K’s compare/contrast

Global warming is grabbing headlines and those talking about it are garnering peace prizes. I do not believe that humans are causing global climate change. When I was a young girl the scientists were warning that we were heading into a little ice age. Now they are warning that we are melting the polar ice caps with our emissions. But the arguments the global warming crowd makes need to be examined, even if only so that I can say that I have studied both sides. To that end I read “The Theory of Global Warming Is Scientifically Credible” written by the Union of Concerned Scientists and “Global Warming Poses a Looming Threat to the Security of the United States” by Peter Schwartz and Doug Randall. The two works are similar and they are also very different.

The two articles I read are similar in some basic ways. They are both from the Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. They both were written by multiple authors who were scientists. They both support the idea of global warming. And they both contain references for further reading. However, the most interesting thing about what they have in common is that both end with hedging words like “plausible” and “evidence… may become clear and reliable” (Schwartz and Randall) and “unrealistic to expect total scientific certainty” and “will continue… to refine” (Union). It sounds as if neither set of authors are willing to risk their scientific reputation by guaranteeing that global warming even exists, much less that humans are the cause of it.

While the two articles are very similar, especially in their hedging, they are also very different. The Union’s treatise is fairly short. It deals with points like “The Need for Research and Clarification” and “Consensus Versus Certainty,” emphasizing the uncertainty of the global warming argument. Schwartz and Randall are more verbose, and they save their questions for the end, discussing the warming as already in progress, destined to get worse over the coming decade, and then prophesying that by 2020 the climate will have changed. They do not, however, have the ability to say how it has changed in their scenario. “[I]t is not clear what type of weather future years will bring.” They are simply sure that the weather may change.

These two articles, which purport to be written by strong supporters of global warming, do not present a firm stand on global warming. They both say that things are changing and that they may change more in the future. This, we know, is true for such wisdom is evident in cliches like “The more things change, the more they stay the same” and “If you don’t like the weather, just wait a minute. It will change.” I think that I, unlike the learned scientists, can unequivocally state that the weather will change. Just wait.

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