No matter what the climate change deniers say, the science and the effects are quite “compelling,” according to President Obama, which has moved many regulators toward greenhouse gas reduction measures.
While climate change science speaks of rising sea levels, aberrant weather, and scarcity of the basic necessities for human life, it also recognizes the principal cause. Human activity, especially since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, has pumped more carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere than has ever been seen in recorded history, whether locked in anecdotes or in ice cores. Clearly, seeing that human beings are the cause, then we also need to be the solution, which is proving difficult for some to accept.
For example, in the United States, where the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has enacted CO2 limits on automobiles and industry, power producers have balked, saying it will increase prices and put people out of work. Government incentives on electric vehicles and renewable energy has met with resistance for the same reasons. On the other hand, more Americans agree that climate change is real and needs to be addressed. A recent poll, conducted by NBC, shows that 67% of Americans agree with the EPA’s 30% reduction of power plant CO2 emissions, among other emissions, by 2030.
While climate change is making coastal cities more at-risk for storm surge and tidal flooding, drought is killing crops in California, and freak cold weather events is killing cattle by the thousands in the north, big business feels it’s ok to write these off. What they don’t recognize is that emissions reduction measures, even if it requires shutting down coal plants and buying cleaner vehicles, will actually be cheaper in the long run. Considering that air pollution costs just New York State $1.3 billion annually, or that damages attributed to climate change is already exceeding $50 billion per year, and is expected to break $100 billion by 2020, isn’t it far less damaging to make the changes now?
Image © Señor Codo