I am going to bring Roger from New Zealand into a fresh post. It is fair to present both sides in a debate and why conduct a debate in the comments section?
Roger is calling me out on my post that offers a way to explain global warming to people who deny it is happening based on fluctuations observed in daily weather. Roger cites information from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to support his argument which seems to be that climate change isn’t such a big deal.
In particular, in the last comment shared with me, Roger suggests that we need to understand the facts better because a IPCC report suggests that the sea level rises caused by the deterioration of the Greenland Ice Sheet will not reach 7 meters for at least a thousand years or more.
I’m not sure a 7 meter sea level rise is the point when we start to have problems. It has been argued by scientists that even a rise of a few inches can start to cause problems, surely a few feet would be catastrophic for some coastal areas, islands, rivers, etc. Seven meters — more than 20 feet for us metric-challenged Americans — is quite a devastating accomplishment. Bye bye Manhattan.
I am happy Roger shared this information. There is a lot more at the IPCC to read and study. The site is a treasure of reports and links to studies and data. The IPCC also is a Nobel Peace Prize winner in 2007.
I would encourage people to look beyond one or two examples that appear to be outrageous or set far into the future. The IPCC produces an annual report on Impacts, Adaptations, and Vulnerability of climate change that can be read online or downloaded. There is a lot of information about threats other than sea level rise. Drought, floods, deforestation, disease, etc. They even have a section dedicated to New Zealand!
But I have to wonder why someone — anyone — wouldn’t see climate change as an opportunity for broader changes and advancement in the way we live. The world is getting more and more crowded with more and more people living a higher standard of living mostly on unsustainable energy sources. That seems like a disaster waiting to happen whether the climate changes or not.
Moreover we are at an economic crossroads. Familiar capitalist economies that have largely depended on regional trade advantages at the global level are quickly ceasing to exist. The United States is doomed to lose in the global labor market, for example. New economies equal new opportunities and vice versa.
I will put my faith behind the scientists and researchers who have committed their professional lives to studying and understanding our climate and how human activity impacts it. Perhaps if I saw global warming scientists growing fabulously rich and powerful perpetuating a minority opinion about global warming threats I might be skeptical, but I see nothing like that. Do you?
I do, however, see a minority of big business, especially fossil fuel execs, growing fabulously rich holding a minority opinion.
If you were a betting man, where would you put your money?
- New York City May Get 20% More Sea Level Rise Than Global Average (treehugger.com)
- Federal Funds for Climate Panel Saved, But Foe Plans New Assault (news.sciencemag.org)