Issue Analysis

What to do About Global Warming?

          Popular opinion, most scientists, and even corporate CEOs have now accepted the dangers of global warming, although little is being done to alleviate the problem.  But many insist this is exaggerated, and they have a point. The fact is that the rise in global temperature over the past century is within the range of previous cycles.  Despite the apparent correlation of global temperature with rising CO2 levels, despite several unusually warm years in the past decade, despite extraordinary weird weather like the heat spell in Europe, this could turn out to be just another natural cycle in the Earth’s rhythms – rather than a human-caused calamity.  Is global warming a real threat, therefore, or just a temporary blip in nature? Can we afford to risk not taking serious action?  What should be done?

           If this is a natural cycle, cutting back on oil is not likely to reduce global warming and it could incur big costs.  Even if the Earth continued to warm, some contend this would be beneficial because crops grow better in a hot, high CO2 climate.  Regions near the equator would suffer, but others closer to the poles could thrive. Canadians pleased to see their growing season extended by 2-3 weeks. Furthermore, Peak Oil is coming soon, so the problem could solve itself in time if nations run out of oil. Perhaps the truth lies somewhere in between. This could be a natural cycle exacerbated somewhat by carbon fuels. To what extent is global warming “man-made” and therefore capable of remedies? 

          TechCast users are sophisticated people, so these data are compelling.  Despite the controversy, the vast majority think Global Warming is caused by human activity, and therefore it is capable of being remedied.  The actions that are most favored include moving to alternative energy, imposing a carbon tax, and planting trees. Few people wish to change lifestyles or do nothing.  It should be noted that TechCast forecasts action on this issue about 2016.


Survey Results
1 What percent of Global Warming is due to human causes?*
Please enter an estimate between 0% and 100%
Mean - 64
N - 39
SD - 28%
2 What should be done about the risk of climate change?*
Check all choices you think would be helpful.
% N
Move to alternative energy sources
Impose taxes on carbon release
Plant trees
Adopt modest lifestyles

Public Comments
(Edited and displayed in 1-2 days)

Steve (06/12/2011)
The IPCC WGIII emission scenarios for economic growth all assume a world much wealthier than today regardless of what actions we might take today. The irony is that the highest emission scenarios assume the highest rate of economic growth and the highest affluence which puts the notion of negaive economic impacts from so-called climate change in question.

Dave Kruse (04/12/2011)
Not sure we can do much as long as the human population continues to grow. A shortage of oil, water and food may stop population growth no matter what we do.

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