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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Global warming is a real problem

Published: March 14, 2008
Section: Opinions

This article is a direct rebuttal to an article that was written in the Justice last week calling global warming a hoax. I will address counterpoints in almost the same order that the originals were stated in.

The first point that was made concerned the perceived “Global Cooling” theory of the 1970’s. This is countered in the original article itself, by Mr. Ketchum. He stated that the Global warming statistics were the product of “supercomputers toiling away for months simulating the Earth’s climate”. Supercomputers did not come into wide use until 1972 when Cray Research. R&D produced the Cray-1™. Perhaps if one was used to crunch the numbers for NOAA researchers in the 1960’s and 70’s they might not have gotten the wrong idea in the first place. Furthermore, I could bring up a whole bunch of groovy facts that contradict modern theory, and, just because they exist does not mean that the present theories are wrong, it just proves that the antiquated theories are, well, antiquated.

Secondly, the idea that it is “unscientific” to accept a well-publicized, validated scientific theory may be true. Why not, NASA can continue to see if the sun is the center of the universe, disprove gravity, show that the world may be flat, all while looking at satellite images of melting polar ice caps (the last part is a bit of a dramatization, NASA scientists are awesome, but they can’t multi task quite that well).

As for the inaccuracies of the weatherman, he is not always on the money. However, there is a very important distinction that must be made here. There is a very big difference between predicting weather patterns and climate change. Weather patterns refer to everyday metrological occurrences which are subject to wind currents, oceanic currents, etc. Climate changes are larger overarching changes in regional meteorological characteristics, like arctic increasing by several degrees over the course of several decades.

One final point in need of a good rebuttal is the one that compares the Iraq war and an “Inconvenient Truth”. Al Gore’s “unsubstantiated” environmental “crusade” (using Mr. Ketchum’s word) killed a lot fewer people than President Bushes’ unsubstantiated invasion of Iraq. This point has little to do with the environment, but it just had to be said.

Now I will break my satirical diatribe and throw in a little science, why not, it is after all the crux of this rebuttal (oops I may have lied about the sarcasm). According to a study published by NASA GISS (that’s the National Aeronautics and Space Administration Goddard Institute for Space Studies) reports that 2007 was tied with 1998 for being the warmest year of the past century. Furthermore, the study continues to explain that this is part of an almost 30 year trend. Another study done by the same guys at NASA GISS implicate heightened levels of carbon dioxide and methane produced by humans is having a negative affect on the global climate. In all fairness, the article also implicates volcanoes as being a large producer of CO2, but seeing as how they predate the “recent” temperature increase by several billion years you really can’t blame them.

In a 2007 report published by the a United Nations scientific panel on climate Change, reported that “evidence of a warming trend is ‘unequivocal,’ and that human activity has ‘very likely’ attributed to it”. Still not convinced? Ok, the Nobel Prize Committee was. So much so, that they gave Gore and his UN panel the Nobel Peace Prize in recognition of their efforts to bring awareness to the growing climate change issue.

If that is not convincing enough, I encourage you to type “Global Warming” into your favorite search engine and read the results. There are literally tens of thousands of articles out there professing the imminent threat that Global Warming poses. Whether or not you want to listen to the likes of Stephen Hawking who cautions that if humans are not careful, the earth may begin to resemble her neighbor Venus, I believe that singer/song writer Bob Dylan said it best back in 1963 when he said, “Come gather ’round people wherever you roam, and admit that the waters around you have grown and accept it that soon you’ll be drenched to the bone. If your time to you is worth savin,’ then you better start swimmin’ or you’ll sink like a stone, for the times they are a-changin.’ –But whatever you believe, please recycle this paper when you’re done with it!