Friday, April 1, 2011

Climate Change Vs. Global Warming – What’s Happening to our Planet?

To the editor:

While looking at our thermostats and the weather outside our windows, I think it’s most important that we remember the difference between climate change and global warming. While Al Gore and many other influential members of our society have declared that our rising temperatures and impressive storms are caused by global warming, it’s much easier to prove that our planet is in fact being affected by climate change.

After taking a course at Rowan University on the topic of climate change, it has come to my attention that global warming seems to be a much more used and common term than climate change and it’s important for people to know the differences between the two. Global warming is often associated with human causes for heat-related impacts including pollution and the ever-popular green house gasses. Climate change is more associated with natural occurrences of our Earth including ranging impacts such as hot summers, freezing winters and other extreme natural occurrences.

Throughout the Earth’s history, it has experienced climate change a number of times. The United States Environmental Protection Agency notes on their website three examples of climate change in the past 2,000 years. This includes The Medieval Climate Anomaly that took place between 900 and 1300 AD. Historical accounts document that Europe, Greenland and Asia experienced relative warmth while the Western region had unusually dry conditions. The Little Ice Age between 1500 and 1850 experienced temperatures that were on average two degrees colder than today. The Industrial Era has erupted in the last 100 years and it has been a warm period. There have been substantial increases in greenhouse gasses during this time, so it is possible for some of our problems to be caused by global warming, but to disregard the possibility of climate change is absurd.

I believe it important that people are aware that global warming itself cannot be proven as it is a current theory. While it is important for the people of the world to be involved with current and relevant issues, alarmist mentalities and false information won’t help. It’s discouraging that news sources, politicians and other people of influence use propaganda (remember those ever so popular photographs of polar bears on tiny sheets of ice) to get their point across. With information that isn’t 100 percent reliable or accurate, the population must remember to do their own research and reach their own conclusions. It’s the responsibility of journalists to feed information to the public without bias or misrepresentation.

Our planet has certainly experienced climate changes as well as horrific and extreme weather conditions such as tsunamis, earthquakes and floods. Despite my cry for people to not jump to conclusions on global warming, I do believe that we should all be taking our own personal steps to help keep our planet safe and as green as possible. We all have a responsibility to keep our home environment as clean and safe as we can.

Lorraine Metz

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