Climate change challenges are real
By Steve Lyons
Published Thursday, February 11, 2016 8:10 am
In a letter to the editor last week, Bruce Many stated that those who accept climate change "refuse to use evidence showing that ice ages have alternated with warming periods for eons" because to do so would not support the reality of climate change: we are just in the natural warming period following the last ice age. Actually, the reverse is true. The glacial/interglacial cycle has been well studied -- and those studies raise the alarm on climate change. These natural cooling/warming cycles take place in 100,000-year time frames. When the Industrial Era began, humans started adding billions of tons of heat-trapping greenhouse gases to the atmosphere. And in this relatively tiny time period (approximately 200 years), the climate has been warming at an alarming rate: 10 times that of the natural cycle.
The author also states that the "IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) data show no increasing trends for hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts or floods." This is simply not true. In fact, it is in direct contradiction with the IPCC findings: the IPCC report concluded that global warming is amplifying extreme weather events including heat waves, flooding and drought. I encourage anyone with doubts to google and read the IPCC Summary For Policymakers.
In addition, the World Health Organization's Climate Change and Health Factsheet reports that globally, the number of weather-related natural disasters has more than tripled since the 1960s. Every year, these disasters result in over 60,000 deaths, mainly in developing countries. The growing challenges climate change poses for us, including coastal flooding, animal habitat destruction, famine, the spread of heat-related diseases, and economic and social disruption, are real. Propagating denial, when we need to be coming together to address this problem, is a disservice to everyone who is, or will be, affected by global climate change.