Climate Change is Real

by Kevin Henning, KCDP Chair
for the “Progressive Views” column, Boerne Star, November 9, 2018

Sea lions on block of ice, surrounded by water
“Sea Lions at Jökulsárlón Glacial Lagoon, Southeast Iceland” by United Nations Photo is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

Climate change is back in the news. The United Nations recently released the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report which basically says we have 12 years to limit climate change or the results could be catastrophic. We must cut carbon emissions as quickly as we can or we could be toast. Republicans ignore these warnings, saying it is a political conspiracy.

Here are the facts:

  1. The world is warming. 2016 was on average 1.69 degrees Fahrenheit warmer than the 20th century average. We are seeing a half-century warming trend.
  2. It is human-induced.
  3. Nine out of ten climate scientists agree that carbon emissions cause global warming.
  4. We can fix it but we must wean ourselves from fossil fuels.
  5. Politicians and many business groups call for more research to be certain about the effects of greenhouse gases yet they are reducing the EPA budget that will cripple research on global warming.
  6. Conservatives and many business groups support politicians who dispute climate change and are just pandering to the public to protect their business interests.
  7. The United States consumes 18% of the world’s energy with 4% of the world’s population, so there is much room to reduce consumption.
  8. Renewables are now cost-competitive and could be implemented at much more rapid pace.
  9. The quicker we cut carbon emissions, the better off we will be.

So, there is hope but we must have the political will to take aggressive action. I see Republicans are backing off of the hoax spin but simply say there is nothing to be done as it is not human caused. They still have no concern for the devastation that climate change will visit upon the human race. Many fine people believe that climate change is real and should be addressed. They did not want the USA to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Here are a few folks who wanted us to stay in the Agreement:

William Ruckelshaus, longtime Republican, the man considered the father of environmental protection in the US has attacked Republicans for their denial an accused Donald Trump of ignoring science for political gain. He urged the Trump Administration to stay in the Paris Climate Agreement.

Retired GE CEO Jeff Immelt says: “We believe climate change should be addressed on a global basis through multi-national agreements, such as the Paris Agreement.” “We hope that the United States will again play a constructive role in furthering solutions to these challenges.”

Pope Francis brought his campaign for action on climate change to the United Nations proclaiming the existence of a “right of the environment” and pleading with countries to stop abusing it. He also expressed his views to President Trump when he visited the Vatican stressing that remaining in the Paris Climate Agreement was essential. Guess who didn’t listen. At least it isn’t a hoax anymore.

Let me close with a few quotes from world renowned Texas Tech Climate Scientist Katherine Hayhoe:

  • “A thermometer isn’t Democrat or Republican. It doesn’t give us a different answer depending on how we vote.”
  • “Sea level is rising due to: (a) the thermal expansion of sea water as it warms, and (b) melting of land-based ice including glaciers and ice sheets.”
  • “The president’s recent comments on climate change directly contradict the findings of the 4th US Nat’l Climate Assessment which was released by his own administration last Nov.”
  • “It’s an opportunity—to transform the fabric of our society, from its current patterns of consumption that will soon exceed our planetary boundaries to one that’s able to sustain our human civilization for millennia to come.”
  • “The data tells us the planet is warming; the science is clear that humans are responsible; the impacts we’re seeing today are already serious; and our future is in our hands. As John Holdren once said, ‘We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required, and the less suffering there will be.’”

Let’s listen to the folks who know and heed their warnings.

Remember to vote. Early voting starts next Monday at the Kendall County Courthouse Annex, 221 Fawn Valley Drive.

“The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is an intergovernmental body of the United Nations, dedicated to providing the world with an objective, scientific view of climate change and its political and economic impacts.” – Wikipedia

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