"People are arrogant to think that we could affect the environment/our little contribution of CO2 is important"

Brief Responses to Climate Change Denialism Statements

CPSG 200 Science & Global Change Sophomore Colloquium

"People are arrogant to think that we could affect the environment/our little contribution of CO2 is important"

Deniers say that anthropogenic, or human, activity doesn’t affect the environment on a globally. However, we do not have to review the various statistics or research articles that all support anthropogenic impacts on the environment to know that’s a spurious belief. The list of human activity’s impacts on the environment is seemingly endless: physical habitat destruction due to ever expanding human settlements and waste and chemical pollution are only two major issues brought on by human activity, but perhaps the most pressing issue is that of global energy consumption. Over 80% of energy consumed comes from fossil fuels, nonrenewable sources that, when burned, release carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. On it’s own, Earth’s climate is self regulating, maintaining relative stability with regular periods of high and low temperatures within a predictable range. But emissions of greenhouse gasses, like carbon dioxide, intensify Earth’s natural greenhouse effect, which traps heat in the atmosphere to warm the air and surface. An excess of emissions due to anthropogenic activities like burning fossil fuels essentially kicks the greenhouse effect into overdrive, gradually increasing the Earth’s average temperatures. 6.4 billion people on Earth use energy in some aspect of their lives, largely from sources that emit carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. As carbon dioxide emissions have reached a recent all time high, so have global temperature averages. But this intensification has greater implications than just day to day temperature. Anthropogenic global warming contributes to an increase in storm frequency and intensity, sea level rise, feasibility of global agriculture, livability of certain areas, species extinction, and much more. It isn’t arrogant even in the slightest to think that we can impact the environment. In fact, it’s a realistic point of view, one we all must share if we hope to preserve the Earth’s livability for future generations.


For More Information:

Bradford, A. 4 March 2015 "Deforestation: Facts, Causes, & Effects." LiveScience. 22 October 2017.

Anonymous. N.d. "Greenhouse Effect." Australian Government: Department of the Environment and Energy. 22 October 2017.

Puiu, T. 29 April 2016. "How much renewable energy does the world use?" ZME Science. 22 October 2017.

GPWayne. 5 July 2015. “How do human CO2 emissions compare to natural CO2 emissions?” Skeptical Science. 24 October 2017.

Contributed by: Maggie Fritz, Jason Schneider, Cameron Reed

Last modified: 23 October 2017