We must act on climate change

Parkersburg News & Sentinel – Oct 21, 2018 Eric Engle

There are a few things I think everyone needs to know in lieu of Trump’s “60 Minutes” comments on climate change following the most recent IPCC report.

When you look at literature reviews by the likes of Dr. James Lawrence Powell, the global scientific consensus on the existence of anthropogenic (human-caused) global climate change is actually about 99.6 percent or a fraction of a percent less than 100 percent. Not to mention that the notorious “3 percent” have been thoroughly discredited by the likes of Dr. Katherine Hayhoe. So, in reality, the global scientific consensus is virtually 100 percent. We are as absolutely certain as you can scientifically be.

Even assuming just a 97 percent consensus with a credible 3 percent opposing (which is not the case) that’s still greater certainty than the one that exists in the medical community that smoking tobacco is harmful to human health.

There is no question that climate change is occurring, that we are causing it, that it is a dangerous and increasingly catastrophic threat with the possibility of becoming existential (aka we become extinct) in the next century or so, or that we must act right now. None of this is equivocal, none of this is debatable.

Trump says that climate change is occurring now instead of calling it a hoax (progress I suppose) but that “it’ll change back.” Well, that’s actually not entirely wrong. The earth will reach an equilibrium under a business as usual scenario, but that equilibrium point will be a state in which we cannot exist. We evolved along with countless other species in a sort of goldilocks geological epoch known as the Holocene. We have altered earth’s atmosphere and natural systems to the point where most geologists agree that we have changed that geological epoch to what is called the Anthropocene (Anthrop = Greek for Human — cene is from the Greek Kainos meaning “new” or “recent”). The Anthropocene, should we do nothing or fail to do enough, will be our demise.

We have to act, folks. And we have to start by electing candidates to become officeholders who will deal in reality and not deny climate change or water it down because their palms are greased by fossil fuels interests or they think a deity is going to handle this or something. Vote to save ourselves and our children and grandchildren this election cycle and next!

Eric Engle