Is climate change a real threat? Are we causing it? Can we do anything about it?
A lot of mainstream science, led by the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
, is saying the
threat is real and perhaps even more damaging than you might have
heard. There is strong agreement that temperatures are at record
levels. There is still debate about why, although the consensus among
mainstream scientists is that anthropogenic (man-made) reasons
especially green house gases are the main culprit. Others argue that
solar activity and natural sources are more significant. A minority believe the data is being distorted and temperatures are actually dropping.
If the scientific mainstream is right, the temperatures will continue to rise for
centuries, even if we stop burning all fossil fuels immediately.
They have called for rapid reduction to pre-1990 emission levels for 39
countries (Kyoto Protocol)
Will higher temperatures cause more
intense storms or other detrimental changes to the weather pattern?
Will the sea levels rise? Could the Gulf Stream stop? Do we need to spend trillions of dollars to
fix the problem? Can we fix the problem? Some experts are saying we
should expect more climate variation. Building along coastlines may not
make good sense.
This issue has become politicized in the US and has become a Red
State ("big oil") / Blue State ("tree hugger") "religious"
with all the attendant baggage. Given that the oil companies seem to have a
vested interest, the issue is reminiscent of the tobacco debates of the
1960-1980's. There is just so much more at stake.
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