The Nov. 25 climate denial letter, just after the federal government issued its fourth, and most disturbing, climate assessment, begs for a response. The report, issued by 13 federal agencies and scientifically based, concludes that climate change is impacting U.S. communities and that our health, safety and the economy are threatened.
This report follows another by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, compiled by climate scientists and geologists from around the world. The conclusions are grim. The lofty goal adopted in the Paris climate accords was to limit the increase in temperature to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrials levels, but we may reach that limit within 12 to 34 years. We’ve already seen an uptick in extreme weather, which scientists say is the result of greenhouse gas emissions.
Yet, there was so much to gain by calling science into question. Consumers wouldn’t have to sacrifice and the rich could get richer. Oil companies squelched their own scientific findings and funded efforts to debunk legitimate science. Anti-science propaganda went viral.
Ultimately, we all lose. The latest federal report estimates that our economy will take an enormous hit due to crop failures, crumbling infrastructure, disrupted supply chains and more — more than double the losses of the Great Recession. (Not to mention the loss of life and the climate refugees looking for safer homes.) This is not belief. It’s based on factual, scientific evidence. Can we please stop arguing about the science and start working on real solutions?