Can we have a significant influence on global warming?
Throughout human history there have been many dogmas and misconceptions to believe, and some are perhaps believed even today. Dogmas such as The Earth is flat, or misconceptions that the world will end in the year 2000, or as we hear now, the dogma of global warming. As expressed by the United Nations, should the global warming increase more that 2 C, the Earth's climate system would become dangerously unstable.
There exist two diametrically opposing views on what might be causing this global warming a phenomenon that can be more accurately defined as an increase in the apparent global average near-surface Earth temperature. One is a view that the temperature increase is due to pollution caused by human activities. The other that this increase is caused by periodic changes and in this case an increase - in our Sun's activities.
Let us very briefly review these views.
Mr. Al Gore and the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for increasing our awareness of global warming. The team examined two decades of scientific reports and "created an ever-broader informed consensus about the connection between human activities and global warming." Based on the data selected by this group it has been argued that decreasing significantly the current level of carbon-dioxide emissions would avert the predicted, impending catastrophe caused by global warming.
An opposite view argues that increases in Earth's temperature have very little if anything to do with human activities but are caused by variations in the amount of energy that is emitted by our Sun. A close correlation in this cause-and-effect relationship has been shown by many to be based on very sound scientific evidence
The possibility that the increase in the atmospheric carbon dioxide is very closely linked to increased solar activity has been mooted but apart from a tenuous link, a clear relationship has not been shown. It just might be that both the solar activity and pollution play a role here, to varying degrees [see for example, Dr Theodor Landscheidt. Variations in CO2 Growth Rate Associated with Solar Activity (http://www.john-daly.com/theodor/co2new.htm)].
Yet another theory predicts not a catastrophic global warming but just the reverse. According to The Theory of Relational Cycles of Solar Activity, the Earth will experience a significant temperature decline within 3-14 years and lasting two or three solar cycles resulting in global temperature reductions of at least 1.0-1.5 C, (John L. Casey. The existence of 'relational cycles' of solar activity on a multi-decadal to centennial scale, as significant models of climate change on Earth.
Released for world wide web (www) distribution on Tuesday, January 22, 2008.
Against this background, it is interesting to consider a recent agreement of world leaders to try to limit global warming to just 2C (3.6 F) above pre-industrial levels (as for example, reported by the BBC News (Thursday, 9 July 2009).
It has been well established that U.S. temperatures show no significant warming trend over the last 100 years. According to data offered by NASA [http://www.geocraft.com], an average U.S. national surface temperatures increased between 1880 and 2006 by about 0.65 F (0.3 C). Limiting further increases to just 2 C above pre-industrial level is therefore very likely doable without much effort, but if the U.N. statement is to be believed, it would be only enough to bring us on the brink of the predicted disastrous situation but not to prevent it
Has man really caused a runaway "greenhouse effect" through activities that release large amounts of gases such as carbon dioxide? It is more probable that we tend to overestimate the actual magnitude of human impact on the planet. In any case, human additions to total greenhouse gases are small, contributing about 0.2% - 0.3% to Earth's greenhouse effect. Other factors such as astronomical (e.g., cycles of solar variability, Earth's combined tilt and elliptical orbit around the Sun), atmospheric (e.g., solar reflectivity due to white clouds, volcanic dust, polar ice caps) and tectonic (e.g., shifting continents (continental drift) causing changes in circulatory patterns of ocean currents, have much more profound effects [http://www.geocraft.com/WVFossils/ice_ages.html].
Is it really in our power to control events such as Earth temperature?
Politicians do seem to have a general tendency to overstate and to believe their importance and their ability to change the world. Political, industrial, and social activities introduced under the guise of global-warming counter-attack may stimulate economy and are likely to bring in tax gains to governments. Whether such measures will have any impact on the global surface temperatures, however, remains to be seen