Thursday, October 29, 2015

Climate Change is Here and Demands Urgent Action

The science of climate change is irrefutable even if some people remain confused and we are rapidly running out of time to deal with this urgent crisis. The threat is extends beyond an economic collapse, its implications are nothing short of civilization altering. 

Between 97 percent, and 99.9 percent of climate scientists say anthropogenic climate change is real. There is a mountains of research supporting the existence of climate change (not the least of which is the comprehensive IPCC AR5 report) while deniers do not publish papers because there is no credible scientific research that could support their claims. The only way that global warming deniers can support their position is by using falsified claims.

If we look at three objective measures, heat records, ice loss and ocean impacts, we already see strong evidence that climate change is happening now and there is every reason to expect that it will get far worse in the future. 

Heat

September was globally the hottest September on record by a substantial margin. With three months to go, seven months in 2015 have broken a record for being the hottest months on record. This year is on track to be by far the hottest year on record beating 2014, which is the second hottest year by a wide margin. The 10 hottest years all since 1998. We are also seeing far more high temperature records broken than lows and the departures from the mean are increasing. 

Ice

Summertime Arctic ice thin by more than 80 percent from 1975 to 2012. Arctic sea ice volume dropping so fast it’s called a death spiral. The percentage of older ice in the Arctic dropping. We losing 450 billion tons of land ice every year. We have lost 5 trillions tons of land ice just since 2002. The vast majority of glaciers across the planet are melting.

Oceans

All this melting ice is contributing to sea level rise. Sea levels are currently rising by more than 3 millimeters per year and the oceans are the oceans getting more acidic producing vast dead zones. The costs of ocean acidification are already around a trillion dollars per year.

Warning

The repercussions of climate disruption are still not being acknowledged fully, warned climatologist Dr. James Hansen. He is formerly NASA’s head climate scientist, and he warned that time is running out. We must quickly transition away from fossil fuels and invest in renewable energy.

Mass species extinction, extreme weather, and larger wildfires are among the impacts we can expect from climate change.  He also pointed to a number of amplifying impacts and feedback loops that will accelerate the changes.

“It will happen faster than you think,” he said. If major coastal cities become “dysfunctional” because of sea level rise, as he believes is possible, the global economy could be in peril of collapse.

Hansen warned of the dangers of unfettered capitalism and said, “We’ve got to make the system work for us...If you properly harness the market, it will work for you.” One example of making capitalism work involves providing incentives and tax breaks for renewables and removing similar subsidies for fossil fuels. 

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