If ever there was a contentious topic bubbling away under the surface of society’s discussion about the future, its climate change, and global warming. From President Obama’s signature on the 2015 Paris climate agreement where 195 nations signed up to begin dealing with greenhouse gas emissions to President Trumps 2017 decision to withdraw, controversy and culture wars have dogged the global warming discussion.
Gunfight At The Climate Change Corral
Both sides have become firmly entrenched in their positions. From global warming deniers to its most passionate defenders and advocates for action on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, a showdown is looming.
One of the issues with climate change per se is its not always obvious. Aside from extreme weather events and pictures of fast-disappearing glaciers and diminishing ice deposits in the Arctic and Antarctic climate change rarely whacks members of the public around the head and demands their attention. It all feels very technical, complicated and far away. In short, politically it is the sort of issues where politicians are only too happy to kick that particular can down the road. In short, politically it is the sort of issues where politicians are only too happy to kick that particular can down the road.
Science with few exceptions seems to be lining up en mass one side of the debate, issuing warnings about the planet rushing towards a tipping point event where the rapid build up of carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere will cross a threshold, making the changes to our world’s climate irreversible.
Evidence that global warming is indeed a thing and that humans are its principal cause appear overwhelming, assuming we listen to the science. Adding to the growing sense of urgency is the emergence of evidence that Earth’s climate is changing faster than scientists initially predicted.
The Case For Acting Now
1. Greenhouses gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrous oxide, linger in our atmosphere for years
2. By the end of the century sea levels are expected to have risen by up to about 23 inches
3. Average temperatures have risen by about 1.4 degrees F since the 1880s
4. The hottest decades in 400 years were the last two of the 20th century
5. By 2040 the Arctic is anticipated to be completely ice free in summer
6. The Montana Glacier National Park had 150 glaciers in the 1910s now its down to 25 glaciers
7. Coral bleaching is the worst on record since the 1980s
8. Nearly 100 million residents are within three feet of sea level
9. Many major cities are situated on vulnerable coasts
10. Melting glaciers will trigger rising sea levels accompanied by chronic water shortages in towns dependent on natural rivers for water.
Global warming is man made. The carbon emitted today will have long-lasting consequences for generations to come. From the moment the crew of Apollo 17 took the famous “blue marble” photo of the Earth suspended in space, our awareness of the unique fragility of our planet exploded. Since then scientists have discovered other exoplanets in our galaxy but Earth remains our only habitable planet. We are rapidly changing the face of this planet and it is our collective responsibility to act now before the consequences of our inaction become devastating.