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Religious Tolerance logo

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 had 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 in nature. Some attribute the temperature rise on Earth to an increase in the heat output of the Sun.

With temperature graphs like those shown in Part 13 and Part 14 of this series of reports, 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 Democrats
15%
22%
63%
Liberal Democrats
7%
14%
79%

In short:

  • The vast majority of political 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 accept that it is being caused by human activity.

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star symbol Temperature predictions for the year 2100:

The British Broadcasting Commission (BBC) published a "Climate Action Tracker" prepared by Climate Analytics, ECOFYS, New Climate Institute, and Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.  7 They show three estimates for the average temperature increase on Earth between pre-industrial levels and the end of this century:

  • If countries take no action to reduce reduce climate change: a 4.5°Celsius / 8.1°Fahrenheit temperature rise.

  • If countries maintain their current policies: a 3.6°Celsius / 6.5°Fahrenheit temperature rise.

  • If countries comply with their Paris Climate Change Conference pledges: a 2.7°Celsius / 4.9°Fahrenheit temperature rise.

The BBC stated that:

"Scientists have determined that if temperature rises surpass 2°C [3.6°F], this will lead to substantial and dangerous climate impacts, which will hit the world's poor in particular." 7

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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 sources note 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., Europe, and the rest of the world. Cuba would divide into two islands. Many of the world's major cities would also dissapear. Lake Eyre in South Australia which is currently two small lakes would greatly enlarge and form a large lake in the middle of the contry. The Amazon river would widen greatly in South America. 6

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This topic continues in the next essay

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Some more environment/climate change articles that may be of interest to you:

  • Part 1: 2013: Quotes. Background. Bay of Bengal incident. Decline in Canada's arctic ice cover.

  • Part 2: 2013/2014: Canada loses its seasons. 316 North American cities to be under water.

  • Part 3: 2013/2014: Christians, Republicans' & Democrats' beliefs differ. Volcanoes cause pauses in global warming. Americans' views on climate change.

  • Part 4: 2014/2015: How Americans viewed climate change. HFC limits. Groups abandoning ALEC. Paris Conference reaches agreement.

  • Part 5: 2016-FEB to AUG: Climate change concerns: Ocean levels rising. Displacement of animal species. Greenland glacier melting. "Third Pole" glaciers melting.

  • Part 6: 2016-SEP: Flooding on the U.S. East coast. U.S. and China ratify the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement. Pres. Obama: trends are "terrifying."

  • Part 7: 2016-SEP: Obama comments on warming (Continued). 31 countries ratify Paris agreement. Trump zigzags on Climate Change.

  • Part 8: 2016-Summer/Fall: Events showing that climate change is adversely affecting life on Earth

  • Part 9: 2016-OCT: Did God send Hurricane Matthew as an anti-LGBT message to humanity? Alternate opinions. Hurricane Matthew re-enters Atlantic Ocean.

  • Part 10: 2016-NOV: U.S. Costal real estate threatened. Rapid temperature rise in the Arctic. Very large poll about climate change.

  • Part 11: 2016-DEC: President-elect Trump's climate change beliefs. New heads of federal government departments. Extinction of 11 species.

  • Part 12: 2016-DEC: President-elect Trump's 16 promised plans on energy and the environment.

  • Part 13: star 2017-JAN: 2016 Was The Hottest Year On Record, Ever.

  • Part 14: star 2017-JAN: Recent climate change measurements.


  • Part 16: 2017-JAN to APR: Donald Trump Becomes President. EPA Foe Installed as Head of EPA! Hundreds Die During Flood in Columbia. Carbon Dioxide
    in Atmosphere Reaches New High.


  • Part 17: 2017-JAN to APR: Studies of the effects of sea-level rise in California between now and the year 2100.
  • Part 18: President Trump Severs the U.S. from the Paris Accord.U.S. and World Leaders React.
  • Part 19: star More Reactions to the U.S. Withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Record high temperatures in San Francisco and elsewhere.
  • Part 20: star2017: Group of 20 summit meeting. Hurricane Harvey attacks Texas.Is climate change increasing the severity or frequency of hurricanes?

  • Part 21: Can government regulations help? Is Harvey a message from God? U.S. record high temperatures. Hurricane Harvey attacks Texas.
    Hurricane Irma attacks Caribbean, FL, SC. GA.

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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/
  7. Nassos Stylianou, et al., "Six graphics that explain climate change," BBC, 2017, at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/

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Copyright © 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2017-APR-02
Latest update: 2017-AUG-31
Author: B.A. Robinson


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