A very good friend of mine recently told me she doesn’t believe in Global warming. That led me to do some research on the matter. Here in the U.S. in the place where I live, the Great Lakes area, we had snow storm after snow storm last winter. Not only that, but the sub zero temperatures were something I haven’t seen in my lifetime. This leads me to believe that Global warming is real and more extreme than first thought.
While the United States was having a very frigid month of January, Australia was having record breaking heat. Play had to be interrupted at the Australia Open tennis tournament because of the extreme heat. The temperature in Melbourne, where the tournament was being played reached 109 degrees. On the global scale, 2013 was the fourth warmest or seventh warmest on record, depending on whether you believe the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, or NASA. The agencies take different approaches in analyzing and extrapolating available data, which accounts for the discrepancy. But they agree on one thing, it’s getting hotter.
Since the Industrial Revolution, the large-scale burning of fossil fuels has increased the concentration of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 40%. Researchers have calculated that global temperatures could rise a full 7 degrees by the end of the century. This rise “would likely be catastrophic rather than simply dangerous,” as Steven Sherwood of the University of New South Wales told the Guardian newspaper. It would also guarantee the melting of so much polar ice, that sea levels would rise dramatically. Bad news for coastal cities around the world.
Is there uncertainty in these predictions? Of course, but it would be foolish to wager that the near unanimous consensus of climate scientist is totally wrong. Officials in the United States and around the world will not take swift action because the economic and political cost are so high. China, the worlds biggest contributor to greenhouse gases is not about to shut down it’s factories and India, who is trying to catch up to China, won’t either. In Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, both with booming populations, have smokestacks that are continuously puffing out the poison smoke of production.
The United States, Europe, and Japan will do what they can when the world meets to discus the situation, but the day will come when the other world leaders will be willing, even desperate, to curb greenhouse gases. But by then, let’s hope it’s not too late.