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Timeline of recent environmental concerns

Part 1: 2012-2013: Quotes. Background.
New varieties of vegetables in Cuba.
Bay of Bengal incident.
Canada's arctic ice cover shrinks.

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Conflicting quotations:

  • "... in my humble opinion, folks, if you believe in God, then intellectually you cannot believe in man-made global warming." Rush Limbaugh. 1

  • "In the judgment of most climate scientists, Earth’s warming in recent decades has been caused primarily by human activities that have increased the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere." US National Academy of Sciences. 2 (By 2013, "most climate scientists" had become "97% of climate scientists.")

  • "The concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive." Tweet by Donald Trump (2012) 8

  • "Snowing in Texas and Louisiana, record setting freezing temperatures throughout the country and beyond. Global warming is an expensive hoax!" Tweet by Donald Drump (2014) 8

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Background:

There is a very strong and well financed climate change denial movement, particularly in North America. Some of their efforts are directed at denying that climate change is actually happening; the rest admits that climate change is a reality but denies that human factors are causing it. Countering this are many findings of climate researchers who are measuring hard data related to ongoing climate change worldwide.

The results of a survey of almost 12,000 abstracts of peer-reviewed scientific papers papers on global warming was published in 2013-JAN. 3 Jason Samenow reported:

"... there is strong scientific consensus that human activities are causing the planet to warm.  97 percent of those scientific papers that take a stance on the issue agree." 4

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A slightly deceptive T-shirt design:

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Actually, the T-shirt should say that 97% of scientific articles on climate change that mention its cause agree that it is primarily caused by human activity.

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2012-JUN: New varieties of climate-resistant vegetables are being developed in Cuba:

During 2009, the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) forecasted a relatively mild impact on climate across the region due to global warming by 2020. However, they predict a particularly acute impact in the second half of the century.

Some of the changes expected due to global warming are more forest fires, floods, droughts, and more intense storms and hurricanes. Developing countries and island nations like Cuba will have to adapt to climate change. One response is in the development of new varieties of resistant vegetables. They are being grown by researchers in Cuba, who for decades have been working to design plants adapted to the tropical conditions in the Caribbean region.

Laura Muñoz, heads a crop improvement team in the “Alejandro de Humboldt” National Institute for Basic Research in Tropical Agriculture (INIFAT). She said:

"We are now focused on trying to develop new varieties, with a view to climate change."

Her team has identified:

"Five annual planting seasons, with different conditions, .... [a finding that] did a great deal to improve understanding of the climate problem.”

Today, they are studying more than 30 species of vegetables, to develop resistant varieties. These include tomatoes, peppers, onions, garlic and cucumber -- some of the most widely consumed vegetables in Cuba. Others are melons, watermelons, carrots, beans, aubergine and lettuce. Developing a resistent variety can take from five to 15 years.

Nelson Companioni, the national executive secretary of agriculture in Cuba said that current varieties of crops:

"... were adapted to periods when it didn’t rain and relative humidity was low. [They] are now facing the opposite conditions. So they are attacked by fungal diseases, caused mainly by excess moisture."

Their goal is to achieve:

"an adequate web of crop varieties and livestock breeds, and methods adapted to each territory, taking water availability into account." 9

 

2013-APR: Results of a public opinion poll:

The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication has conducted eight surveys of public opinion about climate change and global warming since late 2008. During 2013-APR, they surveyed 1045 randomly selected American adults. The margin of error is ~+mn~3 percentage points. They found:

  • 63% of those sampled believe that global warming is happening; 16% deny it.

  • 49% believe that if global warming is happening, it is caused by mostly human activities.

  • 42% believe that "most scientists think global warming is happening;" 33% believe that there is widespread disagreement among scientists about the reality of warming.

  • 51% say they are "somewhat" or "very worried" about global warming.

  • 55% believe that global warming is a threat to persons in developing countries.

  • 38% believe that people around the world are being harmed by climate change.

  • 34% believe that fellow Americans are being harmed.

  • 63% believe that global warming will negatively affect future generations of humans.

Their report concluded:

"Over many years of research, we have consistently found that, on average, Americans view climate change as a threat distant in space and time -– a risk that will affect far away places, other species, or future generations more than people here and now." 5

One cause of the sluggishness of the public to demand action is found in our brain circuitry. Over most of the history of the human race, people's brains have tended to react instantly to immediate threats. However, they tend to pay much less attention to future, slowly approaching threats. Today, this response may result in a major catastrophe.

Of particular concern to researchers are the data that show the existence of what are called "positive feedback loops." This is a phenomenon in which a change in the environment will produce some effect, which will in turn feed back to magnify the rate of increase of the original change. For example:

  1. Warming in the polar regions is reducting the extent of Arctic sea ice.

  2. Less sea ice increases the area of open water in the Arctic.

  3. More open water adsorbs increasing amounts of heat from the sun.

  4. Back to step 1 and repeat endlessly until all of the ice has melted.

A second positive feedback loop also occurrs in the Artcic:

  1. Warming in the polar regions is melting wide areas of permafrost. This term refers to areas of the surface of the Earth that are normally frozen year around.

  2. Melting permafrost releases gasses such as methane into the atmosphere that had been previously trapped.

  3. Methane intensifies the atmosphere's greenhouse effect which causes the atmosphere to retain more of the Sun's heat.

  4. Back to step 1 and repeat endlessly until all of the permafrost has been eliminated.

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Climate change solves an international conflict in the Bay of Bengal:

From about 1980 to 2010, India and Bangladesh had been in conflict over the control of a tiny rock island in the Bay of Bengal. It is called New Moore Island by India and South Talpatti by Bangladesh. It is one of the Sunderbans chain of islands.

In the decades before the year 2000, the sea level in the Bay had been rising about 3 millimeters (0.12 inches) a year. During the first decade of the 21st century, the rate of rise has been accelerating and has reached about 5 millimeters (0.3 inches) a year. Scientists attribute this increased rate to two causes:

  • Climate change is warming the earth generally. This causes glaciers in Greenland, the Antarctic, and elsewhere to melt more rapidly, pouring water into the oceans and increasing the ocean level directly.

  • A warming Earth also warms up the oceans which makes the ocean water expand, further increasing the ocean level.

This increase in ocean level has caused New Moore Island in the Bay of Bengal to be completely submerged. For a while, will be a shipping hazard. However. it is no longer an island.

Sugata Hazra, a professor at Jadavpur University in Calcutta commented:

"What these two countries could not achieve from years of talking, has been resolved by global warming."

He noted that Lohachara island in the same chain became completely submerged in 1996, forcing its residents to move to the mainland. Also about half of the land area of Ghoramara Island is currently underwater. Ten or more other islands in the area are at risk.

Hazara said:

"We will have ever larger numbers of people displaced from the Sunderbans as more island areas come under water."

Some mathematical models predict that sea levels worldwide will rise about 1 meter (3.3 feet) by the year 2050. This would submerge about 18% of Bangladesh's costal area under water and displace about 20 million people who will become climate refugees! 6

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1978 to 2013: A graph by the National Snow and Ice Data Center shows conclusive decline in Arctic sea ice extent:

Arctic Sea Ice extent 3

The blue line shows a linear decline in area of 2.9 percent per decade. As noted in the Background topic above, this rate will probably accelerate in the future.

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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 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 15: star 2017-JAN to APR: Climate Change beliefs are changing; more people accept it as real, and are now debating its cause.

  • Part 16: 2017-JAN to APR: Donald Trump Becomes President. EPA Foe Installed as Head of EPA! Hundreds Die During Flood in Colombia. 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: star 2017: Group of 20 summit meeting Record high temperatures in San Francisco and elsewhere. Hurricane Harvey in Texas.

  • 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.


  • Part 22: 2017-SEP/OCT: The most expensive recent hurricanes to attack the United States.Does God use Hurricanes to send a message? Conflicts; climate change causes rise in hunger.

  • Part 23: All UN states have signed the Paris Agreement. Government report contradicts the President. Comment by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

  • Part 24: 2017-OCT to 2018: Sea levels rising. Insonesia suffers badly. Age differences: beliefs on climate change. Proposed Mount Trumpmore project. How global warming is affecting California. Animal, Insect, & Bird Ranges Shrink. Hurricanes slowing as winds increase.

  • Part 25: 2018-JUN to now: A very few encouraging signs. Hurricanes slowing as winds increase. Changes in Antarctic ice and environment. Norway's growing season increased. New highest temperatures.

  • Part 26: 2018-JUL: Another new highest temperature. New York City reports to the UN. Impacts of humans burning up all our fossil energy.
    WWW.CLIMATECENTRAL.ORG's tools. Death Valley, CA, sets new record. Dissapearing wetlands in Louisiana. Climate change affecting Northern lands.

  • Part 27: 2018-AUG & SEP: Disappearing wetlands in Louisiana Climate change affecting Northern countries. Hurricane Florence hits the Carolinas.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. David Edwards, "Limbaugh: Christians ‘cannot believe in manmade global warming," Raw Story, 2013-AUG-12, at: http://www.rawstory.com/
  2. "Understanding and Responding to Climate Change," US National Research Council, 2008, at: http://dels.nas.edu
  3. Stephen Leahy, "Canada losing its seasons," Inter Press Service, 2013-MAR-11, at: http://www.ipsnews.net/
  4. Jason Samenow, "97 percent of scientific studies agree on manmade global warming, so what now?," Washington Post, 2013-MAY-17, at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/
  5. Anthony Leiserowitz, et. al, "Climate Change in the American Mind," Center for Climate Change Communication (CCCC; 4C), 2013-APR, at http://environment.yale.edu/
  6. "New Moore Island DISAPPEARS into the sea," Huffington Post, 2010-MAR-24, at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/
  7. John Cook, et. al, "Quantifying the consensus on anthropogenic global warming in the scientific literature," Environmental Research Letters, Volume 8, #2, 2013-MAY-15, at: http://iopscience.iop.org/
  8. Daniel Dale, "Donald Trump said 34 false things at first presidential debate," Toronto Star, 2016-SEP-27, at: https://www.thestar.com/
  9. Ivet González, "Cuba Develops Crops Adapted to Climate Change," Inter Press Service News Agency, 2912-JUL-12, at: http://www.ipsnews.net/

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Copyright © 2013 to 2018 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2013-MAR-15
Latest update: 2018-JUL-12
Author: B.A. Robinson


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