What is Environmentalism Essay

There is currently a vast political, cultural and moral debate going on about the authenticity of the concept of global warming. Questions are being asked as to whether it even exists. Top scientists are disagreeing with each other along with politicians and the public who are feuding over whether or not to cut down our C02 emissions.

This debate on global warming is relatively new, with the evidence that carbon dioxide is making the world greener and sustaining the life of many of Earth’s trees and vegetation coming to surface in 2001. Since then the debate has been raging.

The debate has spawned two completely opposing sides, one being the long-held traditional view, where the belief is held that the burning of fossil fuels, overpopulation and our throwaway western society, among other things are damaging the environment which in turn is causing Earths temperature to increase dramatically and it is thought that if something is not changed soon then the oceans will rise from the melting of polar ice caps, leading to global flooding and other disastrous events.

The other belief held is that the idea of global warming is a hoax which is being publicized by extreme environmentalists to target the industrialized nations in order to undermine economic growth. It is also thought that there is no real and accurate way to measure the Earths overall temperature and so there is no real way to be sure of whether or not temperatures are increasing.

This view also holds opinions that if something was to be done about the emissions of Carbon dioxide then it would be hugely expensive, and living standards for poor people will become even lower. It is believed that many jobs will be lost over it and extra costs will be added onto things like gas – 55c a gallon.

The thought of this outrages people who take this opinion as they believe that there is no problem to be fixed in the first place and all of the money which is currently being put into curbing the effects of global warming could be put into far more important problems. For example providing the world with clean drinking water. These people are against the Kyoto Protocol which President Bush recently turned down, despite outrage from environmentalists.

Author 1: Alan Caruba

Alan Caruba believes that there is no such thing as global warming. He explains in his article that the entire ‘global warming hoax’ is based on ‘bogus’ computer programs that were developed to show global warming trends which are non-existent and that the programs are specifically designed so that they back up the claims being made by environmentalists.

In his article he produces a statement made by professor of atmospheric Science and director of the Earth System Center at the University of Alabama, Dr. John Christy that C02 us not a pollutant yet it is actually the lifeblood of the planet, and without it much of the vegetation in our world today would not be here.

Caruba’s main argument is that there is no possible way to accurately measure the temperature of the earth’s surface and today’s best scientists still do not know much about the actions of cloud formations around the world which have a large influence on the Earths temperature. He believes that the general public is immensely misinformed concerning facts on global warming.

Overall he believes that the whole idea of global warming is nothing but a big lie used by environmentalists to make out industrialized nations of the world as ‘advocates for pollution’.

Author 2: Joe Goffman

Joe Goffman feels strongly that global warming is the biggest threat facing the environment today. In his article ‘A Time for Action on Global Warming’ he discusses politics in relation to global warming. He criticizes President of the USA George Bush’s administration for not taking appropriate action in regards to the size of the problem.

He believes that there should be mandatory cuts introduced in greenhouse gas emissions and that no where near enough is being done to reduce the release of carbon dioxide (C02) into the atmosphere. In contrast to Caruba he believes that the emission of CO2 chemicals into the air is causing Earth to warm up at an alarming rate. He believes that if nothing is done soon then global warming will have disastrous effects on the environment.

In this article he is persuading people to sign up as citizen cosponsors of the McCain-Lieberman approach, which is an initiative being formed to face intense opposition from the current government, in order to make sure a law is passed to reduce greenhouse emissions.

Evaluation:

Although both scientists provided relevant evidence neither used much ethical reasoning. Caruba seemed to hold a slightly Ecocentric view which was shown by him discussing the environment on it’s own without direct relation to people. At the end of Goffman’s article he mentioned the fact that future generations will not be able to survive unless we look after our environment today, which shows a slight lean towards being Anthropocentric, which would mean that he believes that only humans have truly intrinsic value, and that all other plants and animals do not, and so we must be higher than them and far more important. Taking an Anthropocentric view on this matter could mean thinking that “because I think, therefore I am.” And because animals and plants do not think then therefore they are not of the same importance as humans.

Caruba concentrated on the effect global warming had on the environment, rather than the effect it would have on people. An Ecocentrist view as oppose to an Anthropocentric perspective shows a greater respect for the environment. It places an ecosystem on the same level of importance as a human. By exhibiting this ethical perspective, Caruba, demonstrates an understanding of the intrinsic value of the Earths environment, and shows that he has realized the importance of sustaining the environment for both our own sake and for the sake of nature. This proves that Caruba is not holding this opinion and pushing the thought of there being no problem with global warming for his own economic good, as could easily be interpreted when first reading the article.

Caruba’s argument is that global warming is a theory with no factual basis. He says that there is no real evidence to prove that the Earth is growing warmer, and if the earth’s climate does change he clearly argues with scientific facts that it is not due to human interferences such as industrialization. He presents a good argument and provides evidence in the form of professional opinions and scientifically proven facts and percentages and evaluates these facts using cost/benefit analysis. He is straight to the point and doesn’t use emotional appeals.

Unlike Goffman who did this throughout his article, as the point of his article was to persuade people to sign his petition. Caruba answers most of the questions that people would ask in protest to his ideas. He includes cost benefit analysis when he compares the United States’ emission of Carbon Dioxide compared with how much of the worlds needs and wants, such as food, technology, medical advances, defense of freedom, and so on are produced when emitting those gases, in which the benefits easily out weigh the costs.

Neither Authors use consequentialist reasoning. Caruba is more concerned with making the most out of the present rather than then preserving the environment for the future due to the fact he believes that the environment is improving, which has in fact been proven. Of course Goffman is greatly concerned with changing the world because he fears that the earth is damaged and overheating. With sufficient data proving both sides correct it has forced many scientists to rely on using ethical arguments to prove their point for example the last sentence in Goffmans article.

In my opinion fear that the world is warming because of industrialization are unprecedented concerns. While global warming proponents claim emissions from our cars and factories are causing the planet to heat, the facts proving otherwise, simply outweigh them.

Despite some hot summers and a strong El Nino, the NASA satellite measurement which is the most accurate indicator of global temperature actually shows a cooling trend. Caruba has also found evidence that, large temperature swings have been common in the past 1,000 years, and that temperatures warmer than today were common in 50-year periods about 1,000 years ago. These studies suggest that the climate we see today is not unusual at all.”

In fact, nearly 17,000 scientists, including 2,100 climatologists, meteorologists and environmental experts, recently signed a declaration stating, “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere.”

Understanding from a Utilitarian perspective and trying to find the greater happiness, we cannot reach a conclusion because there is no absolute scientific data that overrides everything else. There are many scientific facts, some of which contradict each other. Instead Goffman uses cost/benefit analysis when discussing a possible solution to global warming, he reasons that his suggestion for a solution is flexible enough “so that industry can achieve pollution reductions in cost-effective ways that can help the economy.” He then goes on to reason that it “strikes the right balance between incentives and mandatory cuts” and reasons that this small sacrifice now will keep the environment healthy for the future, this is an excellent way of analyzing the problem.

I researched the environmental issue of global warming and found many contradictory facts, however in the end I was convinced by new evidence as well as Caruba’s article that the world is improving every day. Environmental quality in Canada has improved dramatically over the last 30 years, and is up a full 18% since 1980. Canada is not the only country which has improved. With recycling programs and the world being more conscious of looking after the environment nowadays, the earth is in much better condition. Air quality and water quality are improving, with more developing countries receiving more clean water now than ever before.

After critically analyzing both arguments I have come to the conclusion that Caruba’s is more reasonable. I found Goffmans argument was full of emotional appeals and emotive language, Where as Caruba simply argued with facts and evidence. When beginning this assignment I was on the other side, believing that we must do everything we can do to stop global warming, after researching the topic in depth I realize that I was simply misinformed. The Article by Caruba is what brought my attention to this. I do believe that environmental growth and economical growth can both happen at the same time.

Caruba and Goffman may share different views, however this does not mean that either of them are bad people. By applying the ethical relativism perspective in this case I understand that both men have situational differences and so they cannot be expected to hold the same view. There is no objective right or wrong in this case just a matter of different beliefs which in turn generate different opinions and ideas on how to correctly deal with the matter.

Appendix:

Article 1 –

Revisiting the Global Warming Hoax

By Alan Caruba (c) 2003

There has been no spring on the East Coast of the United States this year. Even into the early days of June, the weather has remained cold and damp. One is tempted to ask, “Where is the global warming that has been predicted?” but this cold spell in the US is offset by a heat spell in India that has killed dozens of people. Is global warming occurring there, but not here? Is global warming occurring at all?

No. The entire global warming hoax is based on computer models and they are designed to produce the kind of data that supports the claims by environmentalists that the Earth is warming at an alarming rate. The blame is assigned to the combustion of fossil fuels, the basis for the provision of energy to heat our homes, service manufacturing, and fuel our transportation needs.

We are told that the main culprit is the increase of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the Earth’s atmosphere. Testifying on May 13, 2003 before the US House of Representatives’ Committee on Resources, Dr. John Christy, a professor of atmospheric Science and director of the Earth System Center at the University of Alabama, said, “CO2 is not a pollutant. In simple terms, CO2 is the lifeblood of the planet. The vegetation we see around us would disappear, if not for atmospheric CO2. This green world largely evolved during a period when the atmospheric CO2 concentration was many times what it is today…in other words, carbon dioxide means life itself.”

This raises the obvious question, if CO2 is integral to all life on Earth, why have the environmentalists been striving to put restrictions on it through such instruments as the United Nations Kyoto treaty and propagandizing its supposed danger?

Why have the Greens consistently produced bogus “computer models” that predict a massive, swift “warming” when, in truth, it is virtually impossible to know with any certitude the overall temperature of the Earth’s surface? Whole aspects of knowing or predicting this remain largely a mystery to the best meteorologists and climatologists. “Fundamental processes, for example heat transfer, are not adequately described in the models,” Dr. Christy noted. He could have added that little is understood or known about the actions of cloud formation worldwide.

His testimony is particularly significant because Dr. Christy recently served as a lead author of the UN’s’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, frequently cited as proof that global warming is occurring. Little known to the public is the fact that most of the scientists involved with the IPCC do not agree that global warming is occurring. Instead, its findings have been consistently misrepresented and/or politicized with each succeeding report.

Dr. Christy’s latest paper, published in the Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, revealed that estimates of global warming “show much less warming, less than half, observed at the surface. The real world shows less warming in the atmosphere, not more, as models predict.” He told the House Committee that computer models should be “viewed with great skepticism.”

Despite the IPCC claims, studies have clearly demonstrated that “large temperature swings have been common in the past 1,000 years, and that temperatures warmer than today were common in 50-year periods about 1,000 years ago. These studies suggest that the climate we see today is not unusual at all.”

The global warming hoax is not about the Earth’s climate. It is about an attack on the economies of those nations that produce much of the world’s wealth. “Our country is often criticized for producing 25% of the world’s anthropogenic CO2,” Dr. Christy noted, “However, we are rarely recognized and applauded for producing, with that same CO2, 31% of what the world wants and needs; its food, technology, medical advances, defense of freedom, and so on.”

The industrialized nations of the world are the target of the environmentalists, as is the entire population of the world. By every means possible, they have sought to undermine economic growth and to enhance the reduction of human life on this planet. Those of us who defend growth, who oppose their efforts to keep vast portions of the Earth’s population in poverty and subject to lethal diseases, are assailed as “tools of multinational corporations” and advocates for “pollution.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

What we want is the worldwide spread of prosperity and, importantly, the spread of freedom that underwrites it.

What we don’t want is for people to suffer from the Big Lie of Global Warming being perpetrated out of the United Nations and propagandized by environmentalists worldwide.

Alan Caruba is the author of a new book, “Warning Signs”, and a commentator whose weekly column is posted on the Internet site of The National Anxiety Center.

Copyright, Alan Caruba, 2003

Article 2 –

Earth Day — A Time for Action on Global Warming

By Joe Goffman, AlterNet

April 22, 2003

Global warming is the gravest threat to the environment today. Compelling scientific evidence shows the planet is already heating up and that humans are partly to blame due to our dependence on fossil fuels and destructive land use activities. If trends continue, by the end of the century, Boston’s climate could resemble that of Atlanta’s and rising sea levels could make much of Florida’s coastal regions uninhabitable.

In spite of the milieu of scientific warnings, many in Washington have been indifferent to the problem and are moving in the wrong direction. Instead of taking meaningful action to match the seriousness of the problem, the Bush Administration and its allies in Congress are proposing voluntary actions with no mandatory cuts in emissions. The Bush Administration approach is an invitation for inaction at a time when active leadership is critical.

Thankfully, there is better plan. Earlier this year, Senate leaders John McCain (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (D-CT) introduced the Climate Stewardship Act, the first legislative action that takes all the right steps to curb global warming. This bill starts with mandatory caps on greenhouse gas emissions. The bill is also flexible enough so that industry can achieve pollution reductions in cost-effective ways that can help the economy. It strikes the right balance between incentives and mandatory cuts, and it takes sensible steps now to avoid even graver risks in the future.

Like Senator McCain’s previous legislative struggle to clean up America’s campaign finance laws, the McCain-Lieberman global warming initiative is sure to face intense opposition, in spite of its laudable goals. Following last year’s elections, powerful special interests – including some automobile, utility and oil companies – have made no secret about their plans to see to it that nothing is done about greenhouse gas emissions.

That is why Environmental Defense has launched an unprecedented two-year effort to enlist the support of one million Americans to sign up as citizen cosponsors of the McCain-Lieberman approach. We are asking every American concerned about the kind of world their children will inherit to join our Emergency Campaign on Global Warming by signing our petition.

To join the campaign and do your part to support meaningful action to stop global warming, please sign our petition.

It’s time to raise the bar. Together, we can make a difference.

Joe Goffman is the senior attorney for Environmental Defense.