Environmentalists are those people who are dedicated to the preservation, restoration, or improvement of the natural environment, and this includes the preservation of our natural resources and the prevention of pollution. In regards to the global warming topic, environmentalists believe that forests should not be cut down or burned, which would help to prevent more CO2 from going into the air. Environmentalists also support renewable energy sources, as less coal and fossil fuel usage would lead to less CO2 being put into the air.
Media coverage in the United States tends to give equal coverage to both sides of the debate involving global warming. That may sound reasonable, but it actually might lead to inaccurate coverage. The reason why is because the "balance" of covering both sides of the issue has allowed a small group of global warming sceptics, many of which are funded by carbon-based industry interests, to be frequently consulted and quoted in new reports on climate change.
This has allowed their views to be greatly amplified to the point where it looks like there is a 50/50 divide on whether human-made global warming is a legitimate concern or not, when in reality, there is more overwhelming evidence that suggests that human-made global warming is a real legitimate concern. Controversy is being stirred when science actually finds consensus.
However, there is disagreement about whether the scientific community has reached a consensus that human-made global warming is a legitimate concern and that if it is left unchecked, it will cause considerable damage to our planet in terms of extreme climate changes, more powerful tropical storms and hurricanes, and rising sea levels that will lead to the destruction of coastal communities, among other destructive events. Opponents maintain that no consensus has been reached, claiming that most scientists believe that human-made global warming is "unproven," they dismiss the theory altogether, or they dispute the dangers of consensus science.
Global warming is also a decisive political issue, especially in the United States. Most Republicans tend to adopt the view of not believing that human-made global warming is a "proven" issue, so they oppose all proposed measures of counteracting it because they don't believe it's necessary. Democrats, on the other hand, believe that human-made global warming is a legitimate cause of concern and endorse measures to reduce and/or eliminate the threat.
Two perfect examples of the political division involving the global warming issue are President George W. Bush's inaction regarding the Kyoto Treaty provisions and 2000 Democratic Presidential candidate Al Gore's new documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," that refocuses attention on the global warming issue and why we must address it soon or face dire consequences.
The Kyoto Treaty is an amendment to the international treaty on climate change, calling for mandatory emission limitations for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to the nations that sign off on it. It was opened for signature on December 11, 1997, but wasn't enforced until February 16, 2005.
Even though the United States is a signee of the Kyoto Treaty, the US has neither ratified nor withdrawn from the Treaty. Since it has not been ratified by the US to this point, the US is not required to follow the provisions of the Kyoto Treaty.
On July 25, 1997, the U.S. Senate passed the Byrd-Hagel Resolution, which called for developing nations to also be required to follow the Kyoto Treaty before forcing industrialized nations to sign off on it, 95-0. They feared serious harm would come to the US economy if they signed off on it beforehand, as developing nations not bound by the Kyoto Treaty would have an unfair advantage over industrialized nations like the US in coal and fossil fuel production. As a result, the Treaty was never submitted to the Senate for ratification.
Current President George W. Bush has no intentions of submitting the treaty to the Senate for ratification, not because he doesn't support the Kyoto principles, but because of the exemption granted to China (the world's second-largest emitter of carbon dioxide after the US, and is projected to be the largest emitter by 2010.) Bush also believes the Treaty would put much strain on the US economy; he has concerns over the uncertainties which are present in the climate change issue.
Bush and the US Government have enacted some of their own legislation in order to mitigate the climate change and the US is on track to fulfil its pledge to reduce its carbon intensity 18% by 2012. However, Paul Krugman has stated that the target 18% reduction in carbon intensity is still actually an increase in overall emissions. In addition, the White House has also come under criticism for downplaying reports linking human activity and greenhouse gas emissions to climate change.
Al Gore has brought renewed focus on the topic of global warming with his Oscar-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth." This documentary shows Mr. Gore's passionate and inspirational look at his fervent crusade to stop global warming's deadly progress by exposing the myths and misconceptions that surround it. The documentary also reveals that if most of the world's scientists are right about global warming, we may have just ten years to avert a major catastrophe that could cause our world to experience extreme weather, floods, droughts, epidemics, and killer heat waves at levels we've never seen before.
As you can see, there are many facets and elements that go into the topic of global warming. From the controversial science behind it to the way the media covers it to the politics that are behind each side of the debate to the Kyoto Treaty that tries to address the issue of global warming to the Oscar-winning documentary, "An Inconvenient Truth," that tries to alert people that global warming is a real issue that needs to be addressed now by all, both governmental and individual, global warming is a very important topic in our world. The debate will likely continue, but the evidence seems to indicate that human-made global warming is having more pronounced effects on our world, and without concise and decisive action in the near future, it's quite possible that the damage caused by global warming will only continue to become more devastating to our world.
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