Climate Change Shaping Up To Be 2017’s #1 Environmental Issue
With science fact seemingly on a direct collision course with science fiction in recent months in the realm of environmental news, the number one hot-button topic shaping up to take 2017 by storm – if you excuse the pun – is climate change, an issue that has inspired numerous impassioned responses from just about anyone and everyone these days.
Climate change – also known as global warming – is a scientific concept that contends that the average temperature of the Earth is continuously rising due to humanity’s use of fossil fuels and the resultant expulsion of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide into the air which, in turn, serves to ensnare heat within the Earth’s atmosphere. As a result, the planet’s ecosystems have experienced a rash of issues, ranging from increased ocean levels, erratic weather, droughts, negative effects on aviary migration patterns, and more.
Environmental blog YellowPagesGoesGreen.org recently penned a fairly comprehensive article on climate change, noting how greenhouse gas emissions are destroying our environment, one degree at a time; it looks at the phenomena in a very real sense while citing numerous articles in an attempt to make the problem out to be far more than a mere left-wing hoax.
“Global temperatures have been on the rise and are anticipated to continue doing so, according to scientists representing the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); within the next 100 years, they have stated, it’s possible and quite likely that global temperatures will increase anywhere from 2.5 to 10 degrees, which will have far-ranging effects on entire ecosystems and all as all manner of plant and animal life across the planet,” they said. “In 2013, the world spewed more carbon pollution into the atmosphere than at any time ever before. The leading polluters were China, India and the United States, increasing their emissions by 4.2 percent, 5.1 percent and 2.9 percent, respectively.”
The debate over climate change has intensified in the past year with the rise of real estate mogul and TV personality Donald Trump to the political scene, culminating with his successful election to the presidency of the United States; leading up to his official swearing-in ceremony on January 21st, 2017, Trump often claimed while on the campaign trail that climate change was a falsehood, often blaming it’s creation on the Chinese government and left-wing environmental activists, ignoring proven scientific results and findings collected over the course of many years. While Trump in some ways has since shown a more open mind to the concept of global warming, some experts – such as Professor Michael Mann, one of the world’s leading climatologists – are still expressing concern that the leader of the free world may have some doubts about it.
“The era of climate change denial is over. Rejection of the unequivocal scientific evidence that carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are warming the planet and changing our climate is no longer socially acceptable,” he said. “Only the most fringe of politicians now disputes the overwhelming scientific consensus that climate change is real and human-caused, and they are largely ignored.”
However, according to Myron Ebell – who took charge of Donald Trump’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team – the US President will pull America out of the landmark Paris climate change agreement very early into his term, and is determined to undo policies pushed by Barack Obama to restrict greenhouse gas emissions.
“The U.S. will clearly change its course on climate policy under the new administration,” Ebell said. “Mr. Trump was pretty clear that the problem or the crisis has been overblown and overstated.”
However, according to the U.S. Department of Ecology, climate change is neither overblown or overstated- according to their data, heat-trapping gases such as carbon dioxide are causing a general upswing in the overall temperature of the Earth, leading to an increase in the elevation of seawater due to the subsequent melting of snow and ice in polar regions, as well as other related maladies such as drought, fires, extreme changes in weather patterns, and flooding.
“Scientists project that these trends will continue and in some cases accelerate, posing significant risks to human health, our forests, agriculture, freshwater supplies, coastlines, and other natural resources that are vital to Washington state’s economy, environment, and our quality of life,” they said. “Because so many systems are tied to climate, a change in climate can affect many related aspects of where and how people, plants and animals live, such as food production, availability and use of water, and health risks. For example, a change in the usual timing of rains or temperatures can affect when plants bloom and set fruit, when insects hatch or when streams are their fullest. This can affect historically synchronized pollination of crops, food for migrating birds, spawning of fish, water supplies for drinking and irrigation, forest health, and more.”
While there are two sides to every story, the most important part of any disagreement – especially when it comes to the environment – is that both sides have open minds and take in every possible piece of information before making their final judgment. While Mr. Trump is no doubt a very successful businessman and entertainer, he would do well to research the concept of climate change as much as possible before making a final decision on what course of action he will lead his country on in terms of sustaining the global health of the planet; as the leader of the free world, the rest of the planet looks to the United States to guide by example, so hopefully Mr. Trump will do so by relying on all viewpoints to shape his own…that is how true wisdom is gained.