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Scientists: global climate change really is all your fault

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
August 6th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A prominent body of scientists have placed the blame for global climate change squarely at the feet of humanity. The American Geophysical Union, a body of more than 62,000 scientists, made the announcement on Monday.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - "Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the last 50 years," the declaration reads. According to the body of 62,000 scientists, humans are responsible for the 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit of warming humans have observed over the past 140 years.

That means global climate change really is all your fault.

The American Geophysical Union, despite its name, has scientists from 144 countries who are represented by a 15-member council. That council issued Monday's statement which concludes more definitively than ever before, humans are responsible for global climate change.

"Human activities are changing Earth's climate," the statement declares. It continues, "extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming." The statement explains that warmer air and sea temperatures as well as melting glaciers and sea-level rise were evidence of the change.

"Extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming," declares the statement. These observations show large-scale increases in air and sea temperatures, sea level, and atmospheric water vapor; they document decreases in the extent of mountain glaciers, snow cover, permafrost, and Arctic sea ice. These changes are broadly consistent with long understood physics and predictions of how the climate system is expected to respond to human-caused increases in greenhouse gases."

For anyone who might suggest natural causes, the statement adds, "the changes are inconsistent with
explanations of climate change that rely on known natural influences."

The AGU is clear. Humans are responsible, and this appears to be the consensus view of the vast majority of their 62,000 members. 

The statement reinforces, "Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes."

Interestingly, the statement concludes with a call for more research, "Improvements will come from pursuing the research needed to understand climate change."

Despite the strong call to alarm, scientists have recently made headlines by expressing dissent and noting that earlier, alarmist goals, are being missed. This does not mean that the climate is not changing --it is, even skeptics will agree. The problem is that climate is very complex and the changes are not well understood. Climate is also very dynamic and is rarely steady for extended periods. The planet warms and cools and some areas fare better than others.

The degree of blame that humans face is also subject to debate. There is little question that humans are polluting the planet and one has only to look at air quality in China to see the harms of untrammeled emissions.

What should be done, and the degree of change that should be sought, remains in question. Currently, many nations have set emissions goals for themselves and other plans (and outright schemes) to reduce carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses have been implemented by most western nations.

Other nations may follow, although some are more intent on economic growth as opposed to concern for global climate change.

For the moment, the best prescription seems to be adaptation, and to work and achieve a better understanding of the phenomenon. Reduced emissions goals are noble, although care should be taken to ensure that the opportunities of individuals and societies to enjoy economic growth and the benefits of industrial progress, are respected.

Presently, it appears to be an impossible task to get all nations and people of the world to agree and work against anthropogenic climate change, to whatever degree it is actually happening. A major problem , despite the certainty expressed by the AGU, is that a significant and powerful portion of the world remains unconvinced that humans are entirely responsible and can affect significant change without substantial sacrifice.

Overcoming those obstacles remains the AGU's most daunting task.

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