Lexington - For so many of us who are trying to get the attention of our fellow citizens regarding the urgent need to take personal and political action to deal with climate change, skepticism about human culpability is vexing in the extreme.
Granted, skepticism has its place in the free exchange of ideas, but we are at a point now where skepticism is standing in the way of progress.
There are still too many folks out there who choose to cling to sketchy science and the notion that a planet populated by some 6.7 billion human beings will not eventually “snap.”
When we talk about climate change and the enormous challenge it presents to humankind, it is crucial that we pay attention to the facts. It is, indeed, a fact that the vast majority of scientists worldwide agree that climate change is real, is accelerating faster than was expected even a few years ago, and that human activities play no small part.
Here are a few examples out of the volumes of available sources that prove without a doubt that climate change is real, dangerous, and happening before our eyes.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states: “Careful measurements have confirmed that greenhouse gas emissions are increasing and that human activities (principally, the burning of fossil fuels and changes in land use) are the primary cause. Human activities have caused the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and methane to be higher today than at any point during the last 650,000 years.”
Leadership of the national academies of sciences of the U.S., U.K., France, Italy, Germany, Japan, Russia, China, and India are on record that global climate change is real and caused mainly by humans. This view is shared by faculty members of earth sciences departments of every top-ranking university in the world.
The Pew Center for Climate Change Research states: “The scientific community has reached a strong consensus regarding the science of global climate change.
“The world is undoubtedly warming, and the warming is largely the result of emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases from human activities.
“The scientists know for certain that the earth has been warming for the past century. They know that human activities, mainly the burning of coal and oil, have dramatically increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. They also understand the science of how these gases are causing the warming.
“As a result, they predict that the world will continue to warm in the centuries ahead, with significant impact on the sea levels and weather patterns, and consequences for human health, ecosystems, and the economy. Avoiding the most severe impacts, scientists say, will require substantial reductions in emissions of the greenhouse gases that are contributing to climate change.”
Prof. John Holdren of Harvard University and the director of the Woods Hole Research Center wrote recently in the Boston Globe: “They [global warming skeptics] have not come up with any plausible alternative culprit for the disruption of global climate that is being observed, for example, a culprit other than the greenhouse-gas buildups in the atmosphere that have been measured and tied beyond doubt to human activities. [The argument that variations in the sun’s output might be responsible fails a number of elementary scientific tests.]”
If you seek facts, we can recommend the following Web sites for the latest in climate change science:
Real Climate (a commentary site on climate science by working climate scientists for the interested public and journalists)
Plenty of information is available to all of us. The Internet is right at our fingertips, and Cary Library has a sizable collection of books about climate change.
This is no time for skepticism; the future of our planet is at stake. We have very little time to make the changes on an international level to stop the worst of climate disruption.
It is important that young people grasp the importance of this daunting task so their generation and those to come are spared the worst effects of an uncertain future.
Brought to you by Lexington Global Warming Action Coalition. Contact us at www.lexgwac.org.