Despite the strong consensus within the scientific community that global warming constitutes a serious threat to the human race and that human activity is contributing to the warming trend, there are some people who continue to insist that there is nothing to be concerned about and no reason to alter our behavior. An angry tone seems to be common when these doubters and deniers discuss global warming.
Several possible explanations for the intensity of their reactions come to mind. Their anger may be triggered by antagonism to environmentalists and their long history of opposing the unbridled harvesting of natural resources in the service of commerce and profit. The fact that science is seen by many as the enemy of religion may be a factor. They may be concerned that addressing global warming threatens our love affair with the automobile - fearing that sooner or later â€śtheyâ€ť are going to take our cars away or expect us to drive cars powered by carrot juice that wonâ€™t even come close to going zero to sixty in a matter of seconds.
Whatever the explanation, global warming seems to have become one of those issues, like abortion or gay marriage, where no one is allowed to remain neutral. There seems to be very little middle ground. You either accept global warming as a serious threat, or dismiss it entirely.
When â€śfour out of five dentistsâ€ť recommended sugarless gum â€śfor their patients who chew gum,â€ť I didnâ€™t switch to sugarless gum, I quit chewing gum. I also found myself wondering what was wrong with that fifth dentist. In the same spirit, if four out of five scientists are concerned about global warming, I am willing to share their concerns.
Global warming seems to be an issue where we would be wise to err on the side of caution. If the grim scenario envisioned by the scientific community comes to pass, the consequences will be severe. We should be doing everything we can to minimize the damage.
Even if scientists are wrong about global warming, there are dangers involved in continuing to burn fossil fuels. Much of what we can do to combat global warming has benefits that outweigh their costs.
Letâ€™s take a laymanâ€™s look at cars. You donâ€™t have to be a scientist to know what happens if your sit inside your car, with the engine running, in a garage or other enclosed space. If you sit there too long, you wonâ€™t have to worry about global warming any longer. You will die of carbon monoxide poisoning. This would seem to indicate that the exhaust coming out of our cars is hazardous.