In chapters two and three, Kolbert introduces a variety of reasons that support the theory of global warming. In the beginning of chapter two she talks about the heightening of the earths surface temperature or the natural green house effect and how if unbalanced this natural occurrence can cause the earth to heat up. She points out that green house gases, at times, emits radiation absorbed by the sun back into the earth, as opposed to emitting the radiation in space, contributing to global warming.
Kolbert also provides findings from the work of Swedish chemist, Svante Arrhenius, to support the theory of global warming. Arrhenius concluded that industrialization is closely linked to climate change, he was the first to make this association.. This reminds me of all the “go green” initiatives we take today to try to undue the centuries of coal and fossil fuel emissions that have added to the Co2 build up. I love when Kolbert writes “Perhaps just because he was Scandinavian, he anticipated the results would be, on the whole, be salubrious.” Subtle sarcastic remarks like this can make the reading slightly more enjoyable for people not interested in global warming. However, Arrhenius didn’t foresee the harm that increased Co2 would incite, since he praised the process for the “abundant crops” that would grow as a result of warmer climates.
The different graphs and tables were also instrumental in displaying climate change and it’s effects on the earth. One thing I didn’t like or found distracting as a reader was the description of Jay Swally, the NASA Scientist. Kolbert writes “He is short and stocky with a round face and mischievous grin.” Unless his grin emits Co2 that contributes to global warming, I didn’t feel that details like this were crucial in explaining or understanding the severity of global warming.