, Salem, MA


August 26, 2013

Column: Climate-change warning grows in urgency

If life were a movie, this is the part where the hero and heroine realize their worst nightmare is coming true: The entire earth is being threatened with disaster.

Some time ago, scientists changed the name of the phenomenon of “global warming” to “climate change” as a more accurate description of what is happening because of man-made damage to the ozone layer. Some areas are getting hotter, with more severe droughts and forest fires as glaciers melt, but some areas are getting colder, with increasingly extreme and damaging weather patterns, hurricanes and tornadoes.

The latest news is that an international body of several hundred top scientists has determined that sea levels could rise by more than 3 feet if carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels continue at current rates.

In other words, if you still believe climate change is not a serious danger to humanity, you’re denying reality. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., and the Republican chairman of the House environmental subcommittee don’t know what they’re talking about when they insist the United States has no responsibility to do something about climate change.

Recently, four former heads of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, all of whom served under Republican presidents, pleaded for action in The New York Times: “The United States must move now on substantive steps to curb climate change at home and internationally. There is no longer any credible scientific debate about the basic facts: Our world continues to warm, with the last decade the hottest in modern records, and the deep ocean warming faster than the earth’s atmosphere.”

Perhaps this was their most chilling statement: “The only uncertainty about our warming world is how bad the changes will get, and how soon. What is most clear is that there is no time to waste.”

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