The focus of Farley’s article is how the greenhouse gases are causing the impact of the greenhouse effect to go past its benefits. The greenhouse effect is what traps the radiation from the sun in the atmosphere to keep the earth warm and from dropping to as low as “-18°C…,” “if nothing else about the earth changed as a result of removing the greenhouse gases.” Farley hones in on how large the effect of the greenhouse gases is and that the effect is intensifying as years pass by. He also compares carbon dioxide to water vapor, two of the most prominent greenhouse gases, in relation to their impact upon the greenhouse effect.
Farley goes about this by providing calculations, such as “when the CO2 in the atmosphere reaches twice the pre-industrial level, the enhanced greenhouse effect alone (i.e., neglecting any response by the earth to the enhanced greenhouse effect) will warm the earth by 1.2 to 1.3°C…” and statistics from well-founded groups like the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change). The IPCC states that, “The earth will in fact respond to the increased temperature. This is called “feedback.” There is controversy about the magnitude of the feedback. Analysis that takes feedback into account predicts global warming in the range of 1.5 to 4.5°C.” Farley takes into account that, “Climate is controlled by a number of factors, including changes in the earth’s orbit, possibly solar variability, possibly volcanoes, and the greenhouse effect. All but the last factor are entirely natural.” Human activities, such as, the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation contribute to the increasing carbon dioxide content in the atmosphere. “The greenhouse effect is intensifying as a result of the greenhouse gases building up in the atmosphere due primarily to CO2 from the burning of fossil fuels.” Previous measurements (prior to the Industrial Revolution) showed that carbon dioxide levels remained pretty constant for the last 10,000 years, now, the level “is now 38 percent higher than pre-industrial levels. Climate scientists attribute the pre-industrial level of CO2 (280 ppm) to natural causes, and the rise since then to human activity, primarily due to the aforementioned causes.”
Farley’s use of quotes from credible sources and the way he portrays his information makes his writing persuasive, especially on an individual that may not know much about global warming. The usage of a multitude of numbers also helps put in perspective of how widespread global warming is and that it affects everyone in the world.
Farley, John W. “Human-Produced Carbon Dioxide Contributes to Global Warming.” Global Warming. Ed. Cynthia A. Bily. Detroit: Greenhaven Press, 2006. Opposing Viewpoints. Rpt. from “The Scientific Case for Modern Anthropogenic Global Warming.” Monthly Review 60 (2008): 69-75. Gale Opposing Viewpoints In Context. Web. 2 Oct. 2012.