A new study, conducted by the man some consider to be the founding father behind Global Warming, has concluded that the effects climate change due to man's actions are happening right now.
Signs of Extreme Weather
Among the evidence for the study's conclusions are the clusters of extreme weather and temperatures, including:
- Last year’s devastating Texas-Oklahoma drought
- The 2010 heat waves in Russia and the Middle East, which led to thousands of deaths
- The 2003 European heat wave blamed for tens of thousands of deaths, especially among the elderly in France
- (The particularly intense temps from this summer occurred after the data had been analyzed)
James Hansen, the author of the study concluded, "This is happening often enough, over a big enough area that people can see it happening."
Scientists have generally maintained that it’s impossible to say whether singular events are caused by global warming, because of the nature of weather variability. This study seeks to shake that convention.
Science policy expert Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado, says that the study does not mean that action will be taken: "Hansen is pursuing a deeply flawed model of policy change, one that will prove ineffectual and with its most lasting consequence a further politicization of climate science [if that is possible!].
The trouble with global warming is that the issue is quite polarizing--namely the debate centers on whether man's actions are affecting weather, and if so how much. It is further compounded by the quagmire of Environmental Law--which actions should be given priority and to what extent? If we can't eliminate pollution entirely, how much is ok? Should federal law set the standard, or should local municipalities have the final say? Also, it probably goes without saying that the U.S. has no control over other nations, creating additional sources for decision-making tension.
The changes in weather have been quite noticeable in California. In addition to clearly hotter temperatures than I can remember over the course of my life here, there has been a lot talk about how conditions are worse or at least comparable to those suffered during the Dust Bowl. Central Californian farms along Interstate 5 are replete with signs to that effect. I seem to recall a recent series of storms and other weather-related events occurring in the mid-west at a seemingly unprecedented rate.
It will be interesting to see what, if anything, happens as a result of the study's call to action.
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