Editorial: Politics freeze as temperatures rise
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This year’s east coast winter has had a most unpredictable forecast, producing temperatures below freezing one day and temperatures in the 70’s the next. Strange happenings for sure, yet, people fail to ask why the weather is the way it is. Is it possible the weather variances could be due to global warming?
Climate change has produced differing views on how to respond to such a complex problem. Some, like President Donald Trump, believe that climate change is a “hoax”, while others believe that this is a serious problem that threatens the earth’s environment. Whether one believes climate change is a serious problem or a hoax, the discussion of a serious issue like this, should not just be overlooked nor politicized.
According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. Moreover, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. Yet, President Trump still does not believe that this issue should be addressed and that the concept “was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive.”
The topic of global warming has been introduced in the field of politics for years. The president’s 2018 budget cuts reveal that he plans to cut budgets on NASA from $19.3 billion to $19.1 billion and the Environment Protection Agency by nearly ⅓ of its current budget which clearly indicate his thoughts regarding this topic. Politicians are entitled to there opinions; however, this is not a political issue, it is a scientific one.
In the United States, 2016 was the warmest year on record. Actually, nine of the 10 warmest years on record have occurred since 2000. Carbon Dioxide levels in the air are at their highest in 650,000 years. In 2012, Arctic summer sea ice shrank to the lowest extent on record. Moreover, Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum each September. September Arctic sea ice is now declining at a rate of 13.3 percent per decade, relative to the 1981 to 2010 average (NASA).
The effects of climate change are hinting at future problems now. Spring heat in areas that are normally cold during winter and longer and more severe hurricanes are indicators that something is happening in our environment that is a threat to our existence. It could be a threat for centuries to come. Scientists feel secure that global temperatures will continue to rise for years to come largely due to greenhouse gases produced by human activities. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 2.5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century (NASA).
To effectively reduce the rate of climate change, the amount of harmful emissions in the atmosphere must be reduced. Many, like the Union of Concerned Scientists (USCUSA), propose that countries expand their use of renewable resources, transform the energy system to a cleaner and less coal and fossil fuel dependent system, increase vehicle fuel efficiency, place limits on amount of carbon polluters can emit, and reduce tropical deforestation. With the technological advances and the growing education on climate change, many efforts can be taken to reduce the dangers of this problem.
Global warming has proven to be a complex issue that has no clear solution. Though many scientists agree that the climate is indeed changing, few agree on the best way to slow or decrease the rising temperatures. Regardless, scientific studies should be supported as they contribute to our understanding of the environment and offer an objective analysis of climate change as can be found anywhere. Any study performed for the advancement of knowledge and the betterment of mankind’s only home should have the full support of all world leaders and likewise all the citizens of Earth.