This post is rather long; if you want to skip to the meat of it, I'd suggest starting with the paragraph immediately above the first set of bullet points.
What of global warming? It is true that in recent weeks the politics of health care have stolen the lime light which was previously shining gloriously on the thought of man-made climate change with the passage of the so called Cap And Trade bill (which was recently discredited by the original author of the idea).
However, it still comes up in the news and in politics from time to time (which begs the question, “Is this really a scientific concept or a political one?”).
As with my previous post, I would like to simply apply logic to the whole idea rather than mess with facts and figures. I would like to figure out specifically what the Al Gore argument is. Obviously, it puts forth the idea that the earth is warming. But this in and of itself is nothing significant, since the idea that earth's temperature would (or could) remain constant is absurd. So it must be that the earth is warming and it is doing so at an unusual rate, either too slowly or too quickly; of these two choices, it is obvious the argument is that the earth is warming too quickly.
Additionally, if it were simply that the earth were warming at an accelerated rate and nothing more, there would be little more to be said. After all, if we had no way to affect it, what would be the point of discussing it. We may just as well worry about the passage of time bringing an impending death.
It must be included in the argument then that mankind is the cause of the said warming through not just his carbon emissions, but rather, his excessive carbon emissions – after all, carbon emissions are essential to his life and thus (most would argue) cannot be eliminated altogether.
Beyond all of this though, in order for the above to be relevant it must further be asserted that the warming is a bad thing. I know this seems like such an obvious truth it needs no proof. Indeed it does seem irrefutable. But we cannot forget that the time we have existed on this planet is minuscule. And the time we have been measuring planetary temperature is an even smaller slice of that already tiny existence.
This is a key point; simply assuming warmer planet is a worse planet is illogical. Plant nursery greenhouses and the diversity of life in tropical regions propose that a warmer environment is beneficial to biota However, that is not to say that a warmer planet is necessarily better either. It is simply to say that, in addition to the earth warming at an accelerated rate due to mankind's excessive carbon emissions, the argument must state that the warming is harmful.
It is reasonable to state that if an argument is made, support for that argument must be provided. In a court of law this is the burden of proof; without it, the claim is worthless. Hence, the Gorian argument of global warming has, through its existence, the burden of proving the following:
The earth is warming
The above warming is at an unusual accelerated rate
Increased levels of carbon dioxide can have a warming effect on the planet
The aforementioned acceleration is being caused by the effect of carbon dioxide mentioned above
A significant amount of the increased levels of carbon dioxide can be attributed to mankind
The said warming is detrimental
(It is also worth mentioning that for any of this to be significant we must be able (best case scenario) to reverse the warming or (worse case scenario) to slow the rate of warming)
Now using this list of needed proofs, we can derive a list of items we must know for these proofs:
The current global temperature
Likewise, the correct global temperature
Whether the earth should or should not be warming
(And if so,) the correct rate at which the earth should be warming
The current total amount of carbon dioxide
Likewise the correct total amount of carbon dioxide
Some sort of knowledge as to how atmospheric carbon dioxide affects the global temperature
What proportion of the atmospheric carbon dioxide is attributable to mankind, which requires knowing
How much carbon dioxide comes from man and
How much carbon comes from other sources (both natural and biological)
How all nature responds and will respond to the different global temperatures