OSEA Safety Blog

Global Warming and Climate Change

Thursday, September 12, 2019 Julia Costa and John Coniglio

There are multiple opinions to the questions… Is climate change real or a myth? What causes climate change? What is the number one source of global warming? Though we may never find out the exact answers, many people have picked a side and are fighting for that choice today. Politicians, scientists, environmentalists; they all want their findings to be heard.

Completing some research, I found one survey of peer reviewed literature that states, “ 97% of climate-study papers agree that global warming is real and that humans are the cause”. Without questioning the accuracy of the study, you can find a large number of alternate opinions, many of which simply question the data used to formulate the opinion. “Hot Talk, Cold Science” by S. Fred Singer and the article “Climate Change, What’s So Alarming” by Bjorn Lomborg, are just two of many published. Arguments that factories, cars, and trucks polluting our air, are major points for this side of the discussion. Scholarly papers that explore this theory often conclude humans are the major cause over the past 100 years. Global warming is certainly a topic needing exploration. Is it occurring, is 0.5 degree F the number and over how many years? Are humans increasing global warming because of the greenhouse effect. As time goes on, our greenhouse gas emissions seem to keep increasing, a possible cause of our planet's ice to melt. Or, is it melting in one area and actually increasing ice in other areas?

Although human's activity seems to be a cause of our climate change, there are also a couple natural causes as well. The most common causes are the 11 year solar cycle and volcanic activity. And, although both of these tend to be true in some aspect, the consequences of these events need to be studied further to gauge their impact. Volcanos erupting can let off CO2 in the atmosphere. Yet, is additional CO2 good for plant growth? As for the belief that the sun has something to do with it, there has been no net increase in temperature changes from solar energy since 1950. It is fair, however, to argue that the sun’s energy output can cause the climate to change since it runs our system. Methane increases from cattle, rice farming, CO2 emissions from energy plants, and removal of forest growth are human controlled events which would be difficult to remove from concern as to impact. Removal of forestry itself would seem to have a definitive impact since they use the increasing CO2 to generate O2! Having less cattle has an impact on food supply and rice is a staple worldwide.

No matter what the cause is, there are things we can do to prevent further damage. I think we could all agree that our Earth deserves to be treated better. Less pollution by riding bikes or walking places that are close can help along with recycling to keep plastics out of our oceans and to preserve wild life. Decrease deforestation, which we really need now that the Amazon is burning. Be environmentally minded; stop throwing out items that can be fixed. We have become a disposable society and every new item we replace the old with takes up more resources. Then you may ask, ”If I don’t buy a new one, how many jobs will that impact”? The answers are never simple. Do your part! Donate, volunteer, pick up trash! We all could do a little to help the Earth every day.

As stewards of this planet we all need to do our part. Nothing we do as individuals is too small because as a whole it adds up. It does become difficult however, when the politics of the world run interference. And, as we know, this is a global issue. It’s all about finding the balance and certainly understanding the science. That understanding does not come from newspapers, magazines or less than fully peer reviewed data.

We have had our “Industrial Revolution”, years of growing; smoking stacks, release of chemicals into our waterways, and free for all. It was all about growing our industrial base and economy. We continue to work on our economic growth model but no one can argue we must do so cleaner manner. The argument is really how much cleaner do we need to be to sustain this beautiful planet of ours. We have made tremendous improvements throughout the years, by becoming better stewards of the environment. The USA is now on the lower end of measured pollutants with the now developing countries (India, Pakistan, China, African Nations etc.) leading in pollution of this planet. As countries go to the many meetings we read about, the simple fact is that they are no doubt thinking; “you had your turn, now it’s ours”!

There is so much information out there, both published and on the internet. What is the accuracy? Are they peer reviewed by competent sources that can “Hypothesize” and control their bias? The real issue is to have a general consensus by competent experts on the data itself. Methane, CO2, air temperatures, and water temperatures as measured and modeled are the real need. Without concrete data, opinions simply remain subjective and do not approach the objectivity needed to form a solid scientific conclusion.

Finding the balance will be difficult. Getting everyone on board, realizing the economic concerns of all is without a doubt the biggest challenge.

Finally, if there is actually climate change, is it a natural condition (solar activity, Earth’s axis position), the impact of 7-10 billion in world population or some combination of both.

Well, I can’t think our activities don’t have an impact on our climate. I just don’t know how much and a great deal of co-operative research is needed. Until then, it behooves us to do better yet understand how our policies can and do impact the economy which in turn impacts us all. Finding the balance is the answer!






Climate Change: What’s So Alarming? Bjorn Lomborg

Hot Talk, Cold Science. S. Fred Singer

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