Nowadays, the issue of global climate change is a much-discussed topic that raises society’s concern about the future of the planet and humanity. Scientists from all over the world research this issue attempting to find an applicable solution to the problem of the potential drastic effects of the global climate change on the mankind. Like any controversial topic, there are two main opinions with the majority claiming that the climate change is mainly man-made, if not entirely human-caused. On the other hand, some scientists and their supporters attempt to prove that climate change is a natural phenomenon and a logical phase of the planet development. The latter suppose that human activity virtually has no effect on the changes in the climate or, if there are some affects, they are minor and not sufficient to explain the current climate change. However, the opinion of the majority concerning the man-made character of the global climate change seems to be more persuasive. It is supported by numerous researches and solid facts rather than philosophical musings about the inevitability of change and religious claims that the planet functions according to the God’s plan. Therefore, this paper supports the idea that the global climate change is man-made because the humanity has deteriorated the planet state by a heavy exploitation of natural resources, rapid industrialization, extensive use of fossil fuels, massive emissions of greenhouse gases and other pollutants into the environment, deforestation, and many other human intrusions into natural eco-systems, which have inevitably led to the global climate change.
Predominantly, global climate change is associated with the phenomenon of global warming that nowadays causes much concern because of its potential to melt glaciers and drown extensive land areas. Global warming has been proved to be tightly connected with the greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere by power factories and other plants that mainly use fossil fuels. Natural greenhouse effect is beneficial for life on the planet as it sustains the planet temperature. On the other hand, greenhouse gases multiply the natural effect and cause the situation when heat is trapped into the atmosphere rather than absorbed by the ground or released into space. It leads to the rise in the atmosphere temperature, planet temperature, and global climate change. Moreover, some gases destroy the ozone layer that serves as a filter for harmful direct sunlight, hence increasing the possibility of climate change in some regions situated under the ozone holes. The opponents of the anthropogenic character of the global warming claim that there have always been changes in the planet temperature recollecting the Ice Age and some other fluctuations of temperature throughout the human history. However, they cannot explain the fact the temperature has started to rise rapidly as soon as humanity began to interfere actively with the natural eco-systems modifying them to suit their industrial needs. The era of industrialization marked the beginning of an increase in the man-made influence on the Earth environment and climate.
The idea of the anthropogenic character of global warming is supported by numerous researches that are sometimes doubted by skeptics and opponents in terms of their validity and credibility. Traditionally, “the formal detection of climate warming and its attribution to human influence has so far relied on the difference between spatio-temporal warming patterns of natural and anthropogenic origin”. Moreover, scientists researching energy fluctuations and temperature changes have often attempted to construct various models that would explain the phenomenon both from the diachronic and synchronic perspective. These models rely on primary data obtained from observations of the planet, atmosphere, and air and surface temperatures, as well as on secondary data retrieved from similar researches. Despite the fact that the majority of these researches have been mainly theoretical in nature, they have relied on the nature laws, which are sufficient for explaining the roots of the problem. Of course, some people have exaggerated the situation causing public panic, yet they have been aimed only at making the humanity aware of the existing problem and making people take some measures to prevent the further escalation of the climate problem. For instance, Al Gore has displayed a tendency towards prophesying about a coming catastrophe on the planet like rapid global warming, melting of glaciers, and massive floods of coast territories or islands. According to his prospects, Great Britain and a large part of the American shoreline will go underwater if glaciers melt, which is going to happen in the observable future. It is difficult to make accurate predictions concerning the planet future, but the research results display a disturbing constant increase of the Earth temperature.
A recent investigation carried out by Markus Huber and Reto Knutti offers an alternative research technique that is an attribution method “that relies on the principle of conservation of energy, without assumptions about spatial warming patterns”. The researchers conclude that more than three-fourths of the climate change has an anthropogenic origin. Thus, “since the mid-twentieth century, greenhouse gases contributed 0.85Â°C of warming (5-95% uncertainty: 0.6-1.1Â°C), about half of which was offset by the cooling effects of aerosols, with a total observed change in global temperature of about 0.56Â°C”. This way, the given empirical research proves calculations and hypotheses of many past theoretical papers dedicated to the issue of global warming. Temperature alterations inevitably trigger the chain reaction observed in any eco-system making it unpredictable and unable to sustain previous life forms the way they are used to. Natural temperature rises may be explained by the climate variability, yet they usually happen gradually, hence allowing other components of the eco-system adjust and accommodate to the new conditions. Phenomena like the above-mentioned Ice Age are extremely rare and although may be viewed as natural, are usually caused by some unpredictable and unaccountable factors like a giant meteor hitting the planet. The currently agreed figures concerning global warming cannot be explained by any natural factors as they clearly show that the rapid temperature rise coincided with the start of the rapid industrialization and human intrusion into the biosphere.
Deforestation is another significant issue in terms of global climate change. It is assumed that forests are essential for regulating energy circulation and maintaining it on the level that does not affect the entire planet. Biologists and environmentalists advocate for the necessity of plants for the decrease of the greenhouse effect and saturation of atmosphere with oxygen. Plants are also responsible for the reduction of the quantity of CO2 that has been proved to contribute to the increase of the atmosphere temperature besides other possible detrimental consequences of its overabundance. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has concluded that about 90% of the climate change is man-made and raises due to human activities like deforestation and exploitation of fossil fuels. Besides, other gas emissions are blamed, as well. Therefore, the international community attempts to devise new methods of decreasing human influence on the planet climate. Probably, it is impossible to reverse already existing alterations, but it is definitely possible to prevent further damage. One of the most essential steps that governments all over the world should adopt is a decrease in the use of fossil fuels. There are many other alternative energy sources that can effectively substitute fossil fuels. Moreover, this way, it is possible to prevent the exhaustion of this valuable natural resource. Ceasing deforestation is another integral element of the program aimed at stopping further global climate change.
Despite the prevalence of the idea of the man-made global climate change origin, some scientific circles doubt this fact and suppose that it is entirely or almost entirely a natural phenomenon because their opponents’ “assertions appear to be groundless”. Drawing upon the justice system’s “innocent until proven guilty” statement, they try to disprove any assertions of the anthropological origin of the climate change. First, they claim that CO2 is not a pollutant and that it is mainly produced in the result of natural biochemical processes. Furthermore, it has been always released into the atmosphere in smaller or bigger proportions, thus not necessarily being the cause of the current global warming. Second, climate is prone to change within the boundaries of its permissible variability, yet the problem is that no one knows these boundaries, and there is no way to measure them. Third, climate change is more a regional than a global phenomenon. Besides, it is not as dangerous as it is commonly supposed because “Life on earth will adapt as it has always done”. Finally, methods used while calculating temperature changes and predicting further alterations may be inaccurate and untrustworthy. Opponents use the Ice Age as a proof of natural origin hypothesis as there was no human activity to blame for the abrupt climate change. Besides, they emphasize, “no one advocates destruction of the environment” and agree, “we have an obligation to take care of our environment for future generations”. The main difference of the two groups of scientists is their view on the root of the problem, which is essential for finding its efficient solution.
All things considered, global climate change is a serious threat to the well-being of humanity and to the existence of life on the planet as it is nowadays. A rapid escalation of atmosphere temperature causes irreversible changes in all world eco-systems leading to the extinction of many plant and animal species, as well as altering human living conditions. It is vital to reveal the roots of the problem in order to be able to solve it in an efficient and swift manner. Although it is highly probable to be impossible to reverse the already existing global climate change, people can adopt preventive measures aimed at stopping its further development. Nowadays, the prevailing majority of scientists ascribe about 90% of global climate change to anthropogenic causes while their opponents strongly disagree with this view. However, it is not a coincidence that global warming started at the time of intensive industrial development of the world. Besides, the correlation between the emission of greenhouse gases and the temperature rise has been scientifically proved on the basis of empirical observations and their theoretical grounding. Therefore, the idea of the man-made global climate change seems to be more convincing and credible than the belief in natural causes of the phenomenon. Taking into account that this issue concerns the entire planet, governments of all countries should unite their efforts in fighting the problem and developing innovative approaches and effective measures in order to preserve the Earth in a decent condition.