DR. James Fletcher, last Thursday in his presentation at the Sir Arthur Lewis Memorial Lecture held at the Finance Administrative Centre, took some time to explain the reason why, based on the evidence he cited, global warming continues to take place year on year. He also pointed out that worldwide temperatures have either increased to record levels every year since 2014, or are a part of “some sort of major deviation, from what we would see as normal temperatures.”
He pointed out that worldwide temperatures have been going steadily upwards since records were being kept.
“If you look at the graph of global temperatures since we started measuring global temperatures in 1840, you can see that this graph has been going very steadily upward,” the former government minister said.
However, he stated that this has been the case particularly since 1960/1970, with the start of the industrialization period and when many of the major world economies were pushing their major sectors, pointing out that with that came a heavy focus on manufacturing.
“There was a significant increase in the production of carbon dioxide because we need to generate energy for many of the products, many of the processes that we are embarking on,” Dr. Fletcher said, adding that the impact of that increased carbon dioxide production is that it causes a greenhouse gas effect.
Explaining the reason certain gases are called “greenhouse”, he asked members of the audience: “Now how many of you have ever gone into a greenhouse in the middle of the day?” In continuing his explanation, he said that “one of the things you’ll find…in the middle of the day (is that) the greenhouse is warmer…because the greenhouse has a covering which prevents the easy flow of gases from where you’re standing into the atmosphere.”
Comparing the effect some of the greenhouse gases have on the atmosphere to the greenhouse itself, Dr. Fletcher said: “What carbon dioxide and other gases like nitrous oxide and methane do is that they also produce a film over our atmosphere and they prevent that easy exchange of heat; so the heat that is radiated back from the Earth does not go back out into the atmosphere and is reflected back onto the earth. So you have this greenhouse gas effect.”
Keying in on carbon dioxide, he concluded that “the more carbon dioxide you produce, the more greenhouse gases that you have and the greater the impact on global warming.”
When chronicling the increased world temperatures over the last few years, Dr. Fletcher reminisced about the general sentiment of the time. About the 2014, when the record temperature that was set then, he said: “At the end of 2014, we said ‘Oh, my gosh! 2014 was the hottest year ever!’”
He then spoke about new record high temperatures in the two following years, saying: “Then 2015 came around and then 2015 was the hottest year ever. And then 2016 came around and then 2016 broke all the records. It smashed the record of 2015 and then people started paying attention and said, ‘Boy, you know these are three consecutive years of the hottest temperatures ever. Something must be going on.’”
About the world temperature last year, he asked, rhetorically: “What happened last year? Well, last year is the second warmest year on record. In fact, what they are saying is that last year was the hottest year ever if you don’t factor in El Niño.”
He concluded by saying that the increasing temperatures “trend is obvious” and that “the hottest years in the history of our planet have all taken place since 1998.”