Climate Is Actually Changing, Deniers Beware

By Andrew Witzel

There are two circles of thought in the United States: One circle believes that humans have contributed greatly to climate change and the other circle thinks that humans are only a blip in what historically is a regular pattern spread over thousands of years. Reading any number of numerous reports from scientists that have studied climate change, you know the ones that aren’t paid by lobbies, it is clear to anyone with a logical mind that climate change is very real and threatens our way of life on a global scale. It’s a real shame that the United States has elected a president that thinks all this climate change talk is a hoax perpetrated by scientists paid by anti-fossil fuel lobbies to scare the general public. That couldn’t be farther from the truth because this planet has seen some of the most violent shifts in weather ever recorded just in the last 100 or so years.

A report released in late April, written by 90 scientists that were commissioned by the Arctic Council, concluded that the Arctic is warming faster than any other region on Earth and is quickly becoming a warmer, wetter and more variable environment. The council consists of members from the United States, Russia, Canada, Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Finland and Iceland. With so many countries involved, saying the same thing for the last six years, it becomes painfully clear that this isn’t just a hoax or something temporary as part of a larger system of cycle changes in the environment. Permafrost that’s existed in its current state for hundreds of years is now softening under people’s feet and causing foundations to sink. The council has estimated that in the period of 2010-2100, net costs of damages could be as low as $7 trillion to as much as $90 trillion and would far exceed any benefits from easier access to oil and gas exploration. Since records began in 1900, the period between 2011-2015 was the warmest and estimations that sea ice would disappear during the summer season could start as early as 2030.

Arctic melting has accelerated in recent years due to the lack of snow and ice to reflect the sun’s heat. Thawing exposes darker colored sea water and ground that can absorb more heat further accelerating the melt of snow, ice and permafrost. New evidence since the 2011 study, updated in 2015, is suggesting that the thickest sea ice that can survive multiple summers, is starting to crack and break up. Sea ice broken up acts more like crushed ice rather than a big ice-cube, and melts much quicker due to the increased surface area that warmer water can interact with the ice. The United States, being one of the most powerful nations in the world, should be leading the effort to reduce carbon emissions as a statement to the world, but in reality they’re doing the opposite with a president that denies climate change and most likely has the oil and gas lobbies in his back pocket. Trump threatened to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, even tweeting that global warming is a hoax, but has yet to do anything to back up those threats from the campaign trail last year. The fossil fuel industry is at the core of this planets problems.

It’s amazingly frustrating that some so-called science foundations, that operate as fronts to the fossil fuel industry, have managed to convince a large part of the population that this problem isn’t real. Anyone looking at the raw evidence is able to, with a logical mind, determine that this is a real threat that will follow humans for a hundred years or more. We’ll look back at this time in history, if we’re still able to that is, and pull our hair out trying to figure out why we were so ignorant to a global problem staring us in the face. Coal is dirty. Oil is finite. Gas extraction has ancillary effects to the surrounding environment. Wind blows naturally. Sun will shine for at least the next 4 billion years. All the money spent trying to keep the public unaware of the oil and gas industries contribution to climate change is better spent on making solar cells more efficient, wind generators smaller and support all the emerging technologies that will support an entire infrastructures conversion from fossil energy to renewable energy.

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