Another recent letter to the editor cast doubts on human-caused global climate change and what its future effects will likely be. Incredibly, there is still debate about something that has been scientifically accepted by U.S. federal agencies and most climate scientists on earth.
It’s not about today’s local weather. It’s about historical evidence of global temperature change. Evidence from particulates and gases trapped in ice and geologic cores that dates back hundreds, even millions of years. Evidence from satellite data, radiosondes, glacial and sea ice melt, sea level rise, permafrost melt, and proxy reconstructions. And record levels of unprecedented greenhouse gas emissions in the last century.
So the question is, what is the purpose of climate change denial? Unfortunately it boils down to economics. The strongest denials come from dirty industry and the politicians they fund. Profit loss by dirty industry is spun into job loss by their proxy politicians.
But the truth is, the increased number of extreme weather events alone are causing at least $1 billion annually in economic losses, an increase in 400 percent since the 1980s. Hurricanes in 2017 cost the United States $265 billion alone (NOAA). The U.S. National Climate Assessment predicts the U.S. economy will shrink by as much as 10 percent by the end of the century if global warming continues.
But economics doesn’t address the human suffering and loss of life caused by extreme weather events, air and water pollution and sea level rise.
So what do we do? Making hard choices is challenging, but ultimately we have to decide if selfish short term unsustainable economic gain is worth denying a long-term future for ourselves and our children. The choice seems obvious.
Arizona Daily Sun March 25, 2019