08/13/2012 Leave a comment
NASA CO2 parts per million
A columnist says ‘evidence suggests that droughts will become more intense in many parts of the world if the planet keeps heating up.’
The planet is heating up, there is no uncertainty that it is happening or why, only how fast.
The basic facts of global warming are simple. In laboratories and videos we can see three processes: when fossil fuels, namely oil, coal and natural gas, burn, they release carbon dioxide, a gas. Carbon dioxide holds heat in air, the more carbon dioxide in air, the warmer it gets. People have burned a LOT of fossil fuels since 1900. The level of carbon dioxide in air is higher than it has been in way over 650,000 years.
Temperatures are also increasing, as shown in this NASA graph.
Understanding of the basic process of global warming has been confirmed by study of its effects. Melting ice, more evaporation causing more rain and snow in the wet season, and drier land in the dry season, causing forest fires removing cooling tree cover, leading to warmer air and so on in positive feedback loops. The carbon dioxide (carbonic acid in water) makes the oceans acid, dissolving shells and coral.
The columnist suggests that farmers can adapt by using organic techniques because they use water supplies more efficiently. However, he also cites a 2011 paper by Michael Roberts and Wolfram Schenkler which estimated that average corn, soybean and cotton yields in existing U.S. farm regions are predicted to decline between 30 and 82 percent by the end of the century due to the warming.
The media needs to stop implying that climate change is uncertain, and help us stop it. We have options to reduce the burning of fossil fuels. We can pass a carbon tax, with rebates to the public. The government could specify that it will only purchase solar, wind, geothermal energy with an initial phase-in period. Citizens could vote against candidates who keep us under the domination of the fossil fuel interests. It is time to close ranks and get the climate stabilized.