Skeptics, when they are not claiming that the Arctic Sea ice is growing or staying the same, ignore the implications of its disappearance by saying, “So what if it melts?”
There are two reasons why it’s important, the first being less important than the second:
First, it is a clear indication that the earth is indeed warming.
Second, and most important, an ice-free Arctic will drastically alter the weather in the northern hemisphere where the majority of Earth’s population live. To understand how the weather will be changed, we need to know how the ice currently affects it and what would happen without it.
Yes, there is consensus among scientists no matter what Skeptics claim.
About 93% or more of individual scientists* agree that there is global warming and that we are the cause of it.
When Skeptics debate that, they refer to meteorologists and atmospheric scientists who, according to misinterpretation of some sources, are equally divided in their opinion that there is global warming and that it is caused by man. However, in a paper by the American Meteorologist Association: Meteorologists’ Views About Global Warming – A Survey of American Meteorological Society Professional Members, we read that:
Climate science experts who publish mostly on climate change and climate scientists who publish mostly on other topics were the two groups most likely to be convinced that humans have contributed to global warming, with 93%* of each group indicating their concurrence. – Page 1033
Skeptics like to point out that Carbon Dioxide (CO2) levels were much higher in the past and therefore, such large amounts would have little consequence in the present. Some even say that it will improve our environment.
In order to understand how CO2 levels affected us in the past, we need to understand the difference between the recent past, the ancient past and the deep past. The recent past is thousands to hundreds of thousands of years ago. The ancient past is millions to tens of millions of years ago, and the deep past is hundreds of millions of years ago.
The further back in time we go, the more different the earth becomes with CO2 levels having different impacts on its climate.
The Urban Heat Island Effect (UHIE) is a phenomenon in which cities give out heat (From mostly roads, rooftops, automobiles, and air conditioners) resulting in slightly warmer air over cities and suburban areas when compared to surrounding rural areas.
It has been suggested that UHIE has significantly influenced temperature records over the 20th century when there was rapid growth of urban environments. This, some Skeptics claim, is the reason for global warming.
Skeptics often times say that Mars and other planets are warming and that somehow explains why the Earth is warming. They suggest that humans cannot be the cause of global warming since we are not on those other planets.
However, other planets have radically different atmospheres and climates than ours, and they get warmer and cooler for reasons that are not related to anything that is happening on Earth.
When the so-called e-mail ‘scandal’ broke out, a number of carefully selected statements from several scientists were chosen to give the false impression that they were engaging in covering up the facts about Global Warming. One of these statements was from Phil Jones, who was quoted as saying:
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick […] to hide the decline”.
The entire quote, however, is:
“I’ve just completed Mike’s Nature trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (from 1981 onward) and from 1961 for Keith’s to hide the decline”.
Skeptics removed 19 words from mid-sentence (Not including the words in parenthesis).
With this context missing, particularly the phrase “adding the real temps”, it is falsely interpreted to mean that Jones was ‘tricking’ the public and ‘hiding’ something. But does it really mean that or is it a case of professional jargon that was opportunistically quoted out of context?
The word “trick” can be used in two different and opposing ways. One is to fool somebody or play a prank on them. The other more serious definition is to present a shortcut or different way of solving a problem. Every profession, scientific or otherwise, has their own system of solving problems and they adopt the phrase “Tricks of the trade” to show other members different ways of solving a problem or learning something.
Below are examples of how the phrase is used by scientists, doctors, and other professionals:
Also, scientists and other professionals use the word “trick” alone:
Fundamentalist Christians in the United States tend to be Skeptics due to their affiliation with political conservatism. Some of them state that the Bible gives them the right to use the land, and therefore they can burn fossil fuels.
For instance, in the first chapter of the Judeo-Christian Bible, God addresses himself to Adam and Eve and says:
28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” Genesis 1:28, New International Version
The problem with their reasoning is that they are using the land recklessly – destroying it. That is something that the Bible has not told them to do. They are thus taking a gift from God and ruining it. If anything, their excuse is sacrilegious; an insult to the God they claim to worship.
An example worth following by Evangelical Christians is that of Katharine Hayhoe, who runs a YouTube channel dedicated to global warming. Below is her video on how her Evangelical Christian faith leads her to accept the reality of human-caused global warming.
Skeptics claim that the Carbon Dioxide that is being released by the burning of fossil fuels is actually good for the environment. Their argument is based on the logic that, if plants need CO2 for their growth, then more of it should be better. We should expect our crops to be more abundant and our garden flowers to grow taller and bloom brighter.
However, this “more is better” philosophy is not the way things work in the real world. There is an old, wise saying that goes, “Too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.” For example, if a doctor tells you to take one pill of a certain medicine, taking four is not likely to heal you four times faster or make you four times better. It’s more likely to make you sick.
It is possible to help increase the growth of some plants with extra CO2, under controlled conditions, inside of greenhouses. It is based on this that Skeptics make their claims. However, such claims are simplistic.
Skeptics fail to take into account that a warmer earth will have an increase in deserts and other arid lands which would reduce the land there is available for crops. The corn in Kansas isn’t going to prosper from an increase in CO2. Cactus, though, will be very happy growing where corn used to grow.