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September Editorial: Global Warming

It's time to accept the reality of global warming

Editorial cartoon by Trenton Wesolick

Editorial cartoon by Trenton Wesolick

Bear Truth Editorial Board

There are very few problems that threaten human civilization to the magnitude and degree that climate change does. The existence of climate change, or global warming, is recognized by the vast majority of climate scientists but there’s still a significant portion of the American public that disagrees with these scientists.
Fact: 97 percent of climate scientists believe that human activity is significantly contributing to, or is the main factor causing global warming. This is a number that is often quoted by environmental activists, the United Nations, and NASA.
The 97 percent statistic was reviewed by the independent fact-checking website politifact and was found to be extremely credible. Politifact examined peer-reviewed studies, including studies by the University of Illinois, National Academy of Sciences, and the first study of the issue, conducted by John Cook at the Global Change Institute, that reviewed 11,944 climate change reports.
The University of Illinois found that 97.4 percent of climate scientists said that human activities were the primary force behind global warming.
The National Academy of Sciences found that 97-98 percent of climate scientists believed that rising global temperatures were due primarily to climate change.
The John Cook study found that 97.1 percent of scientists believed that humans were causing global warming.
The bottom line is that there is a scientific consensus that humans are causing global warming. So why did a 2016 Monmouth University Poll find that just 27 percent of Americans shared the view of the scientists? The discrepancy cannot be explained by a lack of understanding on the issue because the scientific concepts behind global warming are not complicated.
The basic science is this; the earth is warming up because of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere that trap heat. Humans increase the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere by burning fossil fuels. Simple right?
Therefore, the most logical explanation for the discrepancy between the view of most Americans and scientists is that global warming has become a partisan issue.
The most notorious example of this was when Oklahoma Senator James Inhofe walked onto the floor of the senate in February 2015 and attempted to disprove global warming with a snowball he found outside the capital. (For those of you keeping score at home, you likely noticed that February is in fact during the season we like to call “winter,” so its no surprise Inhofe was able to find snow. During winter. When it’s cold. In the Northeast.) Most frightening is that Inhofe, the man who attempted to disprove global warming with a snowball, is the chair of the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
Furthermore, according to OpenSecrets.org Inhofe’s number one campaign donors are from the oil and gas industry. In this way, the oil industry is able to essentially bribe United States Senators to walk into the most powerful legislative body on the planet and deny science. This sort of financial issue is why global warming has become so political: because politicians who have essentially been bought out by fossil fuel companies influence their constituent’s beliefs. It is also reflective of an America in which citizens are so afraid to break away from the line of their political party that they become incapable of forming their own opinions.
It is important that we act now or the consequences could be dire. NOAA projects that by 2100, 13.1 million Americans could be displaced by rising sea levels. On top of that, global warming leads to longer droughts, decreased economic production, increased mortality rates, more frequent asthma attacks, and threatens the majority of plant and animal species on the planet. Humans must act now because we must do something, and, more importantly, because we can, do something about global warming. It is up to young people to turn to renewable resources and clean energy in order to save our planet. Every person in this school, in this town, on this planet, has a responsibility to guarantee a future on earth for future generations.
On top of the mountains of scientific evidence there stands an even stronger, deeper, moral argument. We as humans need to understand that we are a small part of something much greater than ourselves. Too often we see ourselves as the focus of life on earth. The reality is, though, that we are one out of millions of species of life on this planet, this only planet, that we call home. The benefits of a clean and healthy earth are staggering: clean air, clean water, fewer endangered species, revived ecosystems, healthier populations of all species, etc. With all these benefits its a no-brainer that humans need to act, and put our collective, oversized ego to the side, if not for our generation, if not even for out own species, but for this pale blue dot we call home, that has given us everything we have, and everyone we know.

1 Comment

One Response to “September Editorial: Global Warming”

  1. Tom Mooney on October 20th, 2016 4:23 pm

    Editor:
    The denial of human-caused climate change isn’t so bad until you find yourself paying for destroyed public infrastructure, ruined private property, and/or experiencing lost lives. The number of multi-billion dollar weather disasters keeps on going up. Expect to pay more for home insurance and to lose economic opportunities as our government will increasingly have to help pay for these disasters.
    The longer we wait to live sustainably, the more it cost to mitigate and unfortunately for your generation, the more that it will cost you. The good news is that we can change. Learn about the profound changes that we experienced during WWII in industrial production and technology. We can do that again.
    Tom Mooney

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September Editorial: Global Warming