Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Scientists more certain than ever on climate change


My favorite part of the recent report on climate change?  This:

"The report, "Climate Change: Evidence and Causes," is written in simple language and filled with pictures and graphs to illustrate why scientists are certain human activity is causing the climate to change."

Even the inclusion of pictures and dumbed down language will not be sufficient to change certain minds on the reality of climate change.  No, it doesn't matter that a report from the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and the Royal Society agree that humans are causing a rise in global temperatures.  Denialists will still refuse to see any possible correlation between human industry and a 40% increase in the atmosphere's carbon dioxide content since 1880.  Temperatures are not getting warmer, the Arctic is not melting, the acidity of oceans is not increasing, sea levels are not eight inches higher, and a global climate change is not affecting every plant and animal in the world.

And even if those things were true, humans have nothing to do with it.

Sadly, this fervent attitude is found not only in American business but in high levels of our government.  As an excuse against actually doing anything, especially if it costs money, they will quickly point to the nasty winter we've had this year.  Prolonged periods of sub-zero temperatures and a nigh incessant amount of snow (more tomorrow for us here in the Midwest) are taken as physical examples of one aspect in the climate report: the rise in temperatures is actually slowing.

Be that as it may, that does not mean that climate change is not happening.  The slowdown is likely due to "interactions between the ocean and atmosphere, quiet solar activity and an increase in sunlight reflecting particles."  So don't let it fool you.  The world is going to be warmer and that's going to have a whole host of negative consequences.

If you're interested about the subject, I'd encourage you to check out Climate Commons.  This interactive site is a clearinghouse of current weather data, anomalies, and news stories about both the science and politics involved with climate change.  The spiffy map allows you to find what's happening in your own area.  For example, there are several articles that speak to how the aforementioned polar temperatures are increasing the demand for coal at power plants.  It would be nice to instead to see an increased demand for wind and solar power, but I guess I'm just going to have to wait for that...as I sweat through what will likely be another egregiously hot summer.

In light of that, tomorrow's snow doesn't sound all that bad.


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