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    Is 'Global Warming" just a lot of hot air?

    Many eminent scientists claim that we are heading for disaster - are they right, or wrong?

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    Should we worry about renewable energy?

    Is it really a long term solution? Will it ever be economically viable?

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    Are we doing the right thing for future generations?

    Is man-made global warming a proven fact, and if so is it really such a threat to us?

Is Man-Made Global Warming For real?
Global warming, the theory that human activity has caused a change in the composition of Earth's atmosphere and hence temperature, has become a fierce topic of debate over the past few decades. Charges of scientific failure, reactionary tactics and outright character attacks have become commonplace in a discussion which has become entangled with emotional, political and industrial undertones to create a complex and often confusing situation.
Are Natural Causes Responsible?
The tangled web of climate change debate is further complicated by the interplay of factors which cause fluctuations in the planet's temperature, such as solar activity, oceanic reflection and planetary orbit, all of which have historically been part of the Earth's natural cycle of warming and cooling. The validity of the theory of man-made global warming rests in separating these factors from human action: no easy task for a relatively new area of science. With the attempted application of observed data recorded from, at most, hundreds of years (alongside new, passive methods such as ice core measures) to processes that span hundreds of thousands of years, the global warming debate is one that necessarily results in predictions.
Where does CO2 come into all this?
The impact of atmospheric carbon dioxide on global temperature (the greenhouse effect) has been known since 1824's discovery by Joseph Fourier. Further advances followed, cumulating in Arrhenius' 1896 research proving the historical relation between CO2 and temperature. The Swedish scientist suggested coal burning may further advance the situation, with the first evidence to support the idea emerging in 1938. The debate regarding fossil fuel use has developed from an initially benign assumption to the negative implications suggested today.

Carbon dioxide levels have risen above levels not seen in 650,000 years, indicating a trend that is man-made. NASA's report is based on analysis of ice-cores (extracting ancient frozen samples of the planet's atmosphere from glaciers) and shows the cyclical nature of CO2 distribution, ranging from lows of 180 parts per million to highs of 280/300 PPM. The most current sample of our atmosphere shows a level of 400PPM. This rise has been accepted by both sides of the issue as caused by human activity, with the debate focusing rather on the impact of this distribution.

Temperature has followed a similar, if less easily measured, path. The difficulty in temperature measurement methods is in accurately deducing global trends due to the extreme variability in location, as opposed to the more universal distribution of greenhouse gasses. Subsequently, researchers only have comprehensive data from 1880 onwards. The general consensus, with 1951-1980 as a mean, is an average rise of around 0.76 degrees Celsius. This rise, as a global average, is highly variable, with the northern and southern poles experiencing rises of around 2 degrees Celsius and others experiencing slight falls. Evidence suggest that a global average rise of around 2 degrees Celsius may be the turning point, where animal and plant life are unable to adapt quickly enough, possibly implying a mass extinction.

These results, alongside the more local reports of rising sea levels, acidic oceans and changes to flora and fauna distribution, have convinced 97 to 100% (based on surveys by the Royal Society and US National Academy of Science) of scientists working within climate change that human impact is contributing negatively to climate change. This scientific near-unamious decision has led to international efforts to limit fossil fuel use and plans to limit the effects of global warming, with the vast majority of countries voluntary agreeing to the principle of negative human impact and the need to address the issue.
The Opposing View
Global warming deniers have traditionally been most numerous in high-emission developed countries, such as Australia and America, where the impact of restraint in terms of industry would be most apparent. A tradition of doubt-sowing and results-denouncing has been especially prevalent in the US due to the history of lobbying by powerful industries. Global warming has been known to fossil fuel companies since the 1970s, with economic attempts to influence opinion following almost immediately.

In a trend compared by some to tobacco companies' attempts to derail health regulation, funding has been consistently offered to scientists willing to offer debate against the prevailing acceptance of global warming: the American Enterprise Institute, noted collection of global warming scientist deniers, received $1.6 million from Exxon. The Institute then went on to offer consultants to President George W. Bush regarding the nature of global warming and the US green policy. The Royal Society also found that Exxon gave $2.9 million to other groups with the explicit aim to "misinform the public about climate change", sparking outrage and demands to end the practice. This method appears to have worked to a certain extent, with population polls decreasing in acceptance of man-made global warming while scientific consensus grows.

With increasing global efforts to tax carbon producers and limit usage, certain right-wing politics have become entwined with the global warming debate. Tony Abbott's recent Australian government focused on limiting green policies and extending fossil fuel use, finding success with residents of the highly taxed and increasingly unconcerned country. Professor John Christy of the University of Alabama, while accepting the role of human impact in global atmosphere changes, equates limits on fuel usage with an affront on freedom and democracy, a viewpoint shared by a number of American global warming deniers or questioners. A more recent accusation is that predictions of rises in temperature have been inaccurate; however, this claim is based on the small sample size of recent years rather than the overall curve, and fails to answer the retort that the hottest ten years recorded have been all since 1998, with the hottest ever in 2014.

Conclusions
International acceptance, based on the Kyoto agreement, has led to the majority of nations implementing attempts to limit global warming. Evidence has become increasingly complete, including observed natural changes, the evacuation of island populations due to rising sea levels, coral reef destruction and increased extreme cases of weather. Scientists working on the situation are unified in their belief that human activity is causing climate change, but a fierce minority still maintain objections or outright denial. In what may be seen as a manufactured debate via industry involvement, or perhaps an economic rejection of the methods used to combat climate change, global warming objectors continue to voice strong opinions, mainly in the style of rejection of evidence or doubt regarding the overall impact. However, with little evidence to support the claims, majority population consensus in developed countries and the potential catastrophic effects of global warming if left unchallenged, man-made climate change appears to have a stronger possibility of truth than any alternative.
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