Tag Archive: global warming

Global warming is gathering dust

Unfortunately for the planet, the topic of global warming is already starting to put people to sleep.

On Thursday, November 8th, famous climatologist and leading expert on global climate change, Micheal Mann spoke to a packed auditorium in Carroll Hall about the causes and effects of global warming. As an ardent environmentalist, I was very excited about the talk. Michael Mann is an originator of the “hockey stick” temperature graph and is one of many scientists who share the Nobel Peace Prize recently awarded to Al Gore.

The presentation was divided into six segments including the scientific consensus, the basic principles and concepts of global warming, the observational evidence to prove that it is occurring, theory versus observations, projections of future climate change and overall impacts.

While Dr. Mann covered each segment thoroughly and concisely, I couldn’t help but feel frustrated as I heard yet again what the “greenhouse effect” is. I was president of the environmental club at my high school. I have taken three classes on environmental action. I own the movie, An Inconvenient Truth. In other words, I know why and how global warming is occurring. Please tell me something new.

I think that most people in attendance already knew or had at least heard the information Dr. Mann covered. Unless you live under a rock or choose denial as a way of life, you must know that global warming is occurring and the main contributing factor is the exponential increase of human generated CO2.

So, did I learn anything new? Yes, Dr. Mann did briefly introduce one phenomenon I have not yet heard about— geo-engineering which is essentially “engineering” our way out of the climate crisis. Instead of enforcing conservation and preservation, some scientists and politicians have suggested creating artificial devices to counteract the causes of global warming. Potential ideas include pumping excess CO2 into the bottom of the ocean, constructing “fake trees”, placing mirrors in space to reflect sunlight and seeding clouds. I agree with Dr. Mann’s remark on the issue, “I am fairly uncomfortable with this.”

Although Dr. Mann’s talk was a good general overview of the reality of global warming, I left the auditorium that evening disappointed. My biggest concern and criticism of the presentation was the absence of new information or different perspective on such a crucial topic. People are already growing immune towards the dire effects of global warming because the information is simply put on repeat sounding like a broken record.

One student summed up my thoughts as we exited the building, “We just watched An Inconvenient Truth minus Al Gore.”

By Mary Lide Parker

An Inconvenient Lecture

As an ardent environmentalist, I try to educate myself as much as possible on issues related to global warming. Traveling to Raleigh to hear Elizabeth Kolbert, author of The New Yorker‘s three-part series “The Climate of Man,” speak, however, turned out to be more inconvenient than informative.

Kolbert’s lecture kicked off N.C. State’s week-long symposium entitled “The Rolf Buchdahl Lecture on Science, Technology, and Values.” While I have never felt the desire to visit the N.C. State campus, I banded together with fellow UNC environmentalists to hear what was sure to be an enlightening presentation on global warming.

I could not have been more disappointed.

Kolbert — no relation to Stephen Colbert since they spell their names differently — began her talk candidly: “I don’t believe I need to convince anyone here that global warming exists or that it is a real and present danger.”

This statement turned out to be the most optimistic one she made all night. For the next hour and a half, I listened to an array of daunting numbers and figures related to the rapid climate change of our planet. While Kolbert’s facts are indeed crucial evidence to the damaging effects of global warming, I and much of the audience had heard them all before — in Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.”

From records of the isotopic composition of ice, to the increase in CO2 levels, to the phenomenon of melting permafrost and drunken forests in the Arctic, all of Kolbert’s major points were the exact same as those made in Gore’s film. She even showed the same graphs and pictures.

One of my UNC comrades, freshman Bryce Koukopoulos, held similar sentiments. “I don’t feel like I learned anything new,” she said. “It just reinforced everything they said in ‘An Inconvenient Truth.’”

Kolbert’s nihilistic comments were the only original components of her talk. “Even if we maintain our current greenhouse gas emissions, the earth will continue to heat up,” she said. “So if we continue to increase our emissions each year, the earth will just heat up that much faster.”

Throughout her speech, Kolbert specifically addressed the students of the audience. In her apocalyptic tone, she informed us that our future is bleak, to say the least. “We are headed toward a different planet,” she said. “Once global warming gets going, it is extremely difficult to stop.”

Kolbert ended her fatalistic address on perhaps the most encouraging note of all, “There is no uncertainty that global warming is happening. The only uncertainty is whether or not we have a chance for survival.”

Thank you, Mrs. Kolbert. Now please excuse me while I go give up all hope.

– Mary Lide Parker