Have We Lost the Battle to Reduce the Damage from Global Warming?

Global warming is too serious for the world any longer to ignore its danger or split into opposing factions on it. – TONY BLAIR, speech, Sept. 27, 2005

Global warming is indeed a scam, perpetrated by scientists with vested interests, but in need of crash courses in geology, logic and the philosophy of science. – MARTIN KEELEY, BBC News, Dec. 6, 2004

There is a divide in this debate that is as wide and deep as any canyon on earth. The talk recently became even more heated when a new set of statistics was released by the Global Carbon Project. It showed that carbon emissions from our planet had increased 5.9 percent between 2009 and 2010. A vigorous discussion has erupted on the internet regarding this announcement. Many are calling this one of the most important pieces of data in the last three centuries, since according to the New York Times it represented “almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution,” and that we’ve all but lost the battle to reduce the damage from global warming.

“What it means, in climate terms, is that we’ve all but lost the battle to reduce the damage from global warming,” writes blogger Bill McKibben. “The planet has already warmed about a degree Celsius; it’s clearly going to go well past two degrees. It means, in political terms, that the fossil fuel industry has delayed effective action for the 12 years since the Kyoto treaty was signed.”

The antithesis to this view is presented by Roy W. Spencer in The Great Global Warming Blunder. A former senior NASA climatologist, he claims that climate researchers have “mistaken cause and effect when analyzing cloud behavior and have been duped by Mother Nature into believing the Earth’s climate system is far more sensitive to human activities and carbon dioxide than it really is.”

Spencer’s argument is that recent changes in the planet’s temperature is not the fault of humans, but the result of chaotic, internal natural cycles that have been causing periods of warming and cooling for millennia. His book attempts to make a case that the burning of fossil fuels and its resultant carbon dioxide in the atmosphere may actually be beneficial for life on Earth. Spencer argues further that group-think behavior and misguided global warming policy proposals threaten the lives of millions of the world’s poorest, most vulnerable citizens.

Is global warming it the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on American citizens and others throughout the world? Or are the claims of scientists a valid warning of a disaster for which it may already be too late?

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