On the weekend I was asked an interesting question, to which I believe I answered fairly well considering the drunkin state I was in. However, and I guess unsurprisingly, I didn't manage to change the askers opinion and the question continued to bother me the next day. The question was “Do you believe in global warming?”.
The more I thought about this question the more I realised how wrong it was, the question itself points out how people have formed their opinion of such a major global issue. First off global warming, and as a result climate change, is not an issue of 'belief', its science not a religion.
As climate change is a science, there are a lot of scientists and scientific institutions researching it. The majority of their findings confirm that global warming and climate change is occurring more rapidly, and that it is being caused by human activity. According to a recent report the majority of the small minority of scientists and spokespeople that still dispute these findings have their research backed and funded by corporations that have great interests in creating an illusion that everything is fine in order to continue with business as usual.
Because of where I get my news and the people I generally engage with I was thinking this was all now common knowledge and widely accepted.
So for those that haven't been following the news and changes in scientific findings let's go over some of the most recent commentary on the matter:
A video for those who don't like to read ;)
26 January 2013: Nicholas Stern: 'I got it wrong on climate change – it's far, far worse'
Lord Stern, author of the government-commissioned review on climate change that became the reference work for politicians and green campaigners, now says he underestimated the risks, and should have been more "blunt" about the threat posed to the economy by rising temperatures.
16 May 2013: Climate research nearly unanimous on human causes, survey finds
“Of more than 4,000 academic papers published over 20 years, 97.1% agreed that climate change is anthropogenic”
2 August 2013: Rise in violence 'linked to climate change'
The scientists say that with the current projected levels of climate change the world is likely to become a more violent place.
13/04/2013: Sceptic's ire amuses, but views retain sting
Lord Monckton has been on a talking tour in New Zealand during the past week, casting doubt on climate change and arguing against mitigation measures. He has risen to prominence for his outspoken climate change scepticism. He has been accused by scientists of "misrepresenting science". He has no qualifications specifically relating to climate science.
While it was easy to dismiss Lord Monckton's views, it was more difficult to dismiss the damage they caused,
July 17, 2013: Climate Change 'Climate of Fear': Reporter Blows Whistle on Reuters
In an email to Climate Progress, Fogarty explained he wrote the public statement to
highlight the troubling and puzzling decline in reporting on climate and environment issues by Reuters. The company had a great team of dedicated climate and environment reporters and Reuters earned a well-deserved reputation for objective and thorough reporting in this field. But over a very short space of time, the support and resources for reporting the climate and environment story were withdrawn.
Fogarty's revelations come amidst growing concerns that big media is turning away from the climate crisis as it grows increasingly severe.
In January, the New York Times closed its entire environment reporting desk and slashed positions, despite public outcry. In March, the New York Times shut down its "Green Blog" after four years, prompting opposition from within NYT staff.
September 6, 2013: Pacific islands hope to convince world to move on climate change
“We want to change the notion that this is a problem that is 100 years down the line,” said Tony de Brum. “It’s not. It’s happening now.”
Sep 08, 2013: Pacific climate change pact wins US support
US Interior Secretary Sally Jewell announced during the session a new climate change fund for Pacific islands vulnerable to rising sea levels.
"Climate change is the defining challenge of our time," she said in launching the Pacific-American fund.
2013-07-31: Spending surge for renewables (China)
China invests nearly $300 billion in renewables, part of plan to deal with climate change.
"Companies can make profits and protect the environment at the same time through responsible investments and production,"
30 July 2013: America's first climate change refugees: Hundreds forced to flee their Alaskan village before it disappears underwater within a decade
Temperatures in the Arctic region of Alaska are warming twice as fast as the rest of the U.S, causing ice to retreat, sea levels to rise and coastal erosion to increase.
When President Obama promised to take measures to combat climate change it provoked strong opposition.
But those campaigning to highlight the issues of global warming will show the cynics how, through Kivalina, it is happening in their own country.
I'm no scientist and my opinions could easily be labelled as biased, but I do strongly believe we're not doing enough to get people (our leaders especially) to start thinking about these issues and deal with them in constructive ways. Regardless of your political standing this will soon be something that will no longer be ignorable.