Most Americans believe global warming exists and a majority thinks it is a problem, if not a crisis. But is that true?
It's true 2005 was the hottest year on record and there is no question that sea levels have been rising. But this is not a recent phenomenon: global temperature and sea levels have been rising since the end of the last Ice Age.
Today, almost all scientists agree that there is global warming, but there is no scientific consensus about what causes global warming or how it will affect our lives.
Don't miss Global Warming: The Debate Continues this Sunday at 10pm / 1am ET
Where do YOU stand on global warming?
Click on the links in the box on the right to read recent stories on this topic, then e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org and jump into the debate!
Check out what FOX Fans are saying:
”Climatic changes vary over hundreds of thousands of years, thus it is really not possible to prove that there is global warming when you are talking records that possibly extend back only hundreds of years. Only a few years ago, I remember talk about glacial increases. Give us a break! When we have records going back to the last global warming period, then we might be able to view cyclic changes and have a better idea of how long global warming takes place before it begins to cool off again. Sun spot periods are a good example of how we can predict increases in sun spot activity.” — Richard
”Global warming is a potential major problem, but not for the reasons most talked about. Yes, sea levels will rise and flood coastal areas around the world. And yes, weather patterns/rainfall distribution will change and agriculture/growing regions will be affected. Also, coral reefs will die out and ocean circulation changes will alter the climate of the latitudes. But the real, most imminent and most dangerous aspect of global warming is the destabilization of the methane hydrate deposits in the oceans. If enough of the methane in those deposits were to be released into our atmosphere, the resulting accelerated heating of the atmosphere and ocean could trigger the release of the rest of the methane. The resulting runaway greenhouse effect would be far more catastrophic than anything predicted, probably leading to a global extinction event. The scary part is that it might already be too late and the initiating threshold for the process may have been crossed many years ago.” — Ed (Redmond, WA)
”I think environmentalists need a cause that will scare you so much that you will want to give them lots of money to perpetuate it and support them. Show me undeniable facts that prove global warming, and then I will believe. Before global warming, they said the next Ice Age was coming. What's next?” — Bill (Hemet, CA)
”I believe the Earth is going through a cycle that may peak sooner, but not due entirely to fossil fuels. We have to find a way to harness and use the voluminous gases emitted by the numerous pig and chicken farms in the south. We would not only be independent from Arab oil, but the stench would be eliminated and the property around the farms would be suitable for homes, which would increase the tax base so government could provide services to rural areas.” — Carolyn (Selma, AL)
”The climatic changes are simply a natural occurrence. Next thing you know, the Chicken Littles of the world will be blaming George Bush for the end of the last Ice Age. There was no technology involved in that event. This is just more of the same from the liberal Left.” — Michael (Jacksonville, FL)
”It is a known fact that if so-called scientists do not have a platform to sing from, then no one will listen to them. That means that their ticket sales will go away and they will have to find another means of employment. The Big Bang has been drying up, evolution has lost its momentum, and now the headliner is “GLOBAL WARMING.” It is total foolishness, and borders on stupidity, to believe that junk. Our planet and the environment are not as some believe — a living being that will clean itself by riding itself of its abusers. We do need to be smart of how we treat our planet's resources, but we also need to develop alternate means of fuel.” — Bill (Yuma, AZ)
”After collecting and analyzing data for a few thousand years, we may be able to substantiate the effects and causes of certain climate events of this earth. After all, this earth has been exposed to catastrophic events from its origin, and has recovered. It is still recovering from natural events that occur all the time. Let's keep reviewing events and data, and then correct those things we can correct. We can't prevent anything else, other than the destruction of ourselves.” — Dan (Naples, FL)
”Both — but some exaggerated and some are not. One forgets that the global seismologists noticed that the Indian Ocean quake of December 2004 altered the angle of the Earth and shoved Java 100 miles to the north. Others forget we also suffered a slowdown on the planets rotation as a result. Plus, all the volcanic activity pours hot gases into the atmosphere. Along with this is the increase in automobile usage in China and India. I see no protests in Tiananmen Square denouncing new trends in Chinese auto usage or emission control measures being demanded. Global warming is nothing more than a political football for socialists and eco-communists to dig away at the GOP and the president.” — J.Q. (Massachusetts)
”Any one with an ounce of common sense should know that global warming is a natural event. I guess all those SUV's ended the Ice Age. In 2002, I visited the Museum of Natural History, which had an exhibit on global warming. They said that evidence from ice core drilling proves that the earth warms and cools in cycles. People should think for one minute and use common sense before blaming Bush for their hot weather.” — Scott (Moulton, AL)
"Global warming? Can anyone tell me why the globe was warmer during the time of the Vikings? Could it have been too many oars in the water? I feel that it's a natural event." — James (Burlington, VT)
"Nature is cyclic. It takes thousands of years for temperature changes to have the effect on our planet that has occurred over a few short decades. What we are currently experiencing is a direct result of adding population (the primary polluter). It has increased exponentially over the last 100 years, and coincides closely with severe and drastic environmental changes. Most people don't want to hear this, so they would rather destroy the future for their children by having more children." — Kevin (Birmingham, AL)
"Something is happening, but I'm not sure what and why. If you look at the changes that have occurred over the life of this planet, there have been a lot in terms of climate and topography. Maybe we're just going through a cycle (even one not amenable to human life), or maybe we're causing it ourselves. I would like is a broad study and discussion of these issues unfettered by political and other self-interests. What's the chance of that happening?" — Phil (Rensselaer, NY)
"Doesn't anyone remember that back in the 70s the so-called experts were saying that there is a new 'Ice Age' coming. Now they want us to believe that the reverse is happening. I didn't buy it then, and don't buy it now." — Jean (Rochester, NY)
"The Earth warms up some, then cools down some. In other words the temperature will fluctuate over time. I think there is a volcano in Antarctica that spewed out more noxious/toxic gases in one eruption quite some time ago. Since then, man has learned to build a fire." — Jack
"It is a big concern and fossil fuel is the culprit. Lets get away from it; to hell with the big oil companies." — Michael
"All the earth is experiencing are the cycles it has been going through since it's creation. Nobody really knows how many times the earth has frozen and thawed. There are speculations by scientists, but these scientists are also paid by the contracts and grants that allow them to keep doing research. Without some form of global warming or greenhouse effect, there would be no grants for their research, and therefore, no paycheck. I am not saying that our environment is not in bad shape, but no one was around millions of years ago to document what was really taking place. All we have is the scientist's speculation, whose very bread and butter come from research on subjects like global warming. How do we really know that this has not happened many times in the past over the millions of years the earth has been here?" — Leonard (Los Angeles, CA)
"Sure, there is global warming because we are on the upswing of a natural cycle. There is a statistical relationship between carbon dioxide and global warming, but this is by no means a 'cause and effect' relationship. Many statistical relationships could be found with other materials, but they would be meaningless." — Phil (Georgetown, TX)
"If global warming is a result of man's activities, what was it that man was doing that warmed the earth to end the last ice age? We do not have the ability to warm or cool the planet. Get over it!" — Ed
"It seems pretty arrogant to suggest that our planet, which has been around for longer than we can imagine, can not take care of itself. Yes, the climate has changed, and will continue, to change. It is natural. At one point in time, most of the earth was ice. At another point, it was covered in water. At some point, it was hotter than you know what. We need not be careless, but I think the extremist-alarmist-environmentalists are a bit off. Mother Earth is capable of taking care of herself — Volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis and other anomalies are her weapon" — Mark
"Mother Nature does cycle between warming and cooling trends in the weather (the Pennsylvanian age was warm and there have been several ice ages). But, one thing is for sure. No matter what we do to the environment, even if we eventually kill off ourselves (and we probably will), Mother Nature will clean up the environment and the planet will survive." — Suzanne (Gainesville, GA)
"There are natural climate shifts that occur over time due to everything from the rotational nature of the earth, to the motions of the greater heavens, to atmospheric disturbances. However, the fact that we have been creating undue atmospheric disturbance and wearing away at the natural defenses of our planet against greater warming, is a sure, and clear, sign that global warming is real. We should be stewards of our planet, and while we have the knowledge and capability, we should begin to reverse this trend. We are simply obligated to do so." — Elizabeth
"Since the beginning of time, the earth has experienced changes — the present changes are a natural occurrence." — Evelyn (Nacogdoches, TX)
"Well, it doesn't surprise me that Bush and his pals in the energy business, want to 'debunk' global warming. It is a fact that our horrible environmental practices have harmed the world. You cannot expect that there isn't a price to pay. It is simply pathetic to use, 'It's my SUV and I'll run over the world if I want to.' This is just selfish and a sign that people just are lazy and do not want to take responsibility." — Kate (El Paso, TX)
"After trying to listen to both sides of the debate with an open mind I think that there is global warming to some extent but I also believe that nature is cyclical. In my opinion the fear-mongers are way off base. I am tired of hearing how mankind has destroyed the planet and that we are all going to die. Besides, I would never believe someone like Al Gore." — Ronni (New Jersey)
"Global warming is a crock that was dreamed up by environmentalists. Mother Nature can clean up her own house." — Frank (Plano, TX)
"For the uneducated and ignorant, global warming is no joke. Hey Frank in Plano, Texas: It IS happening! Mother Nature will 'clean up her own house' and will take all of us with her!" — Lynne (Charlotte, NC)
"For all of those who think there is no price to pay for all the gas-guzzling and the ignoring of the Kyoto protocol, you should take a trip to Antarctica, and fast." — Harold (New York, NY)