The Global Warming Debate
Greenpeace has identified global climate change as one of the greatest threats to the planet and advocates governments taking a leading role in promoting new energy sources. The Greenpeace web site contains information about industry's role in global warming and the actions, either by government or individuals, which would help mitigate climate change. Greenpeace is especially critical of the oil industry because low oil prices may be a significant factor in increased carbon emissions. Ozone Action is a nonprofit organization which believes that the fact of climate change is getting lost in the political rhetoric surrounding the issue. The group advocates immediate and substantial reductions in greenhouse gases. The Ozone Action web page contains several reports predicting severe impacts from climate change. The World Wildlife Federation is concerned that climate change will effect not only humans, but will also have a devastating effect on many animal species. Similarly, the Sierra Club asserts that emitting GHGs is a dangerous experiment with our atmosphere. The Sierra Club web site offers a brief introduction to the problem of global warming along with predictions that global warming will have dire results for animals and humans. Included in the devastating impacts are the thinning of caribou herds, the extinction of migratory birds and the depletion of aquatic life. Global warming will detrimentally affect human health by increasing deaths related to severe weather and infectious diseases. The Sierra Club also reviews alternative energy solutions such as wind and solar power. Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg shows additional concern that global warming is already taking a toll on the world's fragile coral reefs. The Union of Concerned Scientists, alliance of scientists and citizens, advocates the goal of building a cleaner, safer world. The site contains a review of scientific information that supports global warming theory. Besides, you can play the Great Green Web Game, where you test your knowledge of environmental trivia.
Governments are also deeply concerned with climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency has a web site dedicated to the issue of global warming. The site covers the science behind global warming, the impacts of global warming to the environment and human health, and potential solutions to global warming. Additionally, the site contains links to recent news stories, reports, and publications related to global warming. Unfortunately, the EPA's site does not discuss major policy issues related to Global Warming. Germany's Federal Government has established the German Advisory Council on Global Change with the mission of recommending further actions to combat environmental problems. The Council has issued several reports including reports on carbon emissions and the Kyoto Protocol. The Global Atmosphere Division is responsible for Great Britain's policy on climate change. Because of Great Britain's concern with climate change, the group carried out an extensive survey of industry to determine how to reduce GHG emissions and meet the Kyoto Protocol's targets. The report was the first step in developing a comprehensive climate change program. Australia has established the Australian Greenhouse Office ("AGO") to coordinate domestic climate change policy. AGO's web site contains detailed information about the development of Australia's climate change policy, including emissions trading. New Zealand, a signatory of the Kyoto Protocol, is committed to reducing GHG emissions back to 1990 levels. The development of New Zealand's domestic policy can be viewed on the Ministry of the Environment's web site.
Despite the belief of many that global warming is a real problem, there are also many skeptics. For example, The Greening Earth Society, which is generally critical of global warming, notes in a feature story, that despite claims that an increased number of hurricanes is symptomatic of global warming, it is currently impossible to accurately model the interaction between global warming and hurricanes. John Daly attacks the evidence on which many global warming believers rely. He notes that atmospheric temperatures taken by satellites and balloons are not rising as one would expect with global warming. Furthermore, he asserts that sea levels may not be rising. This is based upon the observation that the mean sea level is 30 cm below a line etched in rock by Antarctic explored James Clark Ross to mark the mean sea level in 1841. If sea levels are rising with an increase in temperature, as some global warming believers claim, the line should now be underwater. Daly's web site also contains information about other scientific evidence which does not support the greenhouse theory. The Science and Environmental Policy web site attempts to debunk the popular impression that there is scientific consensus on global warming. The site contains many articles and reports by researchers which tend to show that environmental changes may not be the result of human activity. The George C. Marshall Institute also disputes some of the key assumptions underlying global warming. For example, in one article on the web site , researchers state that historical rises in temperature may have preceded increases in carbon dioxide emissions, thus undermining the assumptions that increased carbon dioxide is the cause of increased temperatures. Globalwarming.com contains a large amount of information critical of global warming science and policy. The site contains an excellent list of links to scientific research which cuts against the theory of global warming. Heartland.org, with the tag line "Solutions to Every Public Policy Problem", provides information generally critical of global warming, including projections of expensive abatement efforts. The CATO Institute also provides a number of commentaries such as "Global Warming's Dirty Little Secret" attempting to debunk the science and policy considerations behind global warming concerns. Information on topic areas is simple to find by using the site's search engine.
Several sites provide excellent background material on global warming. The Woods Hole Research Center presents the scientific evidence behind global warming, the significance of the evidence, the potential outcomes of climate change, and a review of the Kyoto Protocol. The Center is concerned that global warming is a legitimate problem, but is fearful the the Kyoto Protocol will not be ratified. Furthermore, the center offers several criticisms against global warming skeptics. Conversely, New Scientist also offer an excellent introduction to global warming, but the tone is noticeably more skeptical. For a rather polemic explanation of why the greenhouse effect is not the same as global warming, see http://www.ems.psu.edu/~fraser/Bad/BadGreenhouse.html. Climate Variability and Change reviews climate change from the New Zealand perspective. Several of the pages assume no technical knowledge of the subject. The site contains rich graphics, which aid the viewer in understanding global warming. Other pages are more technical and make a wide variety of research available on the web. Topics covered include natural climate variability, the greenhouse effect, global climate models, climate change scenarios and regional affects of climate change. For policy information, The U.S. Global Change Research Information Office ("GCRIO") is a clearinghouse for documents and reports sponsored by the United States government. The web site provides a bibliographic database with abstracts of documents related to global change. Selected full-text documents are provided online, or documents can be ordered directly form GCRIO. One of the more unique features of this site is "Ask Dr. Global Change" in which users can submit questions about global change. GCRIO will respond with an answer or a list of resources that are relevant to the question. You can also ask questions to experts in other fields. The Global Climate Change Briefing Book provides nonpartisan research reports to the members of Congress. The site includes information about global warming, the Kyoto Protocol and policy responses by Congress and the Clinton administration to climate change. The site is an excellent introduction to the science and politics of global warming.