Climate Change: More than “snowflakes” will melt

By Barbaraliz Ortiz |

Brutal and Extended Cold Blast could shatter ALL RECORDS – Whatever happened to Global Warming?,” President Donald Trump tweeted out on Nov. 21, 2018.

The answer to his question is a simple one: nothing has “happened” to global warming. The need for a jacket in the middle of November is not cause for the leader of the free world to dismiss one the most pressing environmental issue of our time.

Despite that many of the President’s remarks are based on ignorance and a lack of basic knowledge of science, he alone is not responsible for the poor manner in which climate change is frequently discussed.

President Trump’s question is a perfect example of this, in fact, since it is seldom explained to people that an individual weather occurrence – such as an “Extended Cold Blast”– is not indicative of climate. What is indicative of climate is the fact that from 1986 to 2015, the annual average temperature has increased by 1.2°F, according to the Fourth National Climate Assessment.

Of course, climate deniers know better than to acknowledge the continually occurring heat waves and more extreme high temperatures, conveniently mentioning only cold weather events. This along with other factors is just one of the many issues surrounding the topic of climate change.

Climate change has for long been treated as a debatable topic, where often, many dismiss the subject as a hoax perpetrated by money hungry climatologists and paranoid catastrophists.

Upon the release of the second volume of the Fourth National Climate Assessment by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) skepticism has followed, once again leaving Americans at odds with one another regarding what the correct actions to take are.

The report commissioned by The Global Change Research Act of 1990, is one conducted by both experts within and outside of the government, crafted to act as a source of information for government leaders in the United States. The officialdom of the assessment, however, continues to be dismissed by some as an exaggeration of current manners.

Largely, much of the apathy regarding the dire findings of the assessment are a direct result of the fact that climate change has been discussed as though it were a matter of ideology, rather than a matter of fact.

Albeit a common fallacy, it’s one which must be addressed. Climate change at its core is truly a nonpartisan issue. Not only does it exist – but it is being caused by current human activities.

Much of the argument surrounding climate change is based on the idea that current warming is a result of the Earth’s natural climate cycles, which is a misconception. The primary indicator that current warming is not due to the aforementioned natural cycles is the significant influx in presently occurring carbon dioxide levels.

While typically atmospheric carbon dioxide levels increase or decrease as a response to natural cycles, climate scientists overwhelmingly agree that due to human activity, atmospheric carbon dioxide is increasing at alarming rates and consequently causing unnatural warming.

The findings of the assessment reinforce the human influence of changing climate, with the second chapter of the assessment explaining that “observational evidence does not support any credible natural explanations for this amount of warming; instead, the evidence consistently points to human activities, especially emissions of greenhouse or heat-trapping gases, as the dominant cause.”

It predicts a grim future, as the “changes increasingly threaten the health and well-being of the American people.”

The 29 chapters of the report provide detailed and worrisome evidence that if climate change is not addressed both efficiently and rapidly, the United States will be forced to later deal with consequences ranging from stunted agriculture and economic growth to more severe weather events – some of which are already beginning – such as hurricanes and wildfires.

More importantly, for those who claim the findings are hyperbolized, the report provides a Traceable Accounts section at the conclusion of every chapter. In each Traceable Account section, both confidence and likelihood are analyzed for each and every claim made, using statistics to verify that the findings are in fact relevant and not just convenient assumptions made by those who crafted the report.

The publication of the assessment is a call to treat climate change seriously – it’s an issue that can no longer be debated or ignored. Doing so could prove to ultimately be deleterious to the country and its people.

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