The importance of the stratospheric ozone layer, which filters out most of the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation, in protecting the Earth's surface from the harmful effects of solar ultraviolet radiation has been recognized for many decades. It was not until the early 1970s, however, that scientists began to actually grasp the fact that even relatively small decreases in the stratospheric ozone concentration can have a serious impact on human health--an increased occurrence of skin cancer, particularly in fair-skinned people. The process that causes this decrease in the stratospheric ozone is referred to as global warming. The most definite cause of this process has not been determined, yet scientists are aware of its reality and harm to humans. Many scientists believe global warming is caused by the increase of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, while other scientists believe that the health threat caused by global warming is due to an unusual interaction between cosmic rays and clouds as well as other natural occurring events.
The National Weather Service announced that 1998 was the warmest year (on record on average, around the world). A recent tree-ring study indicated that this is the warmest decade in six hundred years (Allen & Herreid, 82). Undeniably, the weather is getting warmer. According to an article in The Economist, a conservative newsmagazine,
"The sea is warming, the plankton dying; floods are sweeping the land. In California, the climate is acting in a peculiar way. So, too, in Antarctica, where unlooked-for flowers are blooming as the ice shelves disintegrate In Southern Africa, it looks as though the rains will fail. Again. All over the world, there is something odd about the weather" ("Feuding over Global Warming", 6).
There may be nothing out of the ordinary about these latest extremes in the weather, but they may all be part of a climatic conspiracy.
The people who believe in this climatic conspiracy believe that the...