The report that emerged last week from 13 federal agencies specifying the dangerous changes in the world’s climate must be ratified, emphasized and – above all else – acted upon.
To do otherwise is irresponsible and inconceivable. How could anyone of reasonable intellect dispute the collection of data from the U.S. Global Change Program and refute the primary conclusion of that report:
“If carbon pollution continues unabated, temperatures are projected to rise another 4.83 degrees by mid-century and 8.72 degrees by the end of the century, or a few degrees less if emissions are cut somewhat.”
Those are projected national averages from trends of the past four decades. In our region, the report says, the increased temperature would be slightly less, at 7.72, with the potential to “reduce” the increase to about 4.43 degrees by late century if we reduce emissions.
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Think about that. If you are a child entering first grade this fall in North Carolina, your final days could be nearly 8 degrees warmer on average than they are now. Unless your parents do something to abate these trends.
But will we? We appear so wedded to fossil fuels that we can’t stop the slow burn.
This report, which has not been released formally by the Trump administration, contradicts its recent decision to withdraw from the Paris Climate Accord, the plan designed to attack these problems globally for the best interests of mankind.
We don’t know when the issue of climate change became a political tornado. Perhaps it was early in this century, when former Vice President Al Gore emerged as chief tout for the science of carbon-fueled elevation of ocean temperatures.
His “Inconvenient Truth” opened eyes and advanced discussions, but it also apparently became a storm front for debate because of its inherent suggestion that native industry must change and technology evolve to counteract and ultimately reverse these obvious trends.
But why the politics? Why can’t both political parties reinforce the obvious? This science – as the new report details – is irrefutable, and a politically pushed ostrich soon will find the sand around its head ever damper.
That President Trump has suggested climate change is a ruse created by China to advance its industrial superiority, and that he named Scott Pruitt, a long-standing pawn for the fossil-fuel industry, as head of the Environmental Protection Agency displays to us a flagrant disregard for the well-being of our planet and for future generations who must deal with these changes.
Neither Trump nor Pruitt will be around when that first-grader ages to debate what caused more-violent storms, the loss of coastline and the decline of food supplies because of extreme weather conditions.
But we are cheered to see that government scientists aren’t deterred from explaining the conditions we are facing and will endure and why it is happening.
We understand we can’t convene logical thinking on many issues because of political storms, but the cloudy skies of our environment and the ultimate endurance of our planet require rising above all that.