9/20/2011

Global Warming

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Global Warming


Global warming is an important issue for humans to consider and science to figure out. Personally I don’t care very much about global warming and have never been active in green movements. The evidence presented in this class is very informative and useful when taking into account the numerous known and unknown causes and cures for global warming. However, my attitude towards global warming is unchanged.


According to the Common Attitudes Toward Global Warming handout I think that my attitude can be described as a mix between several of the listed attitudes. The strongest attitude I have is the Precautionary Principal. It is clear to most of the scientific community that the average temperature of the earth’s surface is increasing. I have faith in science; therefore I believe that steps should be taken to figure out what is going on. I don’t mean taking an alarmist position and believing that drastic actions should be taken now. There is too little evidence showing that the world will be lost because of global warming. I don’t feel a responsibility toward future generations. I think that mankind should go on for a long time enjoying nature as I have all my life. But to blame myself or try to hold others accountable to future generations would be a waste of time for me. I believe that a technological fix will be necessary and has already been employed to help reduce or reverse global warming. Searching for cleaner burning fuels, filters and scrubbers used in power plants, and refrigerant systems using CFC free refrigerants are just three examples of how technology has helped and will continue to help our atmosphere and environment.


The amounts of question and uncertainties covered in this class have been most influential in reinforcing my attitudes and beliefs about global warming. There are too many unknowns for me to get committed and really take an activist position on global warming. The missing CO problem is an issue that helped me determine there are too many unknowns to really care enough to try to make a difference.


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The recent rise in global average temperatures is interesting at best for me. I am not too concerned by the possible impacts like a rise in sea level or adverse effects to human health; since I am years old it is unlikely to effect me during my lifetime. I’m more concerned that global cooling will occur due to a massive volcanic eruption. Take the world’s largest caldera which makes up Yellowstone National Park. If it erupts again it could kick off another ice age or even destroy the earth forever. Or maybe there will be major volcanic eruptions, like Mt. Pinatubo in 11, more frequently that will help balance the earth’s heat budget by, “…inject(ing) sub microscopic particles in(to) the stratosphere...” which can “…act to cool the earth’s surface by scattering and absorbing solar radiation.” According to the discovery channel the frequency of volcanic eruptions is increasing. This is just another reason I don’t get all worked up about the global warming issue.


Climate models are important to us, clearly they are not perfectly accurate but we need to keep trying. The evidence suggests that computer models are getting better as computers operate faster and as feedbacks are better understood. I think that in the future predictions will get better but they will still be predictions which can have unpredicted outcomes. I think that impact studies are good to an extent. They are still predictions and it is important that people who use them to make decisions regarding the affects of climate change on humans and ecosystems understand that impact studies are not necessarily fact. Any decisions to act, not to act, spend or not to spend based on climate models and impact studies should be done very carefully.


I think the U.S. government should force corporations that are known to be responsible for releasing greenhouse gas emissions to reduce them. However, I think it will be difficult to do without any reliable data to prove that the greenhouse effect is the cause of global warming. Corporations will inevitably resist the proposed costs necessary to reduce emissions which may lead to costly legal battles. Without rock solid proof it will be nearly impossible to change the status quo. This is another reason why continued research with climate models must continue. When a reliable enough model is available then and only then can corporations be forced to act. The auto industry is making steps to produce cars with reduced emissions and that use alternative fuels. Unfortunately most individual consumers seem to want the big gas guzzling SUV’s. But research is being done that may lay the groundwork for laws that require new vehicles to have much lower greenhouse emissions.


I am not willing to do a single thing to help reduce greenhouse gasses. I race my car and I hate the fact that I have to get emission testing done to my vehicle every couple of years. Race cars that are not street legal are exempt from many of the regulations regarding emissions. However, my street car is also my race car at track events on weekends. There are ways to get around the emission and catalytic converter issue, which I do and have done for the past 1 years. I remove the catalytic converter and emissions equipment which increases horsepower and torque; which every race car driver wants. But when I get the notice in the mail to get the car emission tested I put the stock emissions equipment back on. It is a cost that I have learned to accept but I still don’t like it. When my personal liberties are limited by the government I usually do not appreciate it, especially regarding my love for the internal combustion engine and my drive to make it faster, no matter how much fuel I burn. But there is another prong to my beliefs about global warming and greenhouse emissions. For the past 5 years I’ve spent six months out of the year on a fishing boat in the NE Atlantic. I don’t want to see fish populations decrease or move somewhere else because the oceans rising temperature. But in the last 5 years I have fished I have seen the fish populations increase. I believe that the fishing regulations are responsible for that. I feel that I don’t want bad things to happen to wildlife because of global warming. On the other hand I may be contributing to global warming with my blatant disregard for governmental regulations regarding emissions testing; very strange. But the truth is that I’m not convinced that the earth’s surface will continue to warm indefinitely, if we as humans don’t change our ways.


I will be a follower and an individual on the issue of global warming. I don’t ridicule any body seriously for their opinions or stance regarding the environment. I just hope that decisions that will cost people money are made wisely.





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