Global warming: The argument vs. assessing the risk
The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) convened in Durban, South Africa on Nov. 28, 2011. The convention was the 17th Conference of the Parties (COP17) to the UNFCCC that brought together representatives of the world’s governments, international organizations, and civil society. According to the UNFCCC website, “The discussions will seek to advance, in a balanced fashion, the implementation of the Convention and the Kyoto Protocol, as well as the Bali Action Plan, agreed at COP13 in 2007, and the Cancun Agreements, reached at COP16—the present meeting is referred to as COP17—last December.”
The deliberations were made all the more urgent by a report by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on the second day of the meeting that 2011 is one of the warmest on record despite the occurrence of a La Nina event that exerts a cooling influence on weather. In addition, the report said that the 2011 extent of Arctic sea ice was the second lowest on record.
WMO Secretary General said, concentrations of greenhouse gases “are very rapidly approaching levels consistent with a 2-2.4 degree Celsius [3.6-4.3 degree Fahrenheit] rise in average global temperatures which scientists believe could trigger far reaching and irreversible changes in our earth, biosphere, and oceans.”
At the present time, it appears that the debate about climate change has moved from whether or not it is happening to one of whether or not it is caused by human activity or is the result of natural processes.
In an Oct. 26, 2011, Op/Ed in the Wall Street Journal, James Taylor, senior fellow for environmental policy at and managing editor of The Heartland Institute Environment & Climate News and anthropogenic global warming skeptic writes, “The case for a human-induced global warming crisis requires the demonstration of several components. These include (1) that global temperatures are rising, (2) that global temperatures will likely continue to rise in the future, (3) that the rise in temperatures is or will be sufficiently rapid and substantial to cause enormous negative consequences that far outweigh the benefits of such warming and (4) that human emissions of greenhouse gases account for all such temperature rise or enough of the temperature rise to elevate the temperature rise to crisis levels.
“In order to justify government action against global warming, advocates must also show that the proposed action will substantially reduce the negative impacts of the asserted crisis and that the costs of such action will not outweigh the benefits.”