General Question

wundayatta's avatar

How much of a problem do you think global warming is?

Asked by wundayatta (58714points) July 8th, 2009

What do you think global warming is? What do you think will happen as the earth warms up? Will it affect you or your kids or your grandchildren? If so, how? Does the idea of global warming make you change your behavior? Or do you rely on other people to help you be green (like Toyota making hybrid cars, or other companies designing low-flow toilets, or developers building more housing close together instead of creating more suburban sprawl)?

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44 Answers

marinelife's avatar

I object to how this question is phrased. Global warming is not a matter of opinion:

“There is a scientific consensus on the fact that Earth’s climate is heating up and human activities are part of the reason. ”


The kind of effort that will be needed must occur on all fronts. It must be led by government and industry, as well as involving individuals in order to have sufficient impact on reducing greenhouse gases.

Vincentt's avatar

If sealevels rise more half the Netherlands will be flooded. That won’t be pleasant. Most people don’t seem to care, unfortunately – or at least, not care enough to actually do something about it (like, as I mentioned in your other question, take it into account when voting). As for my behaviour, see my answer on the other question ;-)

fireinthepriory's avatar

I think that global warming is going to cause extreme environmental shifts (for example, as @Vincentt mentioned, the Netherlands and many other coastal areas will flood as the ice caps melt and the seas rise) and that unfortunately, it’s probably going to take a major, major disaster of almost unthinkable proportions for there to be legislated changes in enough nations’ governments that make a difference to the point where we will once again live in some kind of environmental stasis. I don’t think humans will die out, we’re very resourceful, but basically I think it’s gonna suck for a while when shit starts to go down…

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’m sure it’s serious and the severity of it I don’t even want to think about

wundayatta's avatar

@Marina I didn’t mean for my question to imply that there is a question of whether there is global warming or not. I just want to know how much of a problem you think it will be. I’m sorry if the wording is misleading. I would have hoped the details of the question would have made that clearer.

We can certainly describe global warming, although that doesn’t mean that everyone thinks it is the same thing. As for it’s consequences, both to the planet and to individuals, that is open to speculation, it seems to me. Scientific models for the future of the earth are probably extremely inaccurate. I mean, just look at weather forecasting! And that’s only one aspect of the earth.

Phobia's avatar

Global warming may be a problem, but I think it’s something out of human reach. Its been documented from ice cores that the world warms and cools in sort of a cycle. There are cores that show the climate taking extreme changes in less than 20 years, if I recall correctly, and that’s without humans adding to it.

I truly think there is nothing we can do to remedy this, but can only hope to slow it down. To even slow it down, we would need the entire world to work together, and I doubt that would ever happen.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

There is no global warming in Iowa. We’ve had the wettest, chilliest, cloudiest, nastiest most God-awful spring & summer that I can remember. We certainly aren’t contributing to the problem!

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@jbfletcherfan global warming doesn’t mean warming…it means fluctuations in weather…so it can meet wet weather as well

christine215's avatar

I don’t mean to be a fatalist, (but I’m going to sound like one anyway) but what is this is just the way it was meant to be? Did you ever think that possibly we’re just being ‘rejected’ from the earth? Possibly we were MEANT to go by the way of the dinosaurs? Religion aside, I’m not referencing ‘end of days here…

We’ve overpopulated ourselves… and POSSIBLY not unlike when there’s too many deer in woods, and they gather hunters together for ‘mercy killings’ (culling is that the term?) we’ll face a day when there will be a ‘natural culling’ of our herd?

(ok, maybe the 12:34:45 07 08 09 got to me today)
just because it’s chillier in your state or town or on your block doesn’t mean that there is no global warming, because last time I checked, Iowa is on the GLOBE…

Les's avatar

@jbfletcherfan: Guh. Climate change, then.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Simone_De_Beauvoir I know…I said that tongue in cheek. never mind

casheroo's avatar

I think it’s a huge problem, but I also think that it’s part of Earth’s natural course. I still don’t like it.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

Like my husband says, we haven’t been alive & keeping records long enough to really know what the weather patterns are for the earth. This is probably just the natural order of things.

marinelife's avatar

@daloon In your case, it could be beneficial since you will not feel the cold so much on you uncovered ass.

cwilbur's avatar

@jbfletcherfan: a more accurate term would be global climate change. The average temperature will probably increase, but local temperatures will probably just fluctuate more wildly.

irocktheworld's avatar

It’s a really big problem and i really hate it

YARNLADY's avatar

It will continue to lead to some changes in living habits for coastal residents.

The controversy about the Big Thing is whether it is human caused, and if so, can we do anything about it. My answer to that is NO, and very little. People need to be encouraged to live as Green as possible, but only because it is in our best interest, not to “stop” a major climate fluctuation.

fireinthepriory's avatar

@YARNLADY I don’t know, I think it’s pretty clear that at the very least, global climate change has been greatly influenced by humans. Not directly (it’s not like the atmosphere’s CO2 content was impacted by the amount of CO2 we create by exhaling!) but we set into action changes in the earth’s many ecosystems which have been cascading into bigger changes. Perhaps these changes would have happened anyway, but it’s pretty clear that there was a big shift back at the industrial revolution, which says to me there was a human cause (or at the least, the changes were accelerated by human activity). You’re right – living green will probably not halt major climate fluctuation, but hopefully we can get back to some kind of equilibrium where we’re not in danger of throwing the earth so out of balance it can’t recover to the point where climate change happens slowly enough that evolution can do its job. Mass extinction totally happens, I’d just rather not be the cause of my own species’ (not to mention many others) demise. I find the Mauna Loa data in particular to be pretty terrifying.

YARNLADY's avatar

@fireinthepriory sorry, I can’t get the link to load

fireinthepriory's avatar

@YARNLADY It was the graph to the right here

YARNLADY's avatar

@fireinthepriory Thank you. I enjoyed the article and I do agree with the results. I also believe that everything we eat and drink and the air we breathe is contaminated. The ‘end’ has already started, and without a huge change in the attitude of the industries that have brought this about, there is little hope for mankinds lengthly survival.

With the kind of greed and shortsighted policies we have seen from leaders in industry and government all over the world, I firmly believe it is already too late. Only the very strong and healthy will survive.

That said, I believe the the Global Warming phenominen is a natural cycle, and there is little to nothing we can do about it.

tinyfaery's avatar

So. Cal. has been in horrible drought for years. Our water is being rationed and there are HUGE penalties for over usage. Fires have been raging due to horribly dry brush (aka kindle). Predictions indicate that it will just get worse. I think it will effect me greatly, more and more as the years go on.

YARNLADY's avatar

@tinyfaery—And yet, they continue to build condos to hold 10 times more people on the same amount of land – disgusting, isn’t it? Have you seen what they did to the miles and miles of fields that used to line I-5 from Irvine to Laguna Hills? I still remember when there were only about 6 million people in all of Southern California, and most of Orange County was orange groves. We could drive miles and miles and never see a store, or building.

critter1982's avatar

No I haven’t changed any of my behaviors. Global warming is an issue and yes humans have increased the rate at which the globe is warming but not significantly. It’s a cycle and no matter what we do we will not stop it, maybe delay it, but not stop it. I’ve heard that the Kyoto Protocol will only reduce the global warming by a tenth of a degree by 2050. Seems somewhat insignificant to me, but of course I’m not the scientist.

kevbo's avatar

The planet may be warming, and humanity has definitely caused environmental degredation in the industrial age. Regardless, I believe the story of global warming that we are being sold is the next Big Lie and yet another iteration of Oz-like wizardy and coerced sacrifice to appease the Sun God. More bluntly, it creates a new tax structure to ensure the status quo before long suppressed energy technologies threaten to give us too much freedom from energy companies.

Yes, we are all environmental sinners, who must each offer sacrifice and consternation at this problem that we all created, nevermind that auto companies and oil companies haven’t figured out how to increase fuel efficiency or replace the combustion engine (despite the fact that cars have run on water). Nevermind chemtrails and the military’s likely success in weaponizing the weather (see Kucinich’s space bill). Nevermind that the US military is the single largest consumer of fossil fuels. Do as your church tells you, sinner, but nevermind that your priest is a pedophile.

So, here’s an article that isn’t the best refutation I’ve read, but that does poke holes in the IPCC report cited by @Marina. It also does something interesting, which is to liken GW/GCC believers to conspiracy theorists in their “need” for a grand evil that threatens to doom the planet and the propensity to see false positives.

YARNLADY's avatar

Here’s an article about global warming that should warm the cockles of our jellyfish hearts. It says “They say climate change could also cause jellyfish populations to grow. The team believes that for the first time, water conditions could lead to what they call a “jellyfish stable state,” in which jellyfish rule the oceans.”

Vincentt's avatar

* turns up the heater and opens all the windows *

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I think our planet will do just fine and support life for the next 5 billion years. global warming may simply just be part of the natural cycle of of the earth. It may get to a point where humanity is very hard pressed to survive, but regardless, the planet will be fine.

bea2345's avatar

@ABoyNamedBoobs03 – somehow, that is not in the least comforting.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

lol hey, just saying what could be likely. you and I will probably be dead by then regardless though.

mattbrowne's avatar

It will most likely be the number 1 problem from 2025 to 2100. And we have to act now. The biggest problem is neither rising ocean levels nor extreme weather (although we will have to deal with this as well at some point). The biggest problem is the inability of functioning ecosystems to adapt because of the unprecedented speed of change. Biodiversity will be greatly reduced. Food chains will be disrupted. Earth will survive, and also the crocodile and most likely homo sapiens as well. But instead of 9 billion people the radically changed ecosystems might be able to sustain only 1 billion people or less. See the problem? Who will be among the “missing” 8 billion people. Your kids or grand kids? Mine? The investment banker’s kids with access to hidden cash stored on the Cayman Islands? The people of New Orleans who were forgotten already once? The people with or without guns?

YARNLADY's avatar

@mattbrowne The Cayman Islands will probably be one of the first to go.

notabridesmaid's avatar

Its a huge problem that unfortunatley many people don’t take as seriously as they should. I think it is easier for people to say, “there is nothing we can do about it” and continue business as usual, than for everyone to make changes to their lifestyles. I mean we are talking about the existance of the human race isn’t it worth a try!!!???

mattbrowne's avatar

@notabridesmaid – There’s still hope that people will take it seriously. Like they did when the ozone holes were increasing.

wundayatta's avatar

@notabridesmaid Do you think there is a danger of wiping every human off the planet?

notabridesmaid's avatar

@daloon Not all of us. Most but not all. However, I do fear that when that times comes those of us who are left will all kill eachother in the fight for resources. We already fight over land, oil, etc. Whats to be expected if the resources that we need to live are diminishing faster than the rate at which the earth can regenerate them? It scares me to death honestly…It makes me afraid to have children,

wundayatta's avatar

@notabridesmaid Not to be a catastrophist, but if a lot of people die, that means there will be a lot more resources for those still living.

And you’re probably exactly the kind of person who should be having children. They might be much more helpful in preventing this disaster, seeing as who is their parent.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

pollution is bad.

ABoyNamedBoobs03's avatar

I wanted to put something a bit more intellectually rewarding there but I’m way to busy cleaning my house with ariesol based products, drowning baby seals in my in ground pool fill with oil and strangling little seagulls with plastic six pack rings….

proXXi's avatar

Well, it’s occupying at least one thread on fluther….

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