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Climate change, global warming,
and other environmental concerns:

Is the world heating up? What is
the cause? How will it affect us?
Can we stop it, or at least slow it down?

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The circle of life

Cartoon indicating pollution 1

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Best climate change tweet ever:

@Scott Westerfeld: "Plot idea: 97% of the world's scientists contrive an environmental crisis, but are exposed by a plucky band of billionaires & oil companies."

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Quotation:

Gus Speth is an environmental lawyer and advocate, a professor at Vermont Law School and a Distinguished Senior Fellow at Demos, a nonpartisan public policy research and advocacy organization. He said:

    "I used to think the top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science, we could address those problems.

    But I was wrong.

    The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy. To deal with those, we need a spiritual and cultural transformation, and we scientists don't know how to do that."

Webmaster's opinion:

With respect, this webmaster disagrees. I agree that "selfishness, greed, and apathy" are still major problems to be overcome to prevent future environmental catastrophes, However, I see are other major factors. One is the widespread denial of many observations and conclusions of scientists on a range of topics by many present-day religious and political conservatives.

Since the time of Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), science and religion have largely been seen as enemies by huge swaths of the population. Many Christians deny the existence of climate change and global warming because they disagree with their interpretation of the Bible -- just as they deny the evolution of the species, the nature of sexual orientation, gender identity, the status of women, etc.

Another major factor inhibiting progress is the ease with which lawmakers' votes can be purchased at the state and federal level.

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About the author of many essays in this section:

Vladimir F.J. Tomek (1922-2012) donated many of the essays in this section. He was concerned that "we are sleepwalking into an ecological disaster." He graduated from Charles' University in Prague as a 'Doctor of natural science' (chemistry and physics) in 1947. After a most eventful life, he settled in Ireland during 1968. He wrote many papers and essays on the topics of religion and the environment, and generously donated many of them to be added to this web site. Six years have passed since he died, and his vision of our march towards "ecological disaster" continues around the world as he predicted.

What the vast majority of climate scientists believe is the main cause of global warming:

It is the increasing concentration of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) in the Atmosphere:

The graph below shows the level of CO2 in the atmosphere during the past six decades. The measurements were taken at the "top of the world's largest mountain in the middle of the world's largest ocean" -- at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii -- the "Big Island." Each data point is the CO2 value averaged over one year. Data is shown over the past six decades. The CO2 level broke through the 350 ppm (parts per million) value during the late 1980's and through 400 ppm circa 2013. Both the level and the rate of change of the level is obviously increasing year by year.

In comparison, the level of CO2 was about 280 ppm (parts per million) during the pre-industrial age. Ancient values were measured using atmospheric air bubbles trapped centuries ago in Antarctic ice sheets.

Atmospheric CO2 4

Carbon Dioxide is not the most common greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Other significant greenhouse gasses in the atmosphere are Methane (CH4) and Nitrous Oxide (N20). 5 However, CO2 has the greatest effect of all three gasses at their current levels in terms of its effect on global warming at the earth's surface.

There are three main methods by which the concentration of CO2 could be reduced:

  • Replace coal and oil-based electrical generation facilities with solar, wind, and nuclear fueled generators.

  • Replace gas and diesel-powered vehicles with electrically-powered vehicles.

  • Reduce the rate of destruction of forests worldwide, and plant new forests. Trees and plants convert Carbon Dioxide [CO2] to Oxygen [O2]. "On average, one tree produces nearly 260 pounds of oxygen each year. Two mature trees can provide enough oxygen for a family of four." 4

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An example of a past major climate change:

About 66 million years ago, the dominant life forms on Earth were some species of land-based dinosaurs. A large asteroid or comet about 10 to 15 kilometers (6.2 to 9.3 miles) in diameter hit the Earth near the town of Chicxulub in Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula. It formed an impact crater over 150 kilometers (93 miles) in diameter and 20 km (12 miles) in depth. The energy of the impact was equal to about 10 billion Hiroshima A-bombs!

This would have destroyed massive amounts of carbonate rocks, producing huge amounts of carbon dioxide which would have created a greenhouse effect. Also, the dust particles in the atmosphere produced by pulverized rock would have blocked the sun temporarily, producing a cooling effect. The end result was the Cretaceous–Paleocene massive extinction event, during which three-quarters of the plant and animal species on Earth became extinct, including all of the land-based dinosaurs. The vast majority of mammals were wiped out, leaving only small species -- cat-sized and smaller -- from whom humans eventually evolved. An article in the A Register, a UK news source for the technical community, commented that although only:

"... four species were found to have survived, the fossil records are limited. It is possible that hundreds of mammal species survived the impact event, but not all of them would have made it through the aftermath. ..." 8

"Today, some of the largest and most intelligent animals on earth are mammals – including blue whales, primates and elephants."

Webmaster's remark: (cynic warning)

Some would consider the inclusion of all primates as among the "most intelligent animals on earth" to be a strange comment. After all, homo sapiens are primates.

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What Climate Central predicts will be:

The number of really hot days in U.S. cities in the near future:

  6

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Topics covered in this section:

Climate change & other environmental concerns:

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  • Recent environmental concerns, events and developments:
    • 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 (Con't). 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 Debate is Changing. What if All the Earth's Glaciers Melted?

    • 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: Studies of the Effects of Sea-level Rise in California between Now and the Year 2100.

    • Part 18: star President Trump Decided that the U.S. Will Quit the Paris Agreement. Explosive Reactions to his Plan, nationally and globally.

    • Part 19: star More Reactions to the U.S. Withdraw from the Paris Agreement. Record high temperatures in San Francisco and elsewhere.

    • Part 20: 2017-AUG/SEP : Group of 20 summit meeting, Hurricane Harvey attacks Texas. Is climate change increasing the severity or frequency of hurricanes?

    • Part 21: star 2017-SEP: 2017-SEP: Can government regulations help? U.S. record high temperatures. Did God send Hurricane Harvey to attack TX?. Hurricane Irma attacks Caribbean, FL, SC, GA. Hurricanes Jose & Maria.

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

    • Part 23: star 2017-OCT to 2017-DEC: All UN states have signed the Paris Agreement. Government report contradicts the President. Comment by the Union of Concerned Scientists.

    • Part 24: star 2018-JAN to MAY: The year 2017 was one of the hottest on record. New temperature records in Toronto. President signs bill increasing research."Onion's" amusing fake news. Sea levels rising; cities under water. Climate change beliefs as function of age. Proposed Mount Trumpmore project. How global warming is affecting California. Animal, Insect, & Bird Ranges Shrink. Nutrients in rice reduced. California Governor's comments

    • Part 25: star 2018-JUN & JUL: A very few encouraging signs. Hurricanes slowing as winds increase. Changes in Antarctic ice and environment. Norway's growing season increased. New highest temperatures in Africa. Future ocean level, if we keep burning fossil fuels at a high rate.

    • Part 26: star 2018-JULY: 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. Hurricane Florence.

    • Part 27: star 2018-AUG & SEP: Dissapearing wetlands in Louisiana. Climate change affecting Northern countries. Pat Robinson's "Shield of Protection" doesn't work.

    • Part 28: star 2018-SEP & OCT: Hurricane Florence hits the Carolinas. Impact of climate change on women. World Green Building Council activities. New IPCC report predicts a "Strong Risk of Crisis as early as 2040. Climate change affecting the onset of Fall.

  • Depletion of the Ozone Layer and the Montreal Protocol to ban CFCs

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Sponsored link:

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An important book on climate change:

book cover"The Great Derangement: Climate Change and the Unthinkable," (Berlin Family Lectures) by Amitav Ghosh

Read reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book store.
$
18.24 plus postage in Paperback, $11.50 in Kindle format, or $24.17 in hardcover.

This was our book recommendation for 2017-October.

Amazon.com book review:

"Are we deranged? The acclaimed Indian novelist Amitav Ghosh argues that future generations may well think so. How else to explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In his first major book of nonfiction since In an Antique Land, Ghosh examines our inability—at the level of literature, history, and politics—to grasp the scale and violence of climate change.

The extreme nature of today’s climate events, Ghosh asserts, make them peculiarly resistant to contemporary modes of thinking and imagining. This is particularly true of serious literary fiction: hundred-year storms and freakish tornadoes simply feel too improbable for the novel; they are automatically consigned to other genres. In the writing of history, too, the climate crisis has sometimes led to gross simplifications; Ghosh shows that the history of the carbon economy is a tangled global story with many contradictory and counterintuitive elements.

Ghosh ends by suggesting that politics, much like literature, has become a matter of personal moral reckoning rather than an arena of collective action. But to limit fiction and politics to individual moral adventure comes at a great cost. The climate crisis asks us to imagine other forms of human existence—a task to which fiction, Ghosh argues, is the best suited of all cultural forms. His book serves as a great writer’s summons to confront the most urgent task of our time."

Average rating in reviews by Amazon customers: 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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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. We have been unable to read the source information of this image from its upper right corner. If you created this image, please let us know so that we can either credit you or remove it. Your choice.
  2. J. Hansen, et al., "Climate Impact of Increasing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide," Science, 213, 957-966, doi:10.1126/science.213.4511.957, 1981-AUG-28, at: http://pubs.giss.nasa.gov/ This is a PDF file.
  3. "World scientists' warning to humanity," Union of Concerned Scientists, 1992-NOV-18, at: http://www.ucsusa.org/
  4. "KC Monthly CO2 Widget," Show-earth. The widget updates monthly and was obtained from https://www.show.earth/
  5. "What are the greenhouse gas changes since the Industrial Revolution?," American Chemical Society, 2017, at: https://www.acs.org/
  6. "More Hot Days Are Coming With Climate Change. Our Choices Will Decide How Many," Climate Central, 2017-AUG-03, at: http://www.climatecentral.org/
  7. Kniva "How much Oxygen does one tree produce?," Emaze, 2015-MAR-25, at: https://www.emaze.com/
  8. Katyanna Quach, "You lucky creatures! Mammals only JUUUST survived asteroid that killed dinosaurs," The A register, 2016-JUN-20, at: https://www.theregister.co.uk

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Copyright 2006 to 2017 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally posted: 2006-JUL-02
Latest update: 2018-OCT-01
Author: B.A. Robinson

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