Scientists are in the business of working in their labs, researching in the field, sharing information among colleagues, and writing papers. They are used to defending their work against scientific scrutiny and revamping and abandoning theories that do not hold up. They know how to fight for funding and get creative in working with what resources they have. But scientists should not be put in the position of having to fight lies spread about their data for political and corporate gain. Here are the facts, scientifically and politically.
Scientific Facts About Global Warming
- The scientific community agrees that global warming is reality and that its major cause is human activities
- The average temperature on Earth has been warming since the Industrial Revolution and is warming at an increasing rate over the past few decades
- Average global temperatures increased 1.4 degrees since the 1880s
- Carbon dioxide is a known greenhouse gas. The addition of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere causes additional heating. Carbon dioxide and temperatures move in concert with one another. Current carbon dioxide amounts are pushing an incredible 400 parts per million.
- A rise in temperatures (which has already begun) will lead to many drastic changes in the Earth’s environment (see below)
Current and Projected Changes from Global Warming
- A disappearance of summer sea ice in the Arctic by at least 2040, resulting in a loss of animals such as the polar bear
- Antarctic ice melt resulting in wildly uneven sea level rises of up to 21 feet in the heavily populated Northern Hemisphere
- Destruction of 85% of the Amazon rainforest
- Extinction of half the Earth’s species
- Arctic areas impacted the hardest, with Alaska, Canada, and Russia already warming at twice the average global rate
- Glaciers, the largest freshwater source in the world, are shrinking rapidly. Glacier National Park went from 150 to 27 glaciers over the last century
- Coral reefs are dying off with higher sea water temperatures
- Droughts, heat waves, wildfires and other “natural” disasters will become more severe and more commonplace
The Political Effort to Distort Global Warming
- In 2008, opponents of global warming spent $450 million in the US in lobbying and political contributions to nay-sayers
- 7 out of 8 climate lobbyists in Washington dispute the need for climate action, which amounts to more than 2,000 paid deniers
- In recent years the number of lobbyists who discredited global warming has increased 300%
- In 2008, the coal industry spent $45 million on advertising to deny global warming
- More than 50 people have been hired to flood the radio and TV airways with denials, doubt, and confusion about global warming
- Not surprisingly then, 41% of Americans think the threat of global warming is being exaggerated
For those who want the scientific truth about global warming, go to scientific sources. Political talk shows, internet blogs, and corporate commercials are not the place to find facts about the climate. Read journals such as Science or Nature for their peer-reviewed articles from researchers who have committed their lives and livelihoods to investigating scientific truths such as the environmental catastrophe that is global warming.