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Early 2017: More climate change concerns:

Part 15:
The Climate Change debate itself is changing.
What if all the Earth's glaciers melted?
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This topic is continued from the previous essay

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Earth, floating 1

No. The world is not drowning.
This striking image is imaginary.

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The nature of the debate over global warming/climate is starting to change:

There have been two separate arguments on this topic that have been reported widely in the media in recent decades:

  1. Some argue whether global warming is actually happening or not.

  2. Others accept that it is real, but differ in their belief of whether global warming is caused by human activity or by some shift due to a natural cause or causes, or by both causes. Some attribute the temperature rise on Earth to an increase in the heat output of the Sun.

With temperature graphs like those shown on the preceding essay, it is becoming increasingly difficult to deny that a rapid and unprecedented temperature rise on Earth has been occurring since about 1970. More people now believe that global warming is definitely happening, even though President Trump has asserted multiple times that it is a hoax originating in China.

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As of early 2017:

  • NASA reported that:

    "Multiple studies published in peer-reviewed scientific journals show that 97 percent or more of actively publishing climate scientists agree: Climate-warming trends over the past century are extremely likely due to human activities. In addition, most of the leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position." 2

    However, polls by Pew Research show that political groups do not necessarily accept the existence this near consensus by climate scientists. Very few conservative Republicans accept that a consensus exists that climate change is happening because of human activity, while a much larger percentage of liberal Democrats do. 3

  • According to a mid-2016 U.S. polls by Pew Research, U.S. adults from different political groups hold widely divergent beliefs about climate change:  3
Political orientation
There is no evidence of climate change
Change is happening due to natural causes
Change is happening due to man-made causes
Conservative Republicans
36%
48%
15%
Other Republicans
19%
46%
34%
Moderate/Conservative Democrats
15%
22%
63%
Liberal Democrats
7%
14%
79%

In short:

  • Conservatives either believe that climate change is not happening or that it is happening and is caused by natural forces beyond our control.
  • Liberals believe that climate change is happening and that it is being caused by human actions.

In the future, we expect that:

  • A gradually increasing percentage of people world-wide will accept the reality of climate change, and

  • People who had believed that the change is due to natural cause(s) will increasingly blame it on human causes.

Recent global warming is not all caused by human activities.

James Hansen, former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has said:

"The record [high temperature during 2016] is due to a combination of the (natural) strong 2015-2016 El Niño (warming of the tropical Pacific Ocean surface) and the strong global warming trend that has continued from 1970 to the present. ... The human-caused, long-term warming trend is the bigger contributor."

El Niño is a cyclical weather fluctuation in the Pacific Ocean that repeats every two to seven years and has a major effect on the earth's climate:

 4

Michael Mann, director of the Earth Science Center at Pennsylvania State University said:

"[T]he spate of record-warm years that we have seen in the 21st century can only be explained by human-caused climate change.

The effect of human activity on our climate is no longer subtle. It's plain as day, as are the impacts -- in the form of record floods, droughts, superstorms and wildfires -- that it is having on us and our planet.

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Environmental Research Letters published a major report during 2013 that combined six independent studies of articles dealing with climate science. The six contributors all agreed that the belief that:

"... humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists." 5

On the other hand, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed in 2012, 2014, and 2016 that climate change was a hoax. On 2012-NOV-06, he tweeted:

"The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." More examples.

The only bright news for 2017 is that a new, all-time, record high average temperature will probably not occur this year. That is because El Niño is currently diminishing in strength and will have less effect during 2017 on world temperatures that it did during 2016.

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What would the Earth look like if all the land ice melted?

Enormous amounts of the Earth's water is frozen in the form of glaciers in Greenland, Antarctica, and elsewhere. If they were all to melt, the runoff would run raise sea levels around the world by about 66 meters (216 feet).

Fortunately, current estimates are that the sea level will rise by only one meter (3.2 feet) by the end of the present century. However, that will be enough to produce dangerous and damaging flooding in costal areas.

During 2013, National Geographic prepared an animated map showing what the Earth would look like if all the glaciers melted. Essentially all of Florida would vanish under water, as would many costal cities throughout the U.S. Many of the world's major cities would dissapear. The lake in central Australia would greatly enlarge. The Amazon river would widen greatly in South America. 6

6

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This topic continues in the next essay

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References used:

The following information source was used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlink is not necessarily still active today.

  1. Image by Geralt. Downloaded from www.pixabay.com.
  2. "Scientific consensus: Earth's climate is warming," NASA, 2017-MAR-27, at: https://climate.nasa.gov/
  3. Cary Funk & Brian Kennedy, "Public views on climate change and climate scientists," Pew Research, 2016-OCT-04, at: http://www.pewinternet.org/
  4. "El Niño 101, National Geographic, at: http://video.nationalgeographic.com/
  5. John Cook, et al., "Consensus on consensus: a synthesis of consensus estimates on human-caused global warming," Environmental Research Letters, Volume 11, Number 4. at: http://iopscience.iop.org/
  6. "Animated map of what Earth would look like if all the ice melted," Business Insider, 2017-APR-22, at: http://www.businessinsider.com/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2017-APR-02
Latest update: 2017-APR-30
Author: B.A. Robinson


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