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Tag:climate change

Tag:climate change

The global scientific community agrees that average global temperature is on the rise, despite local anomalies. 2008 was one of the 10 warmest years since records have been kept. But critics of global warming science have not given up. Global temperatures fluctuate, and skeptics point to periods of cooling as evidence against the dangers of emissions. And scientific consensus may change: the climate heretics might turn out to be right. But there is strong evidence that the current connsensus represents reality.

One Antarctic ice shelf has quickly vanished, another is disappearing and glaciers are melting faster than anyone thought due to climate change, U.S. and British government researchers reported on Friday. Climate change is to blame, according to the report from the U.S. Geological Survey and the British Antarctic Survey, available at pubs.usgs.gov/imap/2600/B.

But the question is not whether climate change is an important issue, but whether the timescales reflected by most current models are accurate. No one doubts that humans have the potential to alter their environment, now or in the future. Local environments, like Los Angeles are clearly affected.

The question is whether or not carbon emitted by current methods of energy production will create climate outcomes that are unacceptable for the next few generations, and whether there is anything humans can do to avert these potential pitfalls. The current consensus is that the answer to both questions is yes.

Critics may or may not be right. Every generation has predicted that the end is nigh, and none has experienced the manifestation of their predictions. But even if we are again proved wrong, our priorities, if we value environmental protection, will prove right.

The decision about which policy to favor in the short term will impact life's survival prospects, whatever our scientific understanding of climate turns out to be.

 
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