Sunday, July 4, 2010

Climate Change - Not Controversial

Stephen Harper said he did not make climate change a priority at the recent G8 and G20 summits because it was a controversial issue. That is a bald-faced lie. It may be controversial to him and his climate science denying corporate pals but to the rest of the scientific world it is accepted science.

A recent study published by the National Academy of Sciences, involving 1,372 climate scientists, most considered top researchers in their field, shows that 97 percent agree that global warming is occurring and is being driven mainly by human activity - emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases.

The only controversy has been created by organized campaigns of disinformation by those in the fossil fuel industries and given the weight of equivalency in the various media. The disagreements come from astroturf organizations, those in the thrall of corporate interests like the American Enterprise Institute (an Exxon-Mobil funded think-tank), Americans for Prosperity, the Heritage Foundation, the Cato institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Foundation for research on economics and the environment. All have been involved in "spinning" the "climategate" story or are at the forefront of the anti-global warming debate. You can also include the US Chamber of Commerce in that list. In truth the climate science skeptics are few and lack expertise according to a study led by Stanford researchers.

Which leads me to a post over at Joe Romm's blog, Climate Progress. Today, Joe wants Americans to celebrate Interdependence Day and he makes a couple of important observations. Taking from the Declaration of Independence, he highlights the self-evident, unalienable rights that the Founding Fathers say all are endowed with, ...life liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that with those words the Founding Fathers were pointing out that ...we are all in this together, that we are interdependent, that we have a moral duty to protect these unalienable rights for all humans. He's right, yet we are doing very little that acknowledges that relationship with one another or to change the current course we are on so that mankind may continue to prosper... or pursue happiness!

Interdependence extends not to just with those in the U.S., or all of us here on the same continent but worldwide. Otherwise we are headed for 9°F planetary warming by the end of the century, 850+ppm of carbon concentrations in the atmosphere, and massive species loss, all of which will change life as we know it irrevocably and condemn future generations to live in conditions that resemble those in kitschy, dystopian, science- fiction movies. Seriously.

That interdependence also extends to various eco-systems which are interconnected and equally at risk. For example, rising CO2 concentrations are leading to increasingly acidic oceans and there's a report today that the deteriorating health of the oceans may be irreversible. The report, in Science magazine, doesn't break a lot of new ground, but it brings together dozens of studies that collectively paint a dismal picture of deteriorating ocean health. Put it all together and it paints an alarming picture.