American leadership remains in denial of climate change, but scientists continue to observe its effects
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Climate change and global warming have been topics of discussion for decades now, with 97% of scientists agreeing that it is a real threat. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says that “scientific evidence for warming of the climate system is unequivocal.” Despite this, the president of the United States, Donald Trump, stated in a Tweet last Sunday, “Wouldn’t be too bad to have a little of that good old fashioned Global Warming right now!” in reference to cold weather on the East Coast.
But scientists continue to research and collect new data on the matter. According to Patrick Galey from the Science X Network, we are on course to miss our chance to prevent “runaway climate change,” surpassing what some refer to as the tipping point. Galey says that the World Resources Institute has found that big changes must be made before 2020 in order to prevent irreversible damage.
Still, some say that it may already be too late to save the world from climate change. A study done by Michael Bevis, a geodynamics professor at Ohio State University, has found that humanity may have already reached its tipping point. Bevis’s research has included studying ice sheets off the coast of Greenland. These ice sheets “contain enough water to raise global sea levels by 23 feet,” according to a CNN article from last Monday, January 21, and they “have been melting at an “unprecedented” rate, 50% higher than pre-industrial levels and 33% above 20th-century levels.” A rise in sea level this extreme leaves coastal cities and islands vulnerable.
The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) says that oceans are not just rising but they are also getting hotter as they absorb the increased heat in the air. “This shift causes the oceans to expand … and strips corals of their vivid colors. Meanwhile, nearly a third of carbon dioxide emissions end up in the oceans, triggering chemical reactions that make the water more acidic, dissolving the shells of sea creatures. The ocean is almost 40 percent more acidic than it used to be.”
The ocean, though, is not the only part of the environment that is affected by climate change. EDF sheds light on other examples like the struggle for farmers and crops to keep up with unpredictable weather, air pollution, natural disasters, increasingly good conditions for tree-killing insects, and threat to arctic animals, to name a few.
To combat the rise of the Earth’s temperature, Galey says that “a phasing out of fossil fuels” has been identified as a chief goal. However, according to an article by the Washington Post this past December, President Trump and his administration continue to promote the use and expansion of the coal and fossil fuel industries both at home and overseas.