Sunday, September 07, 2008

Cynic or not?

In the light of the our green project topics, I would like to share this with all my readers.

One day, my friend and I had a short discussion on environmental issues while traveling back from a night of revision. He had watched Al Gore's "The Inconvenient Truth" and became extremely passionate about everything to do with carbon dioxide. While I, on the other hand, who have not watched the film, did not believe the story as a whole. We had a heated discussion over what is the leading cause of enhanced global warming and what we can do to help our environment.

My stand was that, maybe, carbon isn't the main culprit. He fought against my idea and our discussion only ceased when we arrived at our respective stops. That evening, he wrote on his blog about his "cynical" friend who did not believe in Al Gore's "golden truth" that carbon dioxide is heating our Earth.

Cynic (I believe it is the exact word Al Gore used in his film) or not, I urge all readers in this blog to take a step back and consider. Is carbon our main culprit?

There are many other greenhouse gases whose role in enhanced greenhouse effect are greatly understated. Methane being one of them. If I have not read incorrectly, methane is 30 times more insulating than carbon dioxide! What about water vapour, the largest contributor of greenhouse effect?

Global warming is a complicated issue and greenhouse gas alone isn't the only player in the problem. There are so many other factors that led to this problem. I urge all readers to practise restrain and think about who you call a cynic.

Nobel laureate or not, Al Gore did indeed brought awareness to the world, the effects of greenhouse gas. But never allow our vision to zoom just into carbon dioxide or we suffer the consequence of over-simplifying the problem.



Hui Xuan said... @ September 7, 2008 at 11:35 PM

Hey Weiren,

Don't be too sad. I guess your friend is a bit narrow minded. I certainly do agree that carbon dioxide plays a role in global warming. However, there are so many other reasons that contribute to global warming.

Like what you have mention, both methane and water vapour contribute to the greenhouse effect. If I didn't remember wrongly, water vapour in fact contribute more towards the greenhouse effect (about 35-70%) as compared to carbon dioxide. Other greenhouse gases also inculde nitrous oxide, ozone, and CFCs.

There are also other contributing factors to global warming like, the depletion of the ozone layer, volcanic eruptions, and solar variation.

Lyon said... @ September 8, 2008 at 1:09 AM

Hey Weiren,

Haha your friend's reaction was just like a typical under-exposed person's. It's common for someone who is not well-informed on certain issues, after watching a film or reading an article which seem fully supported by facts and justified with
figures, to become obsessed with his newly discovered information and keeps on insisting that it's the "golden truth". It's the same behaviour as someone who has just bought something really expensive and he will just keep convincing you that it was a worthy purchase when it might not be. It's something which can be explained by psychology.

As someone who is more updated with
facts and current affairs, of course you will be able to see a clearer picture. Do not be offended by your friend's act of accusation. He will change his mind the next time he watches another documentary (: The age of media and power of propaganda... And the weakness of one's mind.

weiren said... @ September 11, 2008 at 9:35 PM

Dear Hui Xuan:

Exactly! Oversimplification of our problems will only compound our problems at the end of the day. What's more important is to look at the greater picture.


weiren said... @ September 11, 2008 at 9:38 PM

Hi Lyon:

Thanks. I hope he keeps his "golden truth" to himself though. Imagine what if he propagate the idea to countless other people.

Ideas are infectious. It only take one to spread the infection around. Many more people will tune to oversimplify the problem and this problem will never have a complete resolution.

Thanks and cheers.

Tiffany said... @ September 26, 2008 at 12:34 PM

Hi Wei Ren,

I guess if your friend did start propagating the idea about carbon dioxide being the main cause of global warming, it would still do some good!

Although knowing that there are many other contributing factors to global warming, I won't blame your friend for being shallow (would this be the right word to use here?) about things because after watching "An Inconvenient Truth" myself, the same idea was being brought across to me-- that carbon dioxide is the main cause of global warming.

I guess "leading cause" would be a better way to phrase it? haha. (wait, am i allowed to "haha" here?) But yes it would be good for your friend to know more facts before starting up an argument unnecessarily.

Ultimately, I guess, Al Gore or not, many of us are trying to save our dying world, so the first step your friend could be doing is to curb the emission of CO2!


weiren said... @ September 26, 2008 at 10:41 PM

Hi Tiffany,

I applaud you for the desire to save our planet. Indeed, carbon dioxide may be the main culprit, it's just heartbreaking to simplify the problem. To a certain extent, it might even seem to be delusional.

I certainly agree that we should tackle one problem at a time, but we should never allow ourselves to forget that one day, after we have finished with this fight against carbon dioxide (which i doubt we will), there are other battle awaiting us.

Lovely to have you here. Cheers.