmosphere, about 70% of the Sun’s energy heats up the Earth while the rest is reflected back into space. Normally, due to greenhouse gases, a portion of the escaping infrared radiation is trapped under the atmosphere, maintaining our planet at hospitable warmth. The entire phenomenon is commonly known as “the greenhouse effect,” and the whole global warming crisis, in a nutshell, takes place when the amount of greenhouse gases suddenly gets intensified over the past decades, leading to a recent drastic surge in global temperature. In May 2006, Al Gore’s well-documented movie and book An Inconvenient Truth came out as a powerful alarm on global warming. In...