Global Warming, Climate Change, by whichever name; among scientists studying the EarthÂ’s warming climate, the Â“debateÂ” has been over for yearsÂ… itÂ’s there and itÂ’s ours.Â The ongoing noise about whether climate change (the term climate scientistsÂ’ use instead of the newsiesÂ’ more provocative Â“global warmingÂ”) is real, and whether if it is real, itÂ’s anthropogenic, is strictly a political and not a scientific discussion. Â That discussion for climate scientists is, in the words of Shakespeare, Â“Sound and fury, signifying nothing.Â”
The East Coast of the USA has been pummeled by blizzards of late, prompting derision of climate change in the public discourse, but those events simply reflect the variability of the seasonÂ… and the effects of climate change.Â Warmth increases atmospheric moisture, and in the cold of winter increased moisture means more snow.
Recently published information has shown that, not only does climate change exist, the pace is quickening.Â Worldwide, the first decade of the 21<sup>st</sup> century was the warmest on record. The year 2010, which should have been a cool year because of a strong summer La Nina, is in a statistical tie for the warmest year since record-keeping began... and that year was 2005.
The Arctic sea-ice coverage, both in area and in age, is trending toward summer zero.Â The North Atlantic has warmed 3.5 degrees F in the past century, a result of Arctic temperature amplification, and Â“Air temperatures in Greenland have risen roughly 7 degrees F in the past several decades,Â” according to scientists.Â Global warming hockey stick graphs are back in fashion.
This rapid and recent rise in global temperature is driven by a thirty percent increase in CO2, a process that normally takes thousands of years, but has now occurred within the last hundred years. Climate modeling and statistical analysis show that the rise in temperature over the past couple of hundred years coincides with a rise in human activities that produce statistically significant increases in carbon dioxide (CO2).Â The industrial revolution was built on the back of Â“fossil fuels.Â”
Fossil fuel, as its name implies, is fuel made from ancient life. The Â‘fossilizationÂ’ of organic material reduces it to its most basic elementÂ… carbon. Burning fossil fuels doesnÂ’t destroy carbon, itÂ’s a chemical change that releases carbon in staggering amounts, in the form of CO2. The reality is that CO2 is the greenhouse gas that provides global warming its greatest impetus, making an immediate decrease in the amount of CO2 pumped into the atmosphere of paramount importanceÂ… a most costly business.
And there it stands.Â Science drives the climate change/global warming advocates who would see the basis of industry and transportation change from carbon-based fossil fuels immediately.Â Money drives the denialist movement, because money depends on slow and incremental change that produces increases in production and decreases in costÂ… something a rapid change in the fuels of industry can never do.