First of all, I'd like to post a bit of a warning here - I know this is a rather hot (no pun intended) topic in the world right now, and I know that I for one can get quite fired up when I start talking about this - However, this is a debate forum and I'd like for this topic to develop into an intellectual, mature debate where we can express and discuss our views on the matter - NOT start a flame war. So with that said, let me introduce the topic for our debate: Global warming! For years now, scientists have been arguing about this very important issue - Will the global warming effect us? How will it effect us? Are we causing the global warming? Is the global warming natural? Is there even a global warming to begin with or are we imagining it?? Personally, I do believe that global warming is a fact - our planet is heating up, and we can see it everywhere - there's a topic in the misc. discussions forum right now where people are posting their experiences with the recent freaky weather (which is actually my inspiration for starting this topic ). However, I am not nearly as convinced that it's actually our fault. I'll start with a bit of theory: Certain gases, greenhouse gases, exist in our atmosphere. When sunlight comes in through the atmosphere, it hits the ground and radiates heat to the surroundings. The remaining sunlight is then reflected and travels back out of the atmosphere. The greenhouse gases stop some of the light (and heat) from escaping and send it back to the earth for a second time - thus releasing more heat to the surroundings when it reaches the ground for the second time. Before I go into more detail, I'll point out that this is a good thing - without the greenhouse effect, our planet would have an average temperature about 30C/50F lower than it currently is, thus making life, as we know it at least, impossible (penn state college of earth and mineral siences). The scientists who believe we are responsible for global warming say that our gas emissions are creating an unnaturally high amount of greenhouse gases, thus forcing more and more light to re-heat our planet more and more times before finally escaping the atmosphere. CO2 (carbon dioxide) is usually blamed for being the largest contribution to global warming. I do believe my reason for doubt is valid - In the atmosphere, the majority of the greenhouse effect comes from water vapor - somewhere between 35 - 70 %. CO2 only stands for 9 - 26 %. (wikipedia) But surely, that's significant? Yes! The only problem is that we're not the only ones letting out CO2 into the atmosphere. The earth itself releases plenty of the stuff! In fact, we comparatively produce only 3% of the CO2 amounts that the earth naturally releases every year (earthsave.org). With some basic math, we can deduce that we are responsible for about 0.27 - 0.78 % of the greenhouse effect, in terms of CO2. Do these scientists really mean to tell us that a less than one percent increase in CO2 can cause such a drastic change?! I'd like to direct your attention to another explanation: that our planet has a natural heating cycle - at times it becomes warmer and at times, it becomes colder. Right now, we are getting close to a maximum on the curve - i.e. it's going to get warmer. There is both a long term and a short term cycle, and we're nearing the peak of both... I found a fairly good picture of what the cycle looks like here: http://cdiac.esd.ornl.gov/trends/temp/vostok/graphics/tempplot5.gif So, what do you think? It's time to voice your opinion!