A front page article in a Jan. 19 edition of the Grand Junction Sentinel titled "Earth sets hottest record in 2016 for third consecutive time," indicates that climate change is occurring at a rapidly accelerating rate. Data separately compiled by the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration, National Air and Space Agency and England's Tyndall Center for Climate Research show that 2016 was the warmest year ever recorded on a global level. Data collected by these same agencies indicated that the 2016 totals were higher than the previous record set in 2015. Additionally alarming is the fact that 2015 global temperatures broke the then-highest existing global temperature record which was set in 2014. To fail to recognize this pattern is to deny the obvious.
Sources reporting the seriousness of climate change reflect a wide variety of backgrounds and political viewpoints. Advocates of addressing this issue range from the pope to the Pentagon. The pope has stated that global warming is a threat to all of mankind and that it is a responsibility of first world countries to lead efforts to address the potential effects of the rapid warming of the world's atmosphere and oceans.
FOX News published a report on Sept. 14 of this year titled, "Climate change poses a significant threat to the U.S. military." The article stated that global warming represents a very real threat to military operations and U.S. national security. It was endorsed by more than a dozen former senior military officers and national security advisors and included a recommendation that the next president create a cabinet level position to deal with the crisis.
Donald Trump, in the meantime, has stated that climate change is a "hoax" created by the Chinese. Ironically, on March 15, 2016, Chinese Premier Li Keziang addressed the People's Congress and stated that the government will limit factory emissions of particulate matter, a major factor in air pollution, by 25 percent in the next five years. Just who is perpetrating the hoax?
Meanwhile, Scott Pruitt, the administration's nominee to head the Environmental Protection Agency, has sued the EPA 14 times on behalf of the oil and gas industry over clean water and air regulations. Apparently the foxes are guarding the henhouse and future generations may pay the cost of blatantly ignoring scientific realities.
The potential for destabilization of governments, forced mass migrations and warfare over food and water resources is real. Meaningful, large scale and immediate governmental action is necessary if we are to spare the world's children the effects of our ignorance.
John St. George