Climate change – specifically global warming – is one of the more controversial issues mankind is facing. Consensus about climate change’s definition, effects, and causes, especially the role that humans play in the acceleration of climate change, is virtually impossible to reach. The controversy is particularly clear in the energy industry, where many assert that there is no scientific agreement about the causes of global warming or its potential problems.
Differing Opinions on the Effects of Climate Change
James Taylor, senior fellow for environment policy at the Heartland Institute, claimed in a 2013 Forbes Magazine article that the majority of scientists “believe that nature is the primary cause of recent global warming and/or that future global warming will not be a very serious problem.” His conclusion was based on what Taylor stated was a “peer-reviewed survey” appearing in Organization Studies.
Further fact-checking reveals that the scientists surveyed for the Organization Studies paper were not considered experts in climatology. And despite the claim of Mr. Taylor, the study wasn’t designed to to gauge scientific belief in global warming. In fact, the study group consisted of 1,077 professional petroleum engineers and geoscientists in Alberta, Canada, and its purpose was to understand the bias and rationale of those who consistently deny a link between global warming and human activity. As such, the scientists were specifically chosen because they worked for the oil industry.
The difficulty of sourcing impartial and accurate information about global warming and its possible causes in the midst of aggressive campaigning by both sides (environmentalists and energy advocates), dilutes the importance of the issue and confuses the average citizen. And interestingly, concern about global warming and its existence is split along partisan political lines according to a Pew Research Poll released January 27, 2014. It found that:
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