CLIMATE CHANGE FACTS: It is a fact, not an opinion, that human consumption of fossil fuels has boosted global temperatures over the last century
FACT ONE: Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil-fuel combustion, is a greenhouse gas, which traps solar radiation in the atmosphere. (Sources for my first seven “facts” include NASA and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.)
FACT TWO: Increased human fossil-fuel consumption over the past two centuries has increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Atmospheric CO2 recently surpassed 400 parts per million, the highest level in more than 800,000 years.
FACT THREE: As a result of increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide, global surface temperatures have increased by about one degree centigrade since 1880. The 10 warmest years ever recorded—with the exception of 1998—have all occurred within the last decade. 2014 was the warmest year ever recorded.
FACT FOUR: Arctic ice and glaciers around the world have shrunk markedly in recent decades, although in 2014 “ice surrounding Antarctica reached a new record high,” according to NASA.
FACT FIVE: Sea levels have risen 6.7 inches over the past century as a result of human-induced global warming. This sea-level rise, which is accelerating, makes coastal storms more destructive.
FACT SIX: Reasonable extrapolations from current trends suggest that unchecked fossil-fuel consumption will increase the risk of coastal flooding, droughts, severe storms, heat waves, food and water shortages and other harmful effects.
FACT SEVEN: A consensus of scientific experts believes that fossil-fuel consumption is driving global warming.
FACT EIGHT: Scientific experts can be wrong.
FACT NINE: Some influential criticism of the scientific consensus on climate change has been motivated by pro-capitalist, anti-socialist ideology.
FACT TEN: Not all those who doubt the scientific consensus on climate change are ideologues or idiots.
FACT ELEVEN: Some left-wing activists have used climate change to promote a socialist agenda.
FACT TWELVE: Fossil-fuel consumption was key to the industrial revolution, which over the past two centuries has boosted average global incomes six-fold and decreased the proportion of people living in extreme poverty.
FACT THIRTEEN: The United States, historically, has been the biggest emitter of carbon dioxide and hence bears the greatest responsibility for climate change.
FACT FOURTEEN: Those who agree that climate change poses a threat vehemently disagree about how severe the threat is, how it should be countered and how it should be discussed in public.http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/cross-check/climate-change-facts-versus-opinions/
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