Global warming is questionable – A green revolution is not

tree huggerToday we continue our series of the winning essays submitted to Dean of Freshmen, Fred Siegel.  These freshman were selected from over 300 of their peers to attend a dinner with Dean Siegel and a very special guest.

Below is an excerpt of our second featured essay, which was written by Alissa Orlando.  Alissa wrote a very thorough and well reasoned critique of Friedman’s ideas, but it is a little too long to post in its entirety.   I urge you to read the Entire Alissa Orlando Essay

Thomas Friedman’s book Hot, Flat, and Crowded is like a Sunday morning sermon given by a passionate preacher.  It spells out our sins and ardently encourages mankind to set forth on the path of redemption.  It is bubbling with passion and urgency and purpose.  It is a call to arms, and you’re left feeling as if you have to go out and save society from this great evil, which in this case is global warming and biodiversity loss, until you realize later that day that maybe you didn’t exactly agree with everything that preacher had to say.  Maybe he was being too radical; maybe he was exaggerating the problem.

As much as Thomas Friedman emphasizes the fact that if anything he is underestimating the problem, I beg to differ.  Friedman claims that the vast majority of scientists, about ninety percent of them, believe that global warming is a serious problem.  He even goes so far as to say, “Right now, the acute awareness of the true scale and spread of the problem remains confined largely to the expert scientific community, but soon enough it will be blindingly obvious to everyone” (Friedman 216).  Friedman makes it sound as if only radical and uninformed scientists don’t agree with global warming.  However, Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Richard Lindzen said in regard to the “scientific consensus” about global warming, “skepticism is essential to science; consensus is foreign” (Levin 130).  By making global warming out to be a scientific fact instead of a scientific opinion, Friedman makes only his proposed solutions, instead of the existence of a problem, eligible for debate.  Friedman’s absolute confidence in global warming, however, does not reflect the attitude of the established scientific community.  In fact, during an interview with Fox News, founder of the Weather Channel, John Coleman, stated that 30,000 scientists, 9,000 of whom have PhDs, believe that global warming does not exist (Coleman).  They believe that groups such as the IPCC are not scientific groups, but rather political groups trying to advance environmentalists interests by creating a crisis.  Vaclav Klaus, president of the Czech Republic, accuses the IPCC of being “a political body, a sort of non-government organization of green flavor.  It’s neither a forum of neutral scientists nor a balanced group of scientists.  These people are politicized scientists who arrive there with a one-sided opinion and a one-sided assignment” (Levin 133). Although Friedman suggests that Al Gore apologize to the public for underestimating the problem of global warming, these 30,000 scientists are suing Al Gore for fraud.  By making the science of climate change appear to be more absolute that it is, Friedman risks losing his credibility as an author.  I would assert the major flaw in this book is not recognizing that climate change is an issue still open to debate and not admitting that politics is still tainting the science of global warming.

But even if the science of global warming is questionable, the benefits of a green revolution are not.  Thomas Friedman reiterates that there is no harm in preventing global warming; there is the potential for great harm by ignoring it.  Even if climate change is a farce, even if global warming has been supported by a set of faulty scientific assumptions, even if “global weirding” is a ploy for the media and politicians to profit from the public’s panic, a green revolution is necessary.  Friedman’s book is extremely persuasive because it looks at the benefits of a green revolution from copious perspectives.  It appeals to environmentalists, humanitarians, politicians, businessmen, military personnel, and nationalists.  By looking at global warming from environmental, economic, and political standpoints, he appeals to nearly every American, instead of just your stereotypical “sandal-wearing, bicycle-riding, yogurt-eating flower child in Berkeley” (Friedman 317).

If you enjoyed this excerpt, please feel free to read the Entire Alissa Orlando Essay


One Response

  1. […] Global warming is questionable – A green revolution is not « 2013 … […]

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