By Matthew Allen
It is no secret that Al Gore has been vocal lately about the government”s apparent slacking off in regards to global warming. On Monday, Sept. 18, 2006, at New York University Law School, Gore once again blasted the Bush administration for not making the global warming issue a top priority.
In the midst of this controversy, some locals sympathize with Gore and his concerns, while others think the issue deserves less attention.
“I don”t think it”s as big a deal as Al Gore has made it,” said David Lassen, chairman of BYU College Republicans.
Lassen said while the issue is definitely worth attention, not enough proof exists that global warming is as terrible as some claim it is.
“You get a lot of mixed opinions and reviews if you listen to the scientists,” Lassen said. “It”s inconclusive and inconsistent.”
UVSC students Damian Macneill, a political science major, and Nick Grey, an international business major, agree with Lassen and his viewpoints.
“I think people are going crazy about a problem that doesn”t actually exist,” Macneill said. “The earth”s temperature has been fluctuating for thousands of years, and it”s gotten colder and warmer, but in the end, I think we as humans will learn to adapt.”
Grey said he trusts the government to tell him about important issues, and legislators” silence on global warming must mean it”s not important.
“It doesn”t seem like too big of a threat because we probably would have been informed a lot more on the subject. I think the government would let us know considering we are citizens.”
Jordan Gates, the environmental advisor to Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson, disagrees with viewpoints and assertions made by people like Macneill and Grey.
“We are concerned about global warming and believe that it is an issue,” Gates said.
The Salt Lake City mayor, Gates” boss, recently attended a conference in Seward, Alaska, where global warming was the focus.
Gates said the first thing people need to do is acknowledge that the use of fossil fuels contributes to the damaging effects of the environment.
“Our lifestyle, as good as it is, has produced some consequences,” Gates said. “The warming of our planet can be traced back to when we began to utilize fossil fuels.”
For some though, the issue is not whether global warming is an important topic that should be addressed or not: it is specifically how or whether people can actually rectify the current situation.
“The crucial issue is that we don”t know what we have to do in order to reduce the effect,” said Ray Christensen, the Political Science Department chair at BYU.
Christensen said so many factors are involved that it is hard to know what measures people should take.
“Do we plant more trees? Do we keep using fossil fuels?” Christensen asked rhetorically. “It”s difficult to know exactly how to solve the problem.”
Delbert J. Eatough and Jaron Hansen, atmospheric specialists in the BYU chemistry department, both said there are big uncertainties, but the issue certainly deserves attention.
“Everything you”ve read about greenhouse gases is true,” Eatough said. “There is absolutely no question that there has been an increase in CO2 in the atmosphere, and because of this, the earth is heating.”
Scientific evidence clearly points to global warming, Eatough said, but nailing down specifically how to deal with the problem is difficult.
“Predicting global warming on a global basis is difficult due to the cooling effects of light scattering by anthropogenic airborne particles [man-made air pollution] and cloud albedo [the amount of light that is reflected by clouds], and how these two effects interact with each other and with the heating effects of greenhouse gases,” Eatough said.
Hansen seconded Eatough”s viewpoints on the matter.
“We can measure that there has been an increase in CO2 and that the earth is getting warmer,” Hansen said. “What we don”t know is if that warming is all due to just CO2.”
While Hansen and Eatough said they think global warming is an important issue, they acknowledged that because it is not known how accurate global modeling for warming is, ample room exists for the political arguments on both sides.
“Should we be worried about global warming? Definitely. But should we consider it doomsday? That depends on who you talk to,” Eatough said.