Joanna Clark, San Juan Capistrano

There have been five major extinctions over the last 4.6 billion years, according to the BBC Nature’s article “Big Five Mass Extinction Events.”

The conditions that caused these extinctions occurred over millions of years, not a few hundred years.

With the arrival of our Industrial-Age in 1750, in less than 300 years we have set ourselves on a course that could very well result in a sixth mass extinction.

Prior to the beginning of the Industrial Age, atmospheric CO2 remained relatively stable at 280 parts per million (ppm), according to NASA Global Climate Change. As our demand for coal, oil and gas intensified, we released more and more CO2 back into the atmosphere, exceeding the ability of the natural carbon sinks to maintain equilibrium. This has resulted in an exponential increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

As our planet’s natural carbon sinks became overwhelmed by rising CO2 levels, the environment began to destabilize, causing a gradual warming of the planet. This warming has driven climate change, leading to the collapsing of our glaciers, ice shelves, and the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets, originally held back by the ice shelves.

The consequences listed above have shown an increase in storm severity, ocean acidification, sea-level rise, flooding, extreme heat waves, drought and wildfires, according to NASA.

The risk of wildfires increases exponentially during extended heat waves and droughts. They release CO2 and reduce the number of trees available to absorb CO2, “a double whammy for the atmosphere,” said the Associated Press in “Wildfires Deliver a Double Whammy” from 2008.

Today, our continued development as a species depends upon our destruction of the planet’s natural environment. Yet our future depends on the survival of that very same environment.

We are facing a catastrophic future if we cannot put our many irrational and tribal differences aside and work as one to solve the paradox that threatens each of us.

We can become an unstoppable force for change and the common good, if we put our irrational and tribal differences aside and unite as one to solve the paradox we created.

About The Author Staff

comments (3)

  • Give the other side’s climatologists a listen/view; they acknowledge the planet IS warming, but they don’t share the climate change alarmism.

    In the early 1970s, the alarmists said we were entering a new ice age. Fear sells, brings government grants and subsidies, but it often shuts down debate. Before jumping on the climate alarmist train, one should verify it is not headed, as the alarmism of the past was, over the cliff.

  • 50 years ago, David, today’s technology didn’t exist. Sure, we had some mainframe computers, but the top-of-the-line desktop computer was an IBM Selectric typewriter with, if you were lucky, a Hewlett-Packard 35 scientific pocket calculator. The first functional Personal Computer was the IBM 5150, introduced in 1981. Prior to this time everything had to done with a pad, pencil and a slide-rule. Your cell phone today has more memory than the initial IBM 5150.

    It took us more than 300,000 years for us to achieve powered flight, but consider this, 66 years after our first powered flight at Kitty Hawk, we had eradicated polio, split the atom, walked on the moon and sent spacecraft to other planets. We achieved these feats because of science. Yet, today, that same science is under attack. “We’re seeing a titanic battle between the power of science and the power of money—and money is winning.” McKibben, (2015). This is indeed unfortunate, as Marcia McNutt, president of the US National Academy of Sciences, points out—“Science is not a body of facts, but rather a structured approach to uncovering the fundamental laws that govern the natural world. … policy-makers who choose to ignore those fundamental laws imperil us all, for the laws of nature will always trump the laws of man.” Shawn Otto, War on Science (2018).

    Lawrence M. Krauss, theoretical physicist, cosmologist and director of the Origins Project at Arizona State University, points out further that “…there are forces at work coming from many directions that serve to undermine the simple proposition that public policy should be based on rational reflections on sound empirical evidence. From efforts to obstruct the teaching of evolution in schools, to the removal of fluoridation in water, to restrictions on vaccination, restrictions on other scientific research and related attacks on the efficacy of the scientific enterprise itself, and most recently wholesale and broadly organized efforts to deny the science associated with human-induced climate change….” Shawn Otto, War on Science (2018).

    Because of science, our world is changing, often at whirlwind speeds, and for some, that can be pretty scary. Unable to assimilate this change, they find a comfortable place in the past and use old data to support their denial.

    You are, as Dr. Jere Lipps previously pointed out, “stuck in the past, relying on old data,” and that “is not the way science works. We move along with new data to test all hypotheses.

    You keep referring to Judith Curry, so you might want to consider the following:“Twenty-five years ago the Union of Concerned Scientists and more than 1700 independent scientists, including the majority of living Nobel laureates in the sciences, penned the 1992 “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity.” These concerned professionals “called on humankind to curtail environmental destruction and cautioned that change in our stewardship of the Earth and the life on it is required, if vast human misery is to be avoided.” You can read the full article here

    In November 2016, a second plea was published in the international journal BioScience. The article, titled “World Scientists’ Warning to Humanity: A Second Notice” is supported by “15,372 signatories, representing 184 countries, urging global leaders to save the planet from environmental catastrophe.” EcoWatch (2017). You can read the full article here

    The foundation of climate change science did not happen last week, last month or last year. It began back in the days of Aristotle, when a pupil of his, Theophrastus, told how the draining of marshes had made a particular locality more susceptible to freezing, and speculated that lands became warmer when the clearing of forests exposed them to sunlight.

    The BBC published a fascinating “Brief History of Climate change” in 2013. You can read it on the BBC website here.

    Whether the current global climate change was caused by the actions of humans, David, should no longer be a topic of debate. The consensus that humans are causing recent global warming is shared by 90%–100% of publishing climate scientists according to six independent studies. Their results are consistent with the 97% consensus reported by Cook et. al. (Environ. Res. Lett. 8 024024) “based on a review of 11,944 peer-reviewed research paper abstracts.”

    In 2016, the iconic cosmologist Stephen Hawking, who passed away this past Wednesday, “warned that climate change was the gravest threat facing humanity.” In September he also joined 377 members of the National Academy of Sciences in signing an open letter that began, “Human-caused climate change is not a belief, a hoax, or a conspiracy. It is a physical reality. ¶Our fingerprints on the climate system are visible everywhere. They are seen in warming of the oceans, the land surface, and the lower atmosphere. They are identifiable in sea level rise, altered rainfall patterns, retreat of Arctic sea ice, ocean acidification, and many other aspects of the climate system. Human-caused climate change is not something far removed from our day-to-day experience, affecting only the remote Arctic. It is present here and now, in our own country, in our own states, and in our own communities.” Joe Romm, ThinkProgress (2018).

    The enormity of global warming can be daunting and dispiriting to the non- scientifically-inclined individual, but there are things we can do, both individually and as a group, to slow and reverse climate change.

    Problem 1: Deforestation, the loss of forest through urban sprawl, land clearing for agriculture, wildfire (California lost 1,381,405 acres in 2017), disease or timber harvest, presents a negative impact on the environment. Our forests help mitigate climate change by consuming the carbon dioxide we put into the air, while breathing out oxygen. Tropical rainforests, like those in the Amazon, play a vital role in the water cycle by providing rain to the region. Rainforest Alliance (2016).

    Solution 1: Plant a tree. In April 2016, the people of Bhutan planted 108,000 trees. China has mobilized 60,000 soldiers to plant 6.6 million hectares (16,308,955.18 acres) of new trees this year.

    Problem 2: Fossil fuels.

    Solution 2A: Mandate the adoption of the Sebastopol Solar Ordinance statewide, preferably nationwide. The ordinance requires all new commercial or residential buildings, and specific alterations, additions and remodels require the installation of a photovoltaic energy generation system. Any addition to an existing commercial building which increases the square footage by 1,800 square feet or greater and all commercial remodels, alterations or repairs that are made involving demolition, remodel or repair of more than 50 percent of the structure.

    Solution 2B: Instead Of Trump’s Wall, Let’s Build A Border Of Solar Panels. If private investors “were to construct the equivalent of a strip of arrays one-third the width of a football field south of the entire U.S.-Mexico border, wider in some areas and narrower in others, with a wide berth allowed for populated areas and stretches of rugged terrain, San Diego, Tijuana, Mexicali, Tucson, Phoenix, El Paso, Ciudad Juarez, San Antonio and Monterrey would immediately benefit.” It is possible that “sufficient energy might be produced to also supply Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Albuquerque, Dallas and Houston. For the U.S. cities, it would be a way to obtain cheaper and cleaner energy than they can from other sources.Huffington Post (2017).

    Solution 2C: Replace “Cap and Trade” with a revenue neutral Carbon Tax. “Pricing carbon emissions through a carbon fee is one of the most powerful incentives that governments have to encourage companies and households to pollute less by investing in cleaner technologies and adopting greener practices. A carbon fee is a charge placed on greenhouse gas pollution mainly from burning fossil fuels. This can be done by placing a surcharge on carbon-based fuels and other sources of pollution such as industrial processes.David Suzuki Foundation

    Utilize a portion of the tax revenue to provide low-interest loans to companies like Charge Point to expand their electric vehicle (EV) charger networks. Utilize the balance to fund EV rebates on vehicles having a range of 200 or more miles per charge. Make the rebates a sliding scale, with low-income EV purchasers getting the larger rebate.

    Solution 2D: Ban hydraulic fracturing statewide, preferably nationwide, and provide free training for workers to transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy programs.

    These are just a few of the things we could do to slow climate change. Yes, it will require change, but we reduced smog through science and change. We reduced acid rain through science and change. We reduced ozone depletion in the upper atmosphere through science and change. We can do the same with climate change.

    It’s time to chose. What will it be?

  • Science is advanced when there is a healthy skepticism of any theory or supposition being proposed, especially if a governmental action will be based on this theory.

    @ Joanna Clark

    Your statement, “Yet, today, that same science is under attack.”

    Science is not under attack simply because one set of scientists don’t subscribe to the theory of another set. Science is not served when scientists themselves jump onto the bandwagon of the latest in a long line of alarmist scares nor is the failure to challenge such scares beneficial to the public.
    If science is under attack, it is under attack from those who wish to silence the voices of dissenting, professional opinions. When one group claims victory and proceeds as if no further evidence is required and then strategizes to squash their peers’ views, then the practice of science is undermined.

    As to using old data, did you bother to read what I wrote in the Capistrano Dispatch? Here was my reply to this charge,

    “It should have been apparent that I was not using data at all but simply pointing out how wrong the alarmists of the past were and cautioning today’s alarmists (and those who follow them lemming-like), that silencing professional dissent is not a road to predictive success.”

    I’m looking at the track record of alarmists and it is not a good one. Alarmists predicted an ice-age was coming, they were wrong. They attempted to frighten the public over the ozone layer, what happened to that issue? What happened to the fear-mongering over acid rain? The population bomb? Lawn chemicals, cell phone radiation, power lines affecting health, etc., etc., etc. Yeah, science tools are better now but won’t that always be the excuse when alarmist predictions fail and a new scare is needed?

    You can view more of these climate-related false prophecies at this site:

    See Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. testifying before the Senate that current natural disasters cannot be attributed to global warming as climatistas are want to do. Begin at the 1-minute mark.

    In the same Senate testimony, see Dr. Roy Spencer demonstrate that the IPCC’s own climate models for earth’s average temperature have been wrong. Begin just after the 34-minute mark.

    You’ve spoken a lot on rising sea levels, here is Nobel Laureate, Ivar Giaever, demonstrating that sea levels have risen 20 cm in the past century, just as it had risen 20 cm each of the two centuries before the last, ie., there is no unusual rise in sea levels. Begin at the 18:25 mark.

    I’ll conclude for now but I’ll take up the issue of the fictional 97% consensus in my next installment.

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