In regard to Global Warming, part of the problem is that there has been no proof that there truly is a cause and effect relationship between greenhouse gas emissions and global temperature patterns. While there may be a correlation, correlation does not show cause. Maybe CO2 raises the temperature; maybe an increase in temperature raises levels of CO2. It’s also possible that the correlation is purely coincidental, and some other variable is being left out entirely. However, many scientists and celebrities have embraced the theory of deadly greenhouse gases being the cause of global warming. They try to discredit anyone who disagrees and use faulty science to promote “green” lifestyles.
A “green” lifestyle can certainly have many benefits for humans and the environment. Most activists, such as Al Gore, believe that there is much that people can do to reduce the negative effect of greenhouse gases. Even if a person is skeptical about the threat of these gases, he ought to be able to understand the benefits of reducing pollution, conserving resources, and living simply and responsibly. In addition to recycling programs and the development of hybrid cars, green building is a new trend. According to the US Green Building Council, “buildings in the U.S. consume 1/3 of all energy used. The federal government is currently seeking to increase the energy efficiency of buildings by establishing codes for residential and commercial buildings” The USBGC has developed the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification rating system to evaluate new and existing buildings to determine their “Green” qualifications. The LEED rating system is explained more clearly by EarthWatch Ohio, a local publication.
The LEED Green Building Rating System is the nationally accepted benchmark for the design, construction, and operation of high performance green buildings… LEED promotes a whole-building approach to sustainability by recognizing performance in five key areas of human and environmental health: sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.
Only about 5% of buildings are currently going for green certification; 20% of these are federal projects. It is our opinion that green certification is not yet a significant factor in reducing energy consumption in the U.S., but is a growing trend. Studies have also shown that residents and workers in green buildings tend to be healthier and more productive, which should be seen as a benefit to industry (Allison).
There is debate as to whether these “green” efforts will make a difference in the environment, and particularly in reducing global warming. Al Gore believes “there is no doubt we can solve this problem. In fact, we have a moral obligation to do so. Small changes in your daily routine can add up to big differences” (The Science). He advocates using energy efficient appliances, light bulbs, and cars. On the opposite pole are “doomsday” activists who criticize the “hollow optimism of climate activists.
The environmental establishment continues to peddle the notion that we can solve the climate problem. We can’t” (Gelspan 1). Ross Gelspan believes that we should stop focusing on trying to stop global warming and work on figuring out how we will survive it. He agrees with the research that predicts the worst-case scenario for the planet and the human species. This extremely alarmist view doesn’t seem to be reaching people, and most would certainly hope that Gelspan is totally wrong about his theories.
The most sensible approach would be a moderate approach-one that doesn’t use fear and name-calling to accomplish its goals. The United States needs to get its head out of the sand and join the efforts of the rest of the world in reducing energy consumption. However, a realistic process must be proposed and sound science without a hidden agenda must be the basis for this proposal. Even if global warming is a hoax, or an unstoppable deadly force, it is not too late to make a contribution to a cleaner, thriving environment.