Friday, July 14, 2017

Climate Change

Climate change is not new. In fact, seven cycles of glacial advance and retreat have occurred over the last 650,000 years.  Most of these earlier climate changes were due to very small variations in the Earth’s orbit, changing the amount of solar energy received by our planet.  Today, however, the warming trend, which began in the mid-20th century and is increasing today at an unprecedented rate is the result of human activity, primarily the “heat-trapping nature of carbon dioxide and other gases (greenhouse gases).”  The scientific evidence for this warming trend is unequivocal. To ignore or deny it is an untenable position and such denial and inaction could result in future global genocide.

Global sea level rose 8 inches in the last century.  The rate in the last 20 years is nearly double that of the last century.   Earth’s average surface temperature has risen 2.0°F since the 19th century, a change driven by increased greenhouse gases and other human-made emissions into the atmosphere.  Most of this warming has occurred in the last 35 years, with 16 of the 17 warmest years on record occurring since 2001.  2016 was the warmest year on record.  Oceans have absorbed this increased heat, with the top 2,300 feet of ocean showing warming of 0.302°F since 1969.  The Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets have decreased—Greenland lost 36-60 cubic miles of ice between 2002-2006; Antarctica lost 36 cubic miles of ice from 2002-2005.  The extent and the thickness of Arctic sea ice has declined over the last several decades. Glaciers are retreating almost everywhere—the Alps, Himalayas, Andes, Rockies, Alaska and Africa.  High temperature events have been increasing in the U.S., while the number of record low temperature events have been decreasing since 1950.  The U.S. has also had increasing numbers of intense rainfall events. The acidity of surface ocean waters has increased by nearly 30%,  the result of humans emitting more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and thus, more being absorbed into the oceans.  The amount of carbon dioxide absorbed by the upper layer of the oceans is increasing by about 2 billion tons per year. (facts derived from NASA).

Some of the most stubborn Climate Change Deniers are alleged Christians who claim that it makes little difference what happens to the Earth because the Bible (Book of Revelation) promises a “new” one.  Jesus is coming again (and soon, some think) and that will resolve the issue. What a ludicrous notion!  It relieves us of all responsibility and stewardship for the Earth—and in fact, relieves us of any responsibility for anything at all (which is totally contrary to the Biblical message)—a real cop-out!

Flagstaff, AZ--2017

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