Climate change for real? For real!

rex hussmann“… (I)n my opinion ‘climate change’ is on par with childhood faith in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy” — Cal Thomas, Rome News-Tribune, Dec. 20, 2015

In a recent column titled “Hot Air at Conference on Climate Change,” influential syndicated columnist Cal Thomas ridiculed the reality of climate change.

In so doing, he did a grave disservice to his readers, to the citizens of this country and to all human beings everywhere and anywhere on the Earth.

Climate change is for real and we ignore or deny it at our own peril. Scientific data clearly shows that the earth is warming at an alarming rate. Our children and grandchildren will experience the harshest consequences of our inaction if we refuse to address this issue.

A massive global cooperative effort is needed to meet this challenge. That’s why representatives from 196 countries met in Paris last month to discuss what collective action the nations of the world can take to reduce CO2 emissions.

The Paris Agreement on Climate Change was signed by all 196 nations on Dec. 12. All signatories pledged “to pursue efforts” to limit rising global temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to pre-industrial times. It is a non-binding agreement.

In the United States, resistance to the Paris Agreement is strong. Critics charge that climate change is non-existent or that thermal changes are not the result of human activity.

Skeptics like Mr. Thomas claim that all this talk about “climate change” is a big hustle by “liberals” and those who encourage big government interference in the lives of “overburdened corporations and individuals.”

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is a strong proponent of the reality of global warming. Their official website (climateNASA.gov) is a credible source of reliable information regarding climate change.

Astronauts are not notorious liberals. The space program is founded on hard science and fact, not some fuzzy, feel-good “liberal” notion.

According to NASA scientists, the earth’s average temperature (as measured by both land and ocean surface temperature) has warmed by 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Most of that increase has occurred since the first Earth Day in 1970.

The year 2015 is on track to break the record for the hottest year ever recorded, which was set just last year. Thirteen of the 15 hottest years have occurred since the turn of the century. The last record year for cold temperature was set 104 years ago, in 1911. This pattern of increasing global warmth is clearly documented.

NASA scientists posit that climate-warming trends over the past century are very likely due to human activities.

The message from NASA is ”America, we have a problem.”

Critics of climate change criticize the sense of urgency that scientists are trying to convey to reluctant, foot-dragging politicians. That sense of urgency is rooted in the reality of “climate lag.” Greenhouse gases are warming the planet right now, but it takes approximately 35 to 40 years for these gases to exercise their full impact on the environment. The reason the planet takes several decades to respond to rising CO2 levels is because of what scientists call the “thermal inertia” of the oceans.

One writer used this analogy: “Consider a saucepan of water placed on a gas stove. Although the flame has a temperature measured in hundreds of degrees Celsius, the water takes several minutes to reach boiling point. The mass of the oceans is 500 times that of the atmosphere. The time it takes to warm up the oceans is measured in decades.” (Alan Marshall, Climate Change, 9/22/2010.)

Carbon dioxide and other gas emissions released during the Reagan administration contribute significantly to our current climate. We have yet to feel the full effect from the Clinton and Bush years.

Yes, NASA is right. We do have a problem.

Pope Francis recognizes the problem. That’s why he issued the encyclical “Laudato Si” in May 2015. He realizes that poor and marginalized people living in the less-developed parts of the world will suffer the most. The Pope provides people of all faiths a moral agenda of how to combine science and faith and combat climate change.

In “Laudato Si,” Pope Francis calls on ordinary people to press politicians for change.

The first step in solving the problem of climate change is to recognize its reality and the threat that it poses to living creatures everywhere, including the citizens of Georgia. Our elected officials can lead the people, or the people can lead the politicians. Either way, we need leadership to address this problem and we need it sooner rather than later.

R. Rex Hussmann, a retired marriage/family therapist and chaplain at Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital for 18 years, writes for the website MOVE GEORGIA FORWARD. Readers may contact him at MoveGeorgiaForward@gmail.com.

One Response to “Climate change for real? For real!”

  1. Mr. Hussman:

    I am unable to resist a response to this article. You look like a very nice man and write with what appears to be as much intelligence as anyone, but the points made in your article couldn’t be further from the truth.Let’s start with what I know. First, CO2 is not a pollutant. It is a trace gas. It makes up approximately 0.03% of the Earth’s atmosphere. It is nowhere near as abundant as water vapor, which ranges from as little as 1% of the atmosphere in cold climates to as much as 4% of the atmosphere in warmer climates. Regardless, it is still much more plentiful than CO2 and is much more involved in the greenhouse effect than CO2.
    Secondly, the largest increase in the production of CO2 and the use of fossil fuels occurred between somewhere around 1940 and ended around 1970. During the time, the rise in average global temperature was actually not a rise at all. In fact the Earth cooled. Of course, those who promote the idea of global warming/climate change dismiss this with the “lag argument.” But if a massive increase in fossil fuel use has only resulted in an increase of one and one/half degrees since 1970, How is that a problem? It’s negligible.
    Finally, if the “science” were settled, why is so much effort made to mislead the public? Why did Mr. Mann feel the need to create the fraudulent hockey-stick graph? Why did the East Anglia University emails reveal a cover-up of data manipulation? Why have the warmers been caught so many times lying, manipulating data, intentionally misinterpreting data, or trying to cover up data that doesn’t fit their narrative? Wouldn’t real scientists want to know the truth, whatever it is?
    With climate change, you’ve created the ultimate theory. Whatever happens proves it: More snow, less snow, more rain, less rain, more hurricanes, fewer hurricanes, stronger hurricanes, weaker hurricanes, more cloud cover, less cloud cover; you name it; if it happens, it is labeled as “consistent with climate change” and they have the computer models programmed by environmentalists to prove it. Frankly, nobody who isn’t dependent on government grants to study this fabricated crisis believes it any more.
    I have a saying. “Greens are Reds.” Ask yourself, what do environmentalists and communists have in common, besides an overlapping membership? It is the desire for the destruction of free market capitalism and for wealth earned to be taken from those who earned it and redistributed to those who didn’t. Again, you seem like a very nice man. perhaps you should rethink your beliefs.

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