Tonawanda News

May 15, 2014

WALLACE: Facts don't lie, climate change is real

By Amy Wallace
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Climate change is real. It is a scientifically proven fact. The evidence is growing that humans have had a negative effect on Earth’s climate and have contributed to global warming.

The White House even released a report last week stating that the devastating effects of global warming were already under way in the U.S. 

But despite this report and the mounting scientific evidence, many high-profile politicians in the Republican and Conservative parties are playing politics with our climate and are spreading propaganda in the media claiming climate change is not real.

Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, said recently that he does not “believe that human activity is causing these dramatic changes to our climate the way these scientists are portraying it.” 

And he’s not the only one.

Last month, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Kentucky, claimed the global warming debate had become “dumbed down,” before making claims on historic temperatures that stand in contrast to the work of climate scientists.

Neither Rubio or Paul are in any way scientists nor have they extensively studied the environment and the changes that are occurring within it.

The major scientific agencies in the U.S., including the National Aeronautics and Space Administration and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration among others, all agree that climate change is occurring and that humans are contributing to it.

The proof is in the facts.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s website states that the global average temperature has increased by more than 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit over the last century. According to NOAA, the decade from 2000 to 2010 was the warmest on record, and 2010 was tied with 2005 as the warmest year on record. 

Rising global temperatures have also been accompanied by other changes in weather and climate. Many places in the U.S. have experienced changes in rainfall resulting in more intense rain, as well as more frequent and severe heat waves, including drought in the South and West and flooding in the East and central U.S.

All of these changes are due to carbon dioxide pollution that comes from the burning of coal, natural gas and oil along with deforestation and certain industrial processing.

You hear people say that climate change is just a scare tactic by environmentalists or how could there be global warming when we’ve had some of the coldest or snowiest winters in recent years?

According to the EPA, harsher winters do not mean that global warming isn’t happening. The winters of 2010 and 2011 were colder than the average winters from the previous decades. And more harsh winters happen because in a warmer climate, more water vapor is held in the atmosphere causing more intense rain and snowstorms. 

I am not sure what is behind the claims Rubio and others have made. Perhaps it is that they do not want to lose funding by big financial supporters in the coal and oil industry. But by denying the science of climate change, these politicians are selling dangerous lies to their constituents just to get re-elected.

Climate change does not discriminate. The effects will reach people whether they choose to believe in it or not. This isn’t or shouldn’t be made into a political issue. This should be an issue for all humanity, not just U.S. citizens or just Democrats. This is our planet we are talking about. 

Whether you believe that climate change is happening — or if you think you’re being sold a line of bull — you already are feeling its effects.

But it’s not too late to try to fix the damage that has been done. There are things we can do to stem the tide and slow the change. 

We can reduce the amount of greenhouse gas pollution we release and lower the risk of much greater warming and its consequences. There are many ways to help contribute to lowering carbon emissions like carpooling, using public transportation, buying hybrid or electric vehicles, using energy efficient lighting and appliances in your home and recycling. 

But first you have to believe in years of scientific research over claims from a politician who will say anything to get your vote.

Amy Wallace is the city editor of the Tonawanda News. Contact her at amy.wallace@tonawanda-news.com.