If you are just going to continue to pollute the water and continue to pollute the land and continue to grow polluted poisoned food, what on earth is anybody possibly thinking the end result will be? (Erin Brockovich)
Human-caused climate change is not an opinion. It’s scientific fact.
Ever since Charles “David” Keeling (1928-2005), an American scientist at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, first presented his findings to the American Philosophical Society in 1968, his conclusion that atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing primarily due to the actions of mankind has become one of the most polarizing subjects in American politics. CALIFORNIA AND ITS FIRES
And all these years later, with definitive evidence that the Earth’s temperature is rising and despite all the increasingly catastrophic weather events, almost a quarter of Americans believe that there is no solid evidence that the Earth has been getting warmer over the past few decades. Almost 30 percent of Americans don’t view global warming as a serious problem. And there are others who don’t think humans play a part in the climate crisis, meaning that nothing we do — burning fossil fuels, deforestation, automobiles and airplanes, factories, toxic waste, and factory farms and mega-dairies — has any impact on the planet. CALIFORNIA AND ITS FIRES
And, yet, 23 million Americans do agree that the current climate is human caused. The world’s leading climate scientists have concluded that human activities are almost certainly the main cause of the warming observed since the middle of the 20th century, when Keeling started his research.
During this same period of time, over a half-century now, carbon dioxide has been entering into the atmosphere at an alarmingly high rate — faster than any other time in recorded history. At the same time, the planet has seen a stunning run of record-breaking temperature stretches, with 10 of the warmest years on record occurring after 1998. CALIFORNIA AND ITS FIRES
It’s not that the world hasn’t had more carbon dioxide, it’s not that the world hasn’t been warmer. The problem is the speed at which things are changing. (Bill Nye)
Humanity is at a crossroads. In California, deadly and destructive wildfires in recent years are some of the largest ever recorded. As of September 21 2020, Beta is the third named storm in the Gulf of Mexico in less than a month, and the 23rd of this hurricane season. This is just the second season to exhaust the alphabetical list of storm names set before the season. The first year that happened was 2005, when there were a record 27 named storms.
Keeling’s legacy includes a measurement program that endures to this day, providing an authoritative record of atmospheric CO2 concentrations that is a cornerstone of climate science today. The Keeling Curve, the iconic graph that presents these data, is a powerful symbol of the human impact on the environment and the role of fossil fuels in global climate change.
Recently, the measurement of atmospheric carbon dioxide at Mauna Loa passed 400 parts per million (on September 9, 2020, the measurement was 412.55 ppm), a 42 percent increase from preindustrial levels. CALIFORNIA AND ITS FIRES
Each of the past three decades has been warmer than any preceding decade since records began in 1850. August 2020 was the hottest on record around these parts.
An increase of 2°C compared to the temperature in preindustrial times (mid 20th century) is seen by scientists as the threshold beyond which there is a much higher risk that dangerous and possibly catastrophic changes in the global environment will occur. For this reason, the international community has recognized the need to keep warming below 2°C. Currently, we are halfway there as the Earth has warmed 1°C (1.85°F) in the past century.
God gave us the Earth to till and to keep in a balanced and respectful way. (Pope Francis)
Even one-half of a degree is a big deal. It will mean Arctic melting and sea level rises that will displace hundreds of millions of people. If immigration a political concern, then it would be best to reverse the rising global temperature now before hundreds of island nations are submerged due to a rising ocean.
It means massive species loss, and habitat loss for many species struggling to survive. It means life-threatening heat waves, water shortages, and coastal flooding. It means the loss of coral reefs in the oceans. CALIFORNIA AND ITS FIRES
There have been five mass extinction events in the Earth’s history, each wiping out between 70% and 95% of the species of plants, animals, and microorganisms. Mass extinctions are just as severe as their name suggests. The most recent, 66 million years ago, saw dinosaurs disappear.
The past events were caused by catastrophic alterations of the environment, including massive volcanic eruptions or collision with an asteroid. The sixth mass extinction — the one happening now — is different: Scientists say it’s caused by humans.
We shall need a substantially new way of thinking if humanity is to survive. (Albert Einstein, 1954)
Nations have delayed curbing their greenhouse gas emissions for so long that warming of 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) is now all but inevitable. At current rates of warming, the world will likely cross the 1.5 degree threshold between 2030 and 2052, well within the lifetime of most who are alive today. CALIFORNIA AND ITS FIRES
To stay below 2 degrees, emissions have to decline to zero by around 2075. Virtually all of the coal plants and gasoline-burning vehicles on the planet would need to be quickly replaced with zero-carbon alternatives.
And 1.5 degrees is a best-case scenario. Without an extremely rapid (and perhaps unrealistic) globally collective push to zero out fossil fuel emissions and remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) or higher in the 21st century looks more likely, according to climate scientists.
If the world — “world” meaning humans and their countries’ governing bodies — continues to ignore the facts that have been peer-reviewed, documented, and tested, there will continue to be unprecedented extinction rates, threatened ecosystems, and severe consequences for human survival.
Immediate action must be taken by individuals, corporations, and governments. In the U.S., which has tremendous influence in the world, citizens can take immediate productive action by voting for only for politicians who understand that climate change exists, is a catastrophic emergency, and have a plan for combatting the crisis. This is priority number one.
The climate crisis has already been solved. We already have all the facts and solutions. All we have to do is wake up and change. (Greta Thunberg)
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