The reality of global warming: fact vs. fiction and the marginalized greed-based business perspective
The Economics of global warming vs. The moral impact of global warming on all stakeholders including non-human ones.
Climate change, not global warming: the effects are different in different parts of the globe.
The political, social, and financial challenges that global warming creates and how the challenges can be met.
The Economic, Political, and Ethical Effects of Global Warming
Global warming, or climate change, has economic, social, and political consequences. These consequences are experienced by the non-human populations of the planet, too, and perhaps even more so. The Environmental Protection Agency points out that due to climate change and global warming, migratory birds are flying an average of thirty-five miles further north than they did just forty years ago. The recent Hurricane Sandy shows that global warming has led to perceptible rises in sea levels, which make flooding in coastal areas more severe and more common (Environmental Protection Agency). The intensity and frequency of hurricanes like Sandy are also likely to increase. Other impacts include extreme weather conditions ranging from heat waves to drought because "Arctic sea ice reached a record minimum in September, and extreme heat waves and drought in the last decade have hit places such as the United States and Russia more often than would be expected from historical records," ("World Bank highlights global warming dangers" These issues have a direct economic impact on the affected communities. Around the world, all societies will experience the effects of global warming but it is the already economically impoverished places that feel it the worst ("World Bank highlights global warming dangers"). The result could be wars fought over access to resources that can help countries or regions cope with climate change. As Maslin points out in Global Warming: Causes, Effects, and the Future, the "full consequences will be more complicated because of the complexity of the world's political and economic systems," (39).
The debate over the existence or reality of global warming has largely subsided, due to the fact that 97% of all scientists worldwide "agree on the reality of climate change," ("World Bank highlights global warming dangers"). Only those with a vested interest in protecting investments that are causing the release of greenhouse gases seem to be clinging to the false truth that global warming does not exist at all. For example, in a panel of interview subjects with PBS Frontline, the only individual to deny that climate change is a matter of concern was Fred Palmer, the President of Western Fuels, Inc. Palmer vehemently "maintains that many scientists, politicians and environmental groups have greatly overstated the threat and consequences of climate change," (Palmer, interview).
While Palmer may be correct that "inexpensive fossil fuels such as coal are an essential component of U.S. economic success and cutting back fossil fuel use would seriously affect the world's social and economic progress" he also fails to recognize the potential for human beings to invent new technologies that could reduce dependency on the greenhouse-gas causing culprits such as fossil fuels and their combustible engines (Palmer). Therefore, one of the consequences of the greed-based climate change deniers such as Palmer and others in the energy industry has been to stifle innovation in the energy sector. This has led to an overall sluggishness of growth in the economy, which depends on innovation for growth. As Kolbert points out in an interview with the Natural Resources Defense Council, "Just think, we were able to mobilize ourselves to invade Iraq and we spend hundreds of billions of dollars doing it. If we mobilized our nation and spent an equal amount on global warming, we could make a tremendous amount of progress.
The consequences of global warming extend into almost every level of society. There are moral issues at play, too. Kolbert states, "I definitely think that global warming is a moral issue and I think that you see a lot of religious groups increasingly getting involved." This is because the economic, political, and social consequences of global warming are affecting a large number of people, many of whom cannot afford to divert funds…