December 23, 2009
What’s Warming Us Up? Human Activity Or Mother Nature?
A major analysis of the climate debate concludes that the majority of scientists agree that global warming is primarily man-made, although a vocal minority of skeptics is holding onto the idea that Mother Nature is the cause. The cover story of current issue Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), ACS' weekly newsmagazine, appears at the conclusion of the much-publicized United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. That conference sought to seal a comprehensive international agreement on dealing with global warming.
C&EN Senior Correspondent Stephen K. Ritter notes in the article that global warming believers and skeptics agree on a cluster of core points. These points include the following: That the Earth's atmospheric load of carbon dioxide has increased since the Industrial Revolution began in the late 1700s; that this increase largely results from the burning of coal and other fossil fuels; and that the average global temperatures have been rising since 1850, with most of the warming occurring since 1970.
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