Man-Made Global Warming: What’s Your Take?

Man-made global warming and mad-made climate change are two topics that are frequently discussed and have been the cause of countless heated debates particularly over the last decade. When I began Firsthand Weather in 2010, I was typically one of the ones that was most argumentative when this topic was brought up, but over the last couple of years, I have changed my approach in a dramatic way. I have learned a lot in the fields of meteorology and climatology over the last several years, and I will openly admit that I still have a lot to learn. We ALL do! 

In most cases, we are presented with two extremist views on this subject: 1) that man has no influence on global temperatures and the climate or 2) that we are going to become victim to a runaway greenhouse effect that will have catastrophic effects on this planet. Rarely do you find anyone that points out that man-made CO2 emissions may have caused SOME (not all) of the warming while natural variations in the climate may have also caused some of the warming. The big question is how much warming has been caused by man and how much has been caused by natural variations in climate. 

Those that argue on both sides of this debate are usually wrong. It’s easy to manipulate or cut off data to make your argument seem valid, but that doesn’t necessarily make the argument right. I’ve heard man-made global warming deniers claim that a cold-spell in the winter is proof that it’s all a hoax, while I’ve heard man-made global warming alarmists claim that a heatwave in the summer further proves their theory. Both arguments are not valid, and I’ll tell you why when I go into detail on this subject in a future article. 

Now that I have probably made both sides mad, I need to clear something up that is a common misconception. Man-made global warming IS NOT the same thing as man-made climate change. Man-made global warming would be the cause and man-made climate change would be the effect that you would get as a result of artificially warming the planet. Essentially, warming the planet alters the climate. 

Now my argument for years has been that all of the warming that has occurred over the last century has not all been caused by man. There are natural variations in climate that have caused at the least some of the warming. Just as much money should go into studying the natural variations in weather and climate as goes into studying man-made global warming and climate change. 

I’m not going to give my take on man-made global warming and climate change in this article. I want to know what YOU think. I believe that it is extremely important to discuss this topic openly despite our varying opinions and biases. Most people don’t feel comfortable talking about this subject, and I want Firsthand Weather to be a place where you can give your opinions without feeling uncomfortable. This is something that we need to talk about!

I have two polls that I would like you to answer, and they are completely anonymous. 

The first question is simply asking you what you think about man-made global warming. You may think that there is no evidence that man has altered the climate at all, or you may think that there is evidence that the effects of man-made global warming are imminent and are currently taking place. Some of you may think it could be a combination of man-made and natural influences. 

The second question asks you if you want Firsthand Weather to talk about this topic further. I’m willing to give my opinion and provide you with the resources to come up with your own stance on this subject. I could probably provide all of this info by writing several articles on the site this month.

Now that you have answered these questions anonymously. Please consider commenting below on why you hold your position. Whether you know nothing about this subject or know a lot about it, please take a minute or two to voice your opinion. Be sure to also follow Firsthand Weather on Facebook, where we will be also discussing this topic in the coming days.

  • David Hager

    Your poll choices are very poor.

  • Cheryl Turner

    I do believe it is a combination leaning 75% by man. I feel we have done many things in the last 100 yrs to pollute both water and air not intentionally at first but we did this for money and power. We have destroyed rain forests and eco systems which balanced the earth. We have caused animal extinction. All of the has hurt this planet. By depleting the ozone layer allows more harmful rays of the sun to reach earth, which I believe is allowing polar ice caps and glaciers to melt.

  • Sissy

    I also believe that man is over 70% responsible. We have not taken care of our environment and I believe we will have severe repercussions in the future if we do not address it.

  • T. Lov

    I believe that we are doomed. Why? Because too may people are too comfortable in their way of life to make the necessary changes to save us all. I believe that the changes that need to happen need to be drastic and immediate if we hope to save ourselves…. and even then, I am not sure it will work.

    • Barbeque3

      for you to feel ‘doomed’ you have to strongly believe that global warming is man-caused. And I have not seen any evidence to that which uses data or more than 50 years or so. That is really an extreme position to take on an insignificantly small sample data set. And even some of that data is questionable. When you get a change look up “The Skeptical Environmentalist.’ It is stocked full of actual long term climate data. Very well thought out and researched by a Dutch Scientist several years ago before the craze began.

  • RodgerB

    Its covered to much, in too many places, and is a political issue. Does man impact climate. Yes. Can we mitigate the effect of 2000 years of habitation? No. Move the hell on.

  • Wendy Jordan

    I believe that while some of the cause of global warming is due to natural causes, human activity has exacerbated it. Global climate change due to global warming is just one consequence of how our actions have impacted the environment.

  • James Currie

    7.24 billion people. Over 1 billion automobiles worldwide (30% annual increase in china alone). All growing at a exponential rate. Conservation of energy says that we cannot cannot create or destroy energy and conservation of mass says we cannot create or destroy mass, it just changes state or form. The rate of release is the question to me as the more people the more heat and the more autos the less heat is released back into space. Mix this with an ever changing world climate, which is so cause/effect dependent. At some point these collide and interfere to the point that Chaos and unpredictability takes over. The idea that we as humans, in our continuing effort to better individually and as a whole, have no impact as we develop to me seems ludicrous. To repeat the same action and expect a different result is silly. Unfortunately we don’t know when it will stop and can’t predict chaos. It will settle out on its own and we will have limited control over which side of the fence it lands on, be it for the better or worse. Just an engineer lost in the weeds and making as much trash as the next guy because it’s easier…

  • North Country Bill

    Al Gore refuses public debate. Why? What better forum to once and for all silence his detractors – if he has valid proof. If he had a legitimate argument, he would accept the challenge. NASA falsifying temperature data – speaks for itself. Historic perspective- the mid latitudes have had glacial coverage at times, palm trees at times. These events occurred long before man was creating various emissions of consequence.

    • Matt Sullivan

      Right on Bill! Open your eyes masses! This is all constructed to implement an agenda! Read your bibles, and ask Jesus in your heart’s because the hour is nigh!

  • LD

    There are billions of people currently living on the planet. 2000+ years of “people” most certainly effect earth. I don’t believe that nature and politics should be topics in the same conversation. Alas, more “people” make for more natural and man made problems.

  • I think there is too much money involved on both sides of the discussion to truly know what is going on. I think it would be disingenuous to think that man hasn’t caused some of the problem and I think it would be equally disingenuous to ignore the natural cycle.

    Look at what the debate has done for wind energy. Wind energy won’t stand on it’s own merits and has to be heavily subsidized. It’s not a good solution to the problem. It has a large footprint for a relatively low net gain and extremely high cost. As the wind turbine population ages and assets depreciate we will see them catastrophically fail and not be replaced due to the high cost.

    Solar power is almost there for the consumer. If battery technology makes at least one more quantum leap solar will be our best hope for clean, renewable power at home.

    What happened to the fuel cell? I had hopes for fuel cell technology to move things forward for home use.

    Here’s the elephant in the room- Burning fossil fuels is the single greatest contributor to man-made global warming correct? What solution for the problem that is most often postulated? Stop burning fossil fuels. Simple. No, it’s not that simple. Especially not for the US or any industrialized society. Factories, refineries, etc require huge amounts of energy. Note that I did not say power. I said energy. Heat energy and lots of it. The amount needed cannot be supplied by electricity. It has to come from burning fuel. You might think that refineries could be shut down because they burn fossil fuel to make fossil fuel. That isn’t correct. Nearly everything that we use today is derived from refined oil. From the plastic in your electronics, automobiles, toothbrush, clothing, food or what passes for food (ick), etc to a lot of the medicines and cleaning supplies in your cabinets, it’s all derived from oil. You, I, us, we are all addicted to oil and for most people it would be impossible to break the addiction.

    The problem is so much bigger than most people see… It’s easy to wring your hands and type all of the ridiculous things like “people should die” Is your dog on your computer typing that nonsense? Or “Wind, Solar, etc is the solution”. If you think that is the solution than you have no idea what the problem really is.

  • DouglasLucchetti

    Complexity is key, ideology obscures reality. Media thrives on controversy and fans a flame of divisiveness. In fact our civilization is built one a premise that climate is stable and regardless of the cause of change or rate of change we are very vulnerable to natural catastrophe ranging from storm to quake to economic collapse, all of which we would be wise to consider in hopes of avoiding. Rational voices need a forum. Cheers

  • cpeterka

    I’d stay away from this one. IMHO You will just stir up a bunch of deniers and they will overrun you on time and effort. I would just reply to them, “Thanks for your viewpoint. Please buy some property in Miami, Florida. Have a nice day.”

    • Marty G

      Debate bad. Coerced “consensus” good. Stop thinking! Stop!

  • JeffinRDU

    Matthew: personally, I voted a combination of factors and sure, I’d love to hear your take on the issue. You strike me as a reasoned, thoughtful fellow who carefully considers the evidence before forming an opinion. We could use that in a lot of our discourse – most certainly as it relates to the issue of climate change.

  • Marty G

    I think the human contribution is negligable. So much politics has corrupted the “consensus” it is ridiculous. A cold winter may not dispell AGW, but 17 years of no significant warming casts *serious* doubt (from IPCC’s own report). The only data set remaining that hasn’t been found to be politically manipulated are ocean temperatures and that record is short and spotty. But the combination of ocean acid levels and increased volcanic activity in the Arctic and other regions causes me to wonder if any ocean temperature rise is purely underwater volcanic activity which is poorly understood and difficult to characterize. The main historical cause of ocean acidification is volcanic activity. I don’t think there is any reason to suspect another cause at this point. It explains any ocean temperature rise and explains the acidification. Throw normal cycles of nature into the mix and any GW could easily be explained without clinging to trendy scientific “consensus”. And when was science ever about consensus anyway? It matters whose conclusions are provably correct, not how many cheerleaders yell. Why are the AGW data sets held so close to the vest, why aren’t the models in use publicly available? Why have the models completely failed to predict the 17 year non-warming? How good are they if they couldn’t predict that? Nearly every prediction from the AGW community for this time period has been completely off base. What does it take for a “consensus” to question itself? One thing is certain, both the Arctic ice sheet and Al Gore’s wallet have grown sustantially.

  • Kbetts

    In 1989, the UN funded and published the research that led to the infamous “Hockey Stick” graphic. Further peer review research showed that no matter what data was put into the computer model used, it would produce a hockey stick graph. In other words, from the beginning it was a lie. All climate research since then that concludes there is AGW (anthropomorphic “man made” global warming) uses similar computer models that only produce increasing temperatures. No matter what research is done, you get the same result every time with zero exceptions. Getting the same result every time brings the research process into doubt. When did the Bell curve and outliers suddenly dissapear?

    AGW researchers have been caught lying at least seven times. These liars are NOAA and NASA and UN employees under the full backing of their agencies. One website claims 129 climate scandals where research was falsified. We are starting to see a pattern much clearer than the AGW trend.

    I believe we are around ten generations of computer models away from being able to have useable predictions. Weather is a local phenomena meaning it is a result of a combination of many factors. Small changes have vastly different results. Computer programs are only as good as the quality of the data. We’re not sure if we have all the right types of data or combination of data that yields accurate predictions. It’s a puzzle that hasn’t been solved. Until we have a clear understanding of cause and effect, how can we blame anyone or anything? Until then we have to rely on old fashioned methods

    However, as long as AGW is the goal for this research it will always be tainted with bias and falsification. So who knows when if ever we’ll be able to ACCURATELY say what the weather in six months. To think that anyone can say today what the weather will be in a year, a decade, a century….. you are seriously deranged.

  • CW

    I went to school in the 70’s, when there was the same kind of fear and cries of alarm about global cooling and the next ice age getting started. I was skeptical then (probably in part thanks to my dad, (who has a master’s degree in climatology)). I’m similarly skeptical now, not in denial, but not particularly alarmed either.

  • Gerry

    I believe that this theory is not unlike other scare campaigns that have been muted in the past. Think global cooling, the scare about running out of food in the 70s, nuclear holocaust in the 60s. This is a fear campaign designed to minimise humans impact on the environment and in fact reverse our way of life backward to an harsher existence. It is driven by extreme environmentalists aided by world bodies such as the UN and many governments and NGOs.

  • Lhughes

    I question the current “global warming”
    for several reasons:
    1. It is clear that the world has been much warmer several times in the distant past, e.g. Greenland was once actually green etc.
    2. CO2 is a completely necessary part of the oxygen/carbon cycle without which life as we know it could not exist. How can it be a pollutant?
    3. The figures for these last years have used new and totally different measuring equipment and locations. Apples and oranges.
    4. The sun!
    5. Cycles upon cycles upon cycles upon cycles………….

  • guest

    We are to take care of our planet that GOD created for us to live on. I am not overly concerned about whatever people want to call it. We are not going to destroy this planet. GOD is in control of the weather and HE’s not biting HIS finger nails wondering what we’re going to do to HIS creation. It will be destroyed by fire but in HIS time. This is what I believe

  • Ecofriend

    Man-made climate change might be more visible in the tropical forests than most other places, if anyone is looking. The crucial action would be cutting down trees, which changes the hydrological cycle in multiple ways, especially in runoff from storms. Think: tree cover lost – rapid runoff – less soil moisture – drier soil – smaller plants – more soil heating – drier climate – fewer thunderstorms – less rain – less runoff – drier soils – desert.

    Ecologically speaking (my professional degree – PhD), increasing runoff rates is usually a bad idea. However, whether influx of fresh water into the equatorial Atlantic makes a difference in oceanic circulation is unknown to me, a rank amateur at oceanography.

    By contrast, increasing carbon dioxide concentrations is usually a good idea if one is trying to grow green plants. Commercial greenhouses typically maintain a carbon dioxide concentration of about 1000 ppm, which is a LOT higher than in today’s global atmosphere. That carbon dioxide likely is increasing plant productivity substantially, maybe mostly in cool to temperate ocean regions. Think, more algae – more plankton – more little fish – more salmon – better diets for bears (and people). If accurate, that could be a good thing.

    You, as a budding meteorologist, have a huge potential to enjoy what science is learning about meteorology (my MS degree). Just remember, if warming is your focus, warming comes from only two places, the sun and earth’s interior. We do not know much about either one. Choose your poison, and go for it.

  • Nancydd

    One person in your living room smoking would be like most of human history with people in earth’s closed system, all using energy & giving off by-products; fill that room, add a couple cigar smokers, and it will become nasty with pollution. We are over 7 billion people growing at millions per day, only an fool would not expect a dramatic impact.