Climate Change: Fact or Fiction?

Morrison Jones-Thiede, Reporter/Page Editor

  The weather is changing, and I’m not talking about winter leaving and turning into spring. There is a global phenomenon that is happening right now, but many are quick to push it aside as it starts long, heated debates when brought up in conversation.

  Climate change is not necessarily an easy fix, nor is it limited to just one select group of people, but it can and is affecting everyone. However, many people, including a few of our own students and teachers here at Skyline, have differing opinions on the matter.

  Many people believe that climate change just simply doesn’t exist. “I don’t believe that it exists. For one, they have been talking about climate change since our parents were our age. Nothing has happened. They say that the temperature on earth is rising and causing the polar ice caps to melt and cause the earth to flood, but if they have been talking about it for forty plus years and nothing’s happened?” Benjamin Page (10) said. Clearly he, like many others, is relatively unphased by claims of climate change.

  However, others readily acknowledge climate change is real, but maintain that scientists are blowing things way out of proportion. “I don’t dispute the fact that it’s happening or that humans are causing it, but I do take issue with the idea that we should change our lifestyle. I take issue with that because of the fact that the scientific community in the past have said things similar to that and made doomsday predictions that were wrong. For example, in 1973 George Wald said at the turn of the century that the world would end because of greenhouse gas emissions.  He was clearly wrong. That and many others just lead me to believe that the scientific community has lost its credibility,” Spencer Risenmay (10) explained. In fact, George Wald was a Harvard Biologist that stated around the 1970’s that “civilization will end within 15 or 30 years unless immediate action is taken against problems facing mankind.”

  In addition, though, there are people who stand by the idea that climate change is a problem, “Climate change is common, it’s an actual thing. It’s pretty obvious it’s existing. Ice doesn’t melt because it’s cold,” Leo Mandoka (10) said.

  Scientists are providing evidence of its existence and its rapid growth. Climate scientists have said that in recent years there is evidence of climate change all around. They cite the number of widespread droughts, wildfires and extreme heat advisories of 2012, where some states such as California and Arizona had the coldest day of the summer being 95 degrees Fahrenheit, also supporting this with “climate models explaining how rising greenhouse gas emissions have made recent heat waves or droughts more intense or more likely to occur in the future,” according to the New York Times.

  Another of their biggest points is the devastating hurricane Katrina that caused catastrophic damage to New Orleans, Louisiana in 2005. “A few noted that rising ocean temperatures could make hurricanes more destructive,”  NASA has said. “Global air temperatures near Earth’s surface rose almost one and one-half degrees Fahrenheit in the last century. Eleven of the last 12 years have been the warmest on record. Earth has warmed twice as fast in the last 50 years as in the 50 years before that. One and one-half degrees may not seem like much, but when we are talking about the average over the whole Earth, lots of things start to change.” NASA further explains that “as the temperature goes up, the amount of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in the air goes up. And as the carbon dioxide goes up, the temperature goes up even more. Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas. That means it traps heat from Earth’s surface and holds the heat in the atmosphere.”

  Skyline’s own biology and physical Science teacher Charles Waite agrees with this statistic from NASA, mostly because of why he believes in climate change. “Well, climate change is inevitable just because of the products that we put out into the atmosphere as a society in general, and that is global wise. As far as global warming is concerned, the reduction of the ozone layer is part of the reason for that, and the major reason for it, and it is because of the toxins that we put into the air. There is a lot of research and things going on to help eliminate that and alleviate that and I believe that the future is going to bear record that the fact that we are able to change that and make it better for our environment.”

  Now whether or not climate change is real can be argued about all day. However, the fact of the matter is the earth is facing a change, and that is indisputable. Alexis Borg (10) states some things that both sides could come together and agree upon. “I think that climate change is a very important issue that we need to worry about because we only have one world. And yeah, it’s a natural thing that happens, but we have kind of quickly sped it up a lot. And that’s a real big problem. So I think we should worry about it a lot more and maybe concentrate more on how to not kill the environment and keep ourselves alive.”