Global warming as a phenomenon has elicited a lot of academic activity which aim at explaining it. There are two schools of thought, those that support it and those who do not. The skeptic group has it that the proponents use propaganda to aid their cause and have researched to the same whereas the proponents say that they have scientific backing to their claims. The underlying factor in the global warming debate is that human activity is to blame for the rise in global temperature.
A propaganda devise used by the proponents of this phenomenon is ‘Appealing to fear’ (Courtney par. 5). These are reports that contain phrases that instill fear into the masses in that if nothing is done to eliminate global warming then doom will prevail. An example is a title like ‘Scientists fear global warming higher than expected’ that introduced an article in Euractive.com which gives a sublime message that this issue even alarms the professionals, scientists, thus something must be done.
Norman Rogers (par. 7) explains that the fear factor has been propagated by the scientists by use of computer programs which have complex programs which give further complex answers. He says that these super computers conflict in their findings although they are made with the same goal; predicting the future weather patterns (par. 8). He further elaborates that the global warming alarmism is supported by computer climate models used to predict future climate.
William and Brian quoted Dr. Nils-Axel Morner a former president of International Union for Quaternary Research and a geologist that the data alleging that the sea level predictions given by Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is falsified (par. 22). He stated that the findings were computer generated not actual observations thus no research was conducted. He further pointed out that none of the authors of the report were sea level specialists. They simply reported what they were told to report and to cover their tracks they used the simulations thus created.
The riding assumption is that people would not invest their time and resources to critique the findings of the professionals. Further the use of sophisticated gadgets and formulas compound their problem in understanding the concepts thus readily agree. The alarmists have perfected a reversed mode of operation that of starting with the findings and working back to the cause. They conceive the idea that they want the masses to engage in then formulate complex formulas, explanations and sensational media releases to reign in the public.
A recent article ‘Global Warming’ (New York Times par. 14) was of the view that there is scientific evidence that since 1950 the world’s climate has been heating up primarily because of burning of fossil fuels and cutting down tropical forests. It is through these actions that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are released to the atmosphere. It simply states that carbon dioxide is to blame for the changing weather patterns rather than other factors. In so doing the propaganda projected here is that of ‘Name calling’. This is the inverting of an essential commodity, carbon dioxide, to a pollutant.
Those who do not agree to this notion have said that carbon dioxide is not a major greenhouse gas. They even go further and state that water vapor which is the primary greenhouse gas may also be classified as a pollutant. They are of the view that carbon dioxide cannot be the only factor in increasing the global temperatures as there are many variables to consider before making such a conclusion (Williams and Brian par. 6). Climate science they state is at its infancy and with many factors influencing it e.g. ocean currents, solar activity, clouds and atmospheric humidity, it then gives a complex scenario which cannot be explained away by a one simple element.
An interesting aspect was pointed out by Williams and Brian that the period of 1999-2008 was characterized by no temperature rise despite rise in carbon dioxide levels (par. 6). Now, if carbon dioxide was the main causative for global warming, why is there a negative reaction to its increase? In addition rise in carbon dioxide theoretically should increase the amount of water vapor in the atmosphere which now absorbs additional heat but again the uncertainties over water vapor, rainfall and cloud cover have resulted in different and inaccurate computer projections (par.7).
The assumption here is that people would readily accept carbon dioxide as a culprit as they recognize it due to familiarity and forget to ask questions as to how it really affects the atmosphere. To buttress this idea, the scientists point people from the actual research done to other unrelated happenings to act as proof e.g. intense hurricanes, melting polar ice and rapidly rising oceans. Frequency and intensity of hurricanes in the USA have been monitored from 1851-2005 and there has been no significant increase in neither the frequency nor intensity during this time line (Williams and Brian par.18). There was a drop in the frequencies from 2006 to 2009 and globally, the levels are on their lowest in 30 years time.
The other tool for propaganda is media manipulation. The media being a tool to reach masses has been used to spread the gospel of global warming in an effective manner. In June 16th 2002 the New York Times reported in an article that temperature in Alaska had risen about seven degrees over the last 30 years (Egan par. 1).
This report was termed as excessive by Alaskan climatologists and United States Government Agencies, the Alaska Climate Research centre even gave a response to the effect that the correct warming for the area was a third of the quoted level (O’Ronain par. 1). This correction by the experts was unheeded and the paper ran a correction stating that the rise was of 5.4 degrees not seven which the Research Centre again responded that it was still a high figure (O’Ronain par. 2).
The proponents against this type of propaganda state that the media should research their stories before publishing them as facts. In the case of Shishmaref village in Alaska which was reported to be submerged because of rising sea level. The perceived rise in sea level was in fact erosion by the sea through longshore drift and had nothing to do with increased sea volume (Flood par. 5). However there is another angle to this propaganda; scientists and their reports.
In November 2009 hackers got into the server of East Anglia’ Climate Research Unit and released correspondence of proponents of global warming. These were communications that evidenced the scientists’ conspiracy to subvert peer reviews and intimidate those who disagree with them (Williams and Brian par.24). These scientists discovered that the media is more than eager to air their stories thus feeds them the sensational pieces of information that they run.
The riding assumption is that the public would identify with whatever the mainstream news channels convey and would seldom ask as to their authentication. The masses would consume the news provided a prominent source is ‘quoted’. This points towards widespread bias and close mindedness of the public towards accumulating information and knowledge. Thus global warming was given a ‘good story’ title that which resonated well with the politics and economics of the day. A good example would be Al Gore and his anti-global warming campaigns worldwide.
In conclusion, the politics of the day pull the strings when it comes to global warming.
There are carbon credits to be sold, economies to be favorably structured to those in the know and a public which believes everything that the politicians and scientists tell them. People are suffering from the disease of ‘need to be saved’ that is why the politicians came up with these startling figures and terminologies, with the help of scientists. It is after the public is well weaned of these propaganda that the same politicians would come to present the recovery package in the form of cutting greenhouse gases emissions, carbon credits and the like. This would mean more business avenues for the politicians and more fright for the worried populace.