Climate change is not a hoax. It is not an innocuous coincidence that we can throw on the shoulders of our ally nations. Despite what some senior officials might believe, climate change is not ‘good’ for our health. In truth, climate change is an alarming reality that is rearing its ugly head in the form of rising global temperatures, rising seas, and shrinking ecosystems. To further drive home the point, a new comprehensive report shows this: it is extremely likely that climate change is the responsibility of humans. What has been marred in controversy by those who oppose climate change and those who agree with its findings, is now front and center among an administration that largely denies what science has now proven.
The now most talked about research report is formally known as the Climate Science Specialty Report. It is written by some of the most renowned experts in their fields who study climate and weather patterns. Typically, the report would echo the consensus of an existing or even former administration, yet it’s been met with some resistance thanks in part to appointed officials who question points such as whether carbon dioxide is truly a harm to the earth.
Widely Known Effects and the Facts That Back Them Up
Long before former Vice President Al Gore’s “An Inconvenient Truth” hit the public, scientists have been studying patterns in temperatures and weather throughout modern civilization to gain an understanding of what’s happening today. Rising sea levels as a result of melting ice caps and warmer oceans are not merely coincidental. They are increasing due to man’s reliance on fossil energy sources which are comprised of ancient plants and animals that have been long buried beneath layers of rock. The problem with this continued reliance is that the energy derived from decomposition is not self sustaining; it causes methane and CO2 gases to linger in our atmosphere creating a rise in air pollution and will eventually run out. This in turn poses nightmarish consequences on our food chain and ecosystems.
What’s It Costing Us?
Climate change, in addition to being a major inconvenience to life on earth, is also pretty expensive. With serious repercussions that have the potential to trickle down to middle and lower income communities, climate change is a cost we cannot afford.
In 2017, Northern California experienced some of the worst wildfires in recent history. A swath of fires swept over 170,000 acres -- nearly the size of New York City, displacing hundreds of thousands and claiming the lives of forty two civilians. How did these fires manage to get so out of control? While investigations are still pending on whether fires were started due to human activity or not, the weather for the fires is what is most startling. Strong, hot, and dry winds played a pivotal role in helping the fires to spread. Winds are normally blown into the region from the west -- bringing with it cool air from the Pacific Ocean. That did not happen this time around, yet it isn’t all that unusual for autumn in the region. What is unusual is the temperatures which gave power to the fires, thus increasing their intensity. This intensity did not come cheap, costing the area upwards of $3 billion. To put that figure into perspective, in 2015 the US Forest Service budgeted $1.7 billion to fight wildfires. That budget was easily surpassed this year.
Tropical Storm Harvey, which dumped record rainfall onto Houston and surrounding areas have estimates upwards of $180 billion in damage. The reason this figure is so high is due to the Texas Gulf Coast being a powerhouse which stimulates the national economy. It is home to some of the largest oil refineries and when these are shut down, millions of dollars are inevitably lost.
Every year, the United Nations convenes to discuss climate, hearing from delegates around the world. It will be a peculiar spot for the U.S. considering the report is in stark contrast to what some delegates may believe. One way the U.S. is taking a stand is through the many companies, cities and states that are determined to still uphold the defined terms of the Paris Climate Agreement, an agreement that outlines the work of all nations symbiotically coming together to cohesively tackle climate change.
Economically, the U.S. can benefit greatly from taking more seriously what is outlined in the Climate Science Specialty Report. There is significant opportunity to spur job growth through training in fast growing fields such as solar panel installation. In addition, construction jobs could benefit as companies look to restructure their organizations, making them more energy efficient. Overall, the new report only demonstrates what has become abundantly clear - climate change is real and it’s caused by us. The good news is we have the power to reverse, at least in some part, what we’ve already done.