Having been born in the mid 90’s, I have always heard the terms “climate change” and “global warming” growing up. It has been issue in the media, in the classroom, economically, and socially. Classes are designed around climate change. It has become a key issue in presidential elections. Documentaries have been created around it. Companies have been founded or destroyed because of climate change. It has been hotly debated if whether global warming exists or if climate change is a result of human activity. Having recently watched Al Gore’s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” one has the feeling the world is doomed and humans drove it there. He includes large scale graphs to demonstrate the extreme change in climate entirely driven by human activity. On the other side of the argument, humans don’t or hardly have cause change in climate. It was refreshing to hear from Kerry Emanuel that there is no dispute amongst scientists that humans are causing climate change, but to what degree is still up for debate.
Greenhouses gases have gained a bad reputation. However, they naturally exist in the atmosphere and are actually very important. Growing up, I was always under the impression humans created greenhouse gases, which are causing the Earth to be hotter and damaging the ozone. This isn’t entirely false, but greenhouse gases are not only good, but crucial in natural volume. Much of my basic understanding of climate change has been driven by the media. I have now realized how inaccurately the media is reporting on climate change. It is important topic to discuss and should not be over looked, but it does need to be properly reported. These misrepresentations have probably fueled much of the disagreement around climate change. Based on Emanuel’s lecture, I am now under the impression that advancements in technology are most likely the only way to know if climate change is driven by human activity and to what extent. Argo robotics is one example of improved technologies that Emanuel mentioned. Granted, it is possible that we may never know or not know any time soon how human activity affects climate change, but if we could invest in advancing technology then may be it is possible to truly evaluate climate change. However, technology seems to only be able to measure climate change so far and not able to predict future climate change. I am sure there are several predictions available, but I am also sure those predictions all contradict each other. It seems to be more valuable if we can predict climate change to prepare for any potential disastrous changes. Either way investing in technology measuring climate change seems necessary in addition to accurately representing climate change in the media and textbooks.