Public skepticism about global warming has increased in recent years, fed by a group of loud voices ? some motivated by their association with polluting industries; others by their ideology ? doing their best to cast doubt on the science behind the well-established theory that carbon emissions are contributing to a raising of the Earth’s temperatures.
It would be better for the world if the skeptics were right. We could go about our business, burning up fossil fuels with impunity with only the distant worry that those fuels will someday be exhausted to concern us. (Well, that, and the environmental and public health effects from both the mining and emissions.)
But the skeptics are wrong. Global warming is happening; mankind is the cause; and time is quickly running out to do anything before we reach some catastrophic tipping points that will cause the globe to heat even faster.
The scientific community coalesced around this conclusion some time ago. The consensus opinion is overwhelming, despite what a few high-profile skeptics would have you believe.
And the evidence continues to mount.
The latest comes from the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, headed by physicist Richard Muller, a one-time skeptic who was in so good with global warming deniers that the Koch brothers gave his project $150,000.
They probably would like their money back now. BEST released its first official findings, and the conclusions aren’t surprising to anyone who has followed the scientific debate (as opposed to the political debate) over the last few years:
The earth is getting warmer, at a rate at the high-end of computer projections, and that rate is accelerating. Contrary to what some would have you believe, global warming has not slowed or stopped since 1998. The temperature has increased more than 2 degrees Celsius, on average, since 1998.
In a press release announcing the findings, Muller said, “Our biggest surprise was that the new results agreed so closely with the warming values published previously by other teams in the US and the UK.”
Climate scientists have been unfairly maligned often lately. The overblown Climategate e-mail scandal was exaggerated, and no scientist was found to have engaged in any misbehavior exposed by the stolen e-mails. But even beyond that, their motives have been questioned, with Rick Perry famously suggesting global warming was a “hoax” designed to generate federal research dollars.
But when a skeptical, but scrupulous and honest, scientist ? funded by the Koch brothers, no less ? examined the data independently, he came to the same conclusion.
Global warming has become a political football, but the ramifications are too grave to allow that to continue. The science is clear and growing clearer. America must take action ? soon ? to curb its emissions and join the rest of the world in working towards a global solution.