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Global Warming Controversy in Political Perspective

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: Politics
Wordcount: 1373 words Published: 18th Sep 2017

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Raihan Jamil
Alison Grifa Ismaili

Former president of the United States, Barack Obama said “I am often asked whether I believe in Global Warming. I now just reply with the question: Do you believe in gravity?” quoted in Washington Post (Samenow, 2011, p. LZ01). Barack Obama stated Global Warming as an established fact. On the other hand, current president of the United States, Donald Trump expressed the opposite view. He stated, “The concept of global warming was created by the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive” quoted in New York Times (Edward Wong, 2015, P. wa23). It is clear that the idea global warming has been shifted from obscure scientific fact to public anxiety and international political regulatory interest. The world is facing an unprecedented set of challenges to address global warming. International organizations have tried to set up a reformed policy to cope with the situation but political disagreements, public anxiety and suspicion make it difficult to face the challenges of global warming. The purpose of this essay is to clarify the debate of global warming in a scientific view relating to political controversy.

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According to the French relativist sociologist Cyril Lemieux “controversies, which are conflicts, always have a triadic structure. It means that there are always situations where the opposition between two groups is staged in front of a public of peers” (Lemieux, 2007, P. 59). From the above point of view, there is a difference between scientific knowledge and other forms, because scientific knowledge must to go through peer review. That does not mean that the scientific knowledge is absolutely true. The more the non-specialists are set to a position of judgement, the more it would like to be a controversy. Political interests brought this in institutional crisis. According to Zajoke (2011) in his article, the scientific point of view has not changed much about the global warming but public understanding has changed. Political perception influenced this change (P. 459).

So, the burning question is, why is global warming so connected to global politics? To understand the relationship of global warming to global politics, it is necessary to understand the responsible facts of global warming. In simple way, global warming can be defined as the phenomenon of increasing the earth’s temperature. This increase happens due to trapping heat in the earth’s atmosphere coming from the solar system. Heat coming from the solar system has a shorter wavelength but when it returns, the wavelength increases and gets trapped and creates an imbalance of incoming and outgoing heat. This happens because of the presence of greenhouse gasses live in the atmosphere and there is a direct relationship between greenhouse gasses and industrial activity. History says, there was no significant change in the temperature of the Earth up to 1890s, but in the twentieth century, the world’s temperature has increased by and drawn a deserved concern for humankind. This may lead to our planet’s cataclysm. Much of the earth surface might go under sea water. Industrial activity produces more greenhouse gasses which are thought to be responsible for the global temperature rise. Therefore, the industrial activities of the developed countries are more responsible for the rise of global temperature but the developing countries are in the most vulnerable situations. Why should one group of people bear the negative effects of another’s activity? This is the reason that the global politics is closely connected to global warming. The international authorities have tried tried to establish regulations to reduce the amount of greenhouse gasses and to compensate the affected countries. Carbon tax is one example of such type of compensation. The industries or countries who are responsible for carbon emission will pay a tax as a penalty for the emission. But, some powerful countries have rejected this regulation and tried to bring this in world’s political platform (Demeritt, 2013, p. 49).

Politicians often lie to disprove the fact of global warming and try to create controversial situation. The history of the earth’s geological activities are complex and there are some scientific findings that the global warming is a cyclic process. Scientists claimed that several hundreds of thousands year ago, the earth has experienced the temperature rise as it is experiencing now. But it is obvious that the global temperature is rising. In the short term, the effect of global warming can’t understand easily. But in the long term, it will cause huge damage to the environment as it is a slow process. Politicians often try to take advantage of scientific bias by making people suspicious about the fact. Professor Tol from Sussex University mentioned some short-term benefits of global warming in his book titled ‘How Much Have Global Problems Cost the world’? He said that an increment of temperature up to 3 degree Celsius from which 0.80 degree Celsius has occurred already in the last 150 years, has some beneficial effects; for instance, more resilient plants, a more diverse food supply, low energy cost, better agricultural effects, richer bio diversity, and lower mortality rate (Demeritt, 2001 p. 307). This is the established fact that the global warming is a slow process and hard to understand its effect. People often get skeptical because of this characteristic. People want to believe eye catching things, and politicians try to take advantage of this. It is so easy to create confusion about global warming whose impacts are barely noticed in broad perspective.

Global warming is a gradual process of world’s cataclysm. It’s hard to understand its direct impact as it is a slow process. Again, the final impact is surely devastating though there are some apparent advantages within the tolerance limit. World politicians should think about ‘What they want to leave for the next generation?’. They might get short term economic benefit from the controversy of global warming, but in the long term, it would be a real disaster. The world should go through the reformistic approach in order to help offset global warming.


d’Apollonia, LS 2013, ‘Global warming controversy: A trojan horse of modernity’, International Journal of Science in Society, 4, 41-50. Retrieved from


Demeritt, D. (2001). The Construction of global warming and the politics of science. Annals of The Association of American Geographers, 91(2), 307. Retrieved from


Lemieux, A. (2007). Why is planet Earth so habitable? Geochimica et Cosmochimica

Acta, 70, 18-22. Retrieved from


Samenow, J. (2011, May 24). Global warming in 2015 made weather more extreme and it’s likely to get worse any ytimes. The Washington Post. Retrieved


Wang, E. (2016, Nov. 19). Trump has called climate change a chinese Hoax. Beijing Says It Is Anything But. The New York Times. Retrieved from


Zajko, M. (2011). The shifting politics of climate science. Society, 48,457-461. Retrieved from doi:10.1007/s12115-011-9477-9.


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