The Global Warming Debate

The Point

The build up of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gasses is increasing the temperature of the earth's atmosphere..

Greenhouse gas emissions are projected to double early in the next century.

Greenhouse gas levels have not experienced this much change since the earth emerged from the most recent ice-age.

If no actions are taken to reduce emissions, the global surface temperature will rise by 1.5-4.5°C over the next 100 years.

This will be traumatic for natural ecosystems and subsistence agricultural societies.

The Counterpoint

Reducing greenhouse gas emissions will slow economic growth and cost billions of dollars a year.

Current proposals hit developed nations hardest.

If a carbon tax increases fuel prices in the United States, the nation's chemical and steel plants, aluminum smelters, and paper production facilities will close, production will move to developing countries, and U.S. imports will increase.

A useful background item is:

Questions for Discussion

Identify the main benefits and costs of greenhouse gas emissions.
Do you think the environmentalists are correct in the view that greenhouse gas emissions must be cut?
Do you think the costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions exceed the benefits?
If greenhouse gas emissions are to be reduced, should reductions be achieved by assigning quotas or by using the price mechanism?