Someone in this thread pointed out the fallacy about water being far more prevalent in the atmosphere and therefore more important than CO2, so I’ll skip that.
Someone pointed out that Earth’s human population continues to rise. As my aside, our bigger problem as a species is long-term die-out from not reproducing fast enough. The first world has substantially negative population growth, and industrialization is reaching across the globe. The rest of the world is catching up to our standard of living. Once this happens, absent massive government subsidies, populations will start dying out. This could happen astonishingly quickly: at a 0.8 replacement rate (roughly Western Europe today absent immigration) and an overly long 33-year generation time, in a millennium you have 0.8^30=99.88% loss. Ten billion becomes 12 million in a millenium. With continuing tech advances, this could indeed happen. But not in the next century or two. Curiously, a massive decrease in land mass from ocean rise could help economically. With rapid decreasing population, there will be massive deflation. Losing many trillions’ worth of land would help offset that.
Meanwhile, back on topic:
There have been comments in this thread saying that estimated rates of ocean rise have been going downward. This is false. The estimated rates of ocean rise have been revised several times in the past 20 years, upward.
Ocean rise is the worst short-term problem. The main issue for the next two centuries is the Greenland ice cap. The Greenland ice cap carries enough water to raise ocean levels around 10 feet. This would put Florida under water. The rate of loss of the Greenland ice cap has increased significantly over the past decade, with one year logging miles of loss. Greenland is what, 900 miles across?
The total land-based ice masses are sufficient to raise the surface of the ocean around 320 feet if memory serves. Sea-based ice does not count, because when it melts the ocean levels do not rise. Hence the Artic ice cap is not important to ocean levels.
Another major issue, particularly for Europe, is North Atlantic ocean surface temperature. The gulf stream brings warm water from the Caribbean up the Eastern seaboard of the United States, warming those waters. As it travels, wind evaporates water, cooling it. Once in the north, the cold freezes some of it into ice. This ice is mostly fresh water: the salt is left in the ocean. The denser, saltier, colder water sinks. This helps draw more warm water up the Easter seaboard. One branch of this current then travels across the Atlantic and along the coast of Western Europe. This has a major effect of warming Western European weather. If the North Atlantic surface temps rise sufficiently, not enough ice will form, and the gulf stream will diminish and then cease. Western Europe is expected to become much colder when this happens. It’s energy consumption will soar, and the north may become mostly uninhabitable. Haven’t checked in a while, but North Atlantic surface temps have risen a few tenths of a degree. Best estimates are that we are less than three degrees away from dramatic decrease in the gulf stream.
Back to the questions: Does global warming exist? All data point to cycles of heating and cooling of the Earth. The data over the past 100 years says the Earth is heating, and much faster in the past 20 years, and again faster in the past 10 years. This was predicted by those warning about climate change, but they were wrong: it has happened faster than they predicted.
Is global warming important? If it melts the Greenland ice cap, it is very important. Bangladesh will be uninhabitable, we will lose Florida (almost all of which is 10 feet or less above sea level), and much additional land will be lost to the oceans. There are also the effects of more major weather events, especially massive flooding, such as Nashville, TN experienced when it got an unprecedented 17 inches or so of rain in a day a couple years ago. This is such a problem that even though my house is at the 500-year flood line, I purchased flood insurance on it. Raleigh is quite vulnerable to flooding from heavy rains. 20 inches in a day would be devastating.
Is global warming caused by man? This cannot be proved to a naysayer’s satisfaction. How do you do the experiment? But we’re poker players. Those in this thread talking about EV are spot on. We are raising CO2 levels. We have strong evidence that rising CO2 levels correlate with rising temperatures. We have good chemistry and data suggesting this is causal. We are seeing the warming that was predicted, but more so. Same goes for cow-fart methane. Assign a percentage chance global warming is man-caused. If you assign that chance at 10%, you still have massive incentive to sequester CO2 or stop producing CO2.
My perspective is that assigning that chance at 10% given real data and not just the Fox News extreme edited version is fuzzy thinking. It is far higher. It is not 100% though.
But, it does not matter. Barring a major energy tech advance that obviates the discussion, such as super-cheap solar or fusion, we are not going to do enough to stop it. We might have done so (low probability imo), but the Fox News media has made sure it won’t happen. The anti-global warming meme has “won.” Its proponents just don’t see it yet.