According to studies released yesterday, the collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet is inevitable. This means that over the next few centuries, water will rise as much as 15 feet and flood coastal cities around the globe. Given this new and staggering information, I have to wonder why the causes and effects of global warming are still in question.
At this point, we have been studying the greenhouse effect for decades, and there are some irrefutable facts:
- The accumulation of CO2 and greenhouse gases does impact global temperatures
- Society and the naturals systems that surround us are releasing greenhouse gases at an unprecedented rate
- Both CO2 levels and global temperatures have been trending upward in a dramatic fashion for 20+ years
So why do politicians like Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) still maintain that global warming is not man-made and/or isn’t as big of a deal as it is portrayed in the media. Why has this been debated for so long? Politically-powerful disbelievers continue to argue that global warming is irrelevant, or just a hoax.
Let’s consider things from a sociological point of view, using the Montreal Protocol as an example. The ban on CFCs that went into effect in 1989 was quickly and decisively acted upon by the same group of leaders who are struggling to manage effective controls on CO2 and greenhouse gases today. Section 608 of The Clean Air Act of 1990 helped the US manage its use of CFCs and prevent the destruction of the ozone layer, legislation which has been in place for nearly 25 years with high rates of compliance and good results. Given that this is arguably an even more important issue, what is really keeping world leaders from acting in similar fashion (i.e. quickly and decisively) regarding global warming? Well, the thing is that not all science is so readily accepted and integrated into our daily lives. Some science is so disruptive to our way of life, the economy, our view of ourselves, and even to our senses that it is just easier to reject the data than to face the truth. And the truth is that what we, the human race, are doing is NOT sustainable.
In the meantime, cities, governments, and militaries across the globe are preparing for the effects of global warming. Numerous cities have already been devastated by natural disasters that are the direct result of climate change—Australia and its recent drought and wildfires are a good example. Low-lying coastal countries, like the Netherlands, and cities, like London and Venice, have been working for some time now on precautionary measures against impending floods. Given what we now know, isn’t it silly to continue to debate the issue? Global warming exists, period.
Want to learn more about climate change and what’s causing it?
Then you might want to attend:
Northwestern University’s Annual Climate Change Symposium (NUCCS) THIS Friday, May 16!
This year we’ll be focusing on carbon capture, sequestration and management, issues that are topical and controversial. The speakers for the 2014 Symposium include experts on shale gas and fracking, geological storage of CO2, carbon capture and transport, biological carbon sequestration, geothermal use of supercritical carbon, and the overall technical and political challenges of carbon management.
Registration is free and open to the general public; so we hope you’ll join us for however many speakers your schedule will allow. So that we have a more accurate idea of expected attendance, we request that you kindly register in advance. Walk-ins day-of are also welcome. Tell your friends and family!
5/16: @NorthwesternU 2014 #ClimateChange Symposium: “Future of Carbon.” Free/open to public. Register:http://isen.nu/1sd3NXX, via @ISENatNU
We hope to see you there! Questions about the symposium can be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.