What if scientists from all over the world including the United States, Japan, China, Germany, Russia, Brazil and dozens of other countries were to present their best scientific research on climate change? What if dozens of countries including the above as well as Mexico, Iran, Egypt and India were to critically review the findings submitted? What if all of these countries and many others were to publish a definitive work on what is really happening to our global climate today? This has all happened, not once but five times. It can’t be any clearer.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) was first established in 1988 by two agencies of the United Nations, the World Meteorological Organization and The UN Environmental Programme. The first report of group findings was published in 1990. There have been subsequent reports issued in 1995, 2001, 2007, and now 2014. The 2007 document known as the Fourth Assessment Report received the Nobel Peace Prize. The IPCC work is a truly remarkable example of international cooperation dealing with one of the most vexing problems of our time.
The 2014 (Fifth Assessment) Report provides the clearest evidence ever assembled regarding the nature and extent of global climate change. One of the many statements of findings presented is “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and ocean have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, sea level has risen, and the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased”. It can’t be any clearer.
Yet in the face of this overwhelming weight of evidence, there are still those who deny that climate change is occurring or that our activities are having a negative impact on the atmosphere. Syndicated columnist Cal Thomas, in a column published in this paper on April 21 opined “The Obama administration and liberal politicians in general seem to promote climate change fiction in order to gain even more dominance over our lives”.
How can anyone make such a statement with the scientific community almost unanimously (97%) aligned on the other side of the issue? There are probably many motives but two seem to stand out; ideology and money. Acknowledgement of climate change science leads national policy in a direction that many conservatives cannot go-toward more government action to deal with the problems. A second issue is the enormous money and political influence coming out of the fossil fuel industry and directed squarely against climate change science.
We as a nation and as world citizens must move aggressively to deal with global climate change. This issue is far too important to allow hard-line policy to get in the way of discussing reasonable solutions. We cannot continue to allow the most profitable corporations on the planet to flex their muscle and degrade the lives of all generations to follow. It can’t be any clearer.