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Is Global Warming a Hoax?

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Two polar bears on a small ice floe surrounded by water. Symbolic for climate situation in the arctic.
SeppFriedhuber/Vetta/Getty Images
Question: Is Global Warming a Hoax?
Isn't it true that the global warming scare is really just a hoax perpetrated by environmentalists who want to attract more funding and liberals who want to promote big government?

Answer: No, it is not true.

This argument surfaces every now and then during discussions of global warming, often supported by some random and isolated bit of outdated information, but it is a ridiculous claim.

Scientific Consensus on Global Warming
Worldwide, every major scientific agency or institution that studies climate, oceans or the atmosphere agrees that the global climate is warming rapidly and the primary cause is greenhouse gas emissions related to human activity. Even a short list would include such notable organizations as:

  • National Academy of Sciences (NAS)
  • National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
  • NASA’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies (GISS)
  • Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
  • The Royal Society of the UK (RS)
  • Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS)
  • Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
The Politics of Global Warming
The idea that global warming is a hoax picked up some support in the political realm in July 2003, when U.S. Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla), former chairman of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works, concluded a long speech on the Senate floor with these words:

“With all of the hysteria, all of the fear, all of the phony science, could it be that man-made global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? It sure sounds like it.”

Even in 2003, Inhofe’s claims couldn’t stand up to much scrutiny. Today, the senator would find it even harder to rally political support for the notion that global warming is a hoax.

When the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released its report on The Physical Basis of Climate Change in February 2007, 113 nations immediately endorsed its conclusion that human activity is responsible for the acceleration of global warming since the beginning of the Industrial Age.

In January 2007, the U.S. House of Representatives created a new Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, and Republicans and Democrats in both the House and the Senate have introduced legislation to curb greenhouse gas emissions significantly over the next few decades.

Business and Industry Acknowledge Global Warming
It’s not only the majority of scientists and politicians who accept the reality of human-caused global warming. Leading businesses across all industries also acknowledge the problem of global warming.

The U.S. Climate Action Partnership, an unprecedented alliance between corporate executives and environmental groups that launched in January 2007 has proposed a federal cap-and-trade program that would cut greenhouse-gas emissions 60 percent to 80 percent by mid-century.

Even more telling, perhaps, are the positions taken by some oil companies.

BP, the largest oil company in the UK and one of the largest in the world, has this to say about global warming:

“There is an increasing consensus that climate change is linked to the consumption of carbon based fuels and that action is required now to avoid further increases in carbon emissions as the global demand for energy increases.”

And Shell Oil says:

“Shell shares the widespread concern that the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities is leading to changes in the global climate.”

Conclusion
To make the case that global warming is a hoax, someone would have to believe that environmentalists and political liberals control businesses and industries worldwide as well as the legislative bodies and scientific institutions of every developed nation in the world. That would be a hard case to make.

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