Global Warming: An Inconvenient Debate; Essay
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Despite the harsh, cold winter, 2010 is likely to be the warmest year on record (Homer-Dixon 2010, p.1). But powerful special interest groups with an economic incentive to fight global warming legislation, such as cattlemen who raise methane-generating livestock or the oil and gas industry, may win out in the short-term, politically. Yet they cannot fight the facts. Due to global warming, the "Northern Hemisphere's jet streams… could alter storm tracks, rainfall patterns and food production far to the south" of the equator, and create the conditions for famine and fuel further political unrest in an already war-torn region (Homer-Dixon 2010, p.2).
Urgent action and lifestyle changes are needed, such as radically reducing carbon emissions from automobiles and overhauling existing energy systems (Homer-Dixon 2010, p.2). This could prove quite costly, however, and demand sacrifices of the developing as well as the developed world. The means of addressing global warming is not 'fair' given that certain regions of the world have benefited more from industrialization, polluted more, yet all countries must curtail
their energy use to some degree, for policies to be effective. People will have to drive differently, govern their lives differently, and even eat differently, since "some 30% of the global warming potential attributable to society's GHG emissions stems from the production of foods and beverages, [making] menu choices" critical aspects of emission reduction strategies (Raloff 2009). Because it is not politically expedient or pleasant, politicians, fringe scientists, and ordinary human beings grasp at straws to 'prove' global warming wrong, such as pointing to a freakishly snowy winter, even though an increase in storms' severity is part of the symptoms of global warming. The complexity of scientific data is difficult to understand. Ever since the age of Galileo, political ideology and scientific truths have always been uncomfortable bedfellows.
"Global Warming." Times Topics. The New York Times. August 17, 2010. [September 26, 2010]
Homer-Dixon, Thomas. "Disaster at the top of the world." The New York Times. August 23,
2010. [September 26, 2010] http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/23/opinion/23homer-dixon.html?ref=globalwarming
Raloff, Janet. "Climate-friendly dining." Science News. February 15, 2009.
[September 26, 2010] http://www.sciencenews.org/view/generic/id/40934/title/AAAS_Climate-friendly_dining_%E2%80%A6_meats
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